Shakel Brown eyes future success in the NFL

Published 2:58 pm Tuesday, April 25, 2023

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The NFL Draft is the happiest time in many young athletes’ entire careers and this weekend will likely be a time to celebrate for Troy defensive tackle Shakel Brown.

After a stellar senior season at Troy in 2022, Brown created buzz around himself after putting together an elite level Pro Day performance back in March. Brown put together a Pro Day that saw the 6-foot-4-inch, 299-pound defensive lineman run a 4.82 in the 40-yard dash and a 4.41 in the shuttle, which would have ranked first at the NFL Combine among defensive linemen. His 30 reps on the bench press would have also ranked second and his 32.5-inch vertical jump would have ranked third.

“Maybe the surprise of the day was Shakel Brown,” Troy Coach Jon Sumrall said after Pro Day. “He popped a (4.82) in the 40, which was kind of an eye-opener and raised a lot of eyebrows from some people.”

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While his performance at Pro Day may have surprised NFL scouts, it certainly didn’t surprise Brown, who said he saw it coming.

Troy defensive lineman Shakel Brown impressed NFL scouts with his athleticism. (Photos by Josh Boutwell)

“I saw it coming while I was working out here down in Tampa (Fla.),” Brown said after a Tuesday workout. “I was expecting to run like a 4.7 (in the 40-yard dash) and do 34 reps (on the bench press) because that’s what I was doing down here. I was expecting better numbers than that, honestly.”

Brown’s success at Pro Day didn’t start with his training after the season, though. It was a culmination of hard work during his college career. Brown – a Miami, Fla., native – came to Troy from Itawamba Community College in 2020 and played in 16 games coming into this past season. He hadn’t been able to fulfill the potential his coaches saw yet but in 2022 he blossomed. Brown finished the season with 32 tackles, six tackles-for-loss, four sacks and a fumble recovery as a senior.

“It was just about being able to impress the coaches and get them to trust and believe in me,” Brown said of his senior season. “Those guys believed in me and I was able to have a great season and we did some great things. The first step, not only for me but the whole team, was buying into the coaching staff and when everyone did that we were able to have a great season because of that.”

After his Pro Day workout, Brown began getting plenty of attention from NFL teams.

“It’s been crazy, especially after Pro Day,” Brown said of the Draft experience. “I got a lot of traction after (Pro Day), so that definitely helped me but it’s been crazy, just talking to different head coaches, defensive line coaches and teams. It feels good, though.”

Each NFL team receives a total of 30 players they are allowed to bring into their facilities for interviews, meetings and physicals. Those visits are called Top 30 visits. Brown said that he made a Top 30 visit to the San Francisco 49ers, but he’s also had interviews with numerous teams and has worked out for teams like the Miami Dolphins. He’s also had a number of virtual visits with NFL teams.

Brown has received feedback from teams suggesting that he could be drafted in the neighborhood of the fifth round. Regardless of where he goes in the draft, Brown is focused on what he wants to accomplish once he gets to the NFL.

“My goal is to be the best person and player I can be,” Brown emphasized. “I definitely want to change my family’s lives, not just my life, and create generational wealth for them. I want to be a hard worker and represent Troy the right way. Guys like Demarcus Ware and Osi Umenyiora were able to do that and do great things in the NFL and I want to do that, as well.”

Brown, and numerous other athletes, will likely see their dreams come true this week as the NFL Draft takes place from April 27-29 on ESPN and the NFL Network.