One of the 2021 NFL Draft’s top vertical threats, North Carolina Tar Heels wideout Dyami Brown offers considerable intrigue and upside as he transitions to the NFL. He joins the Washington Football Team, who picked him in the third round with the No. 81 overall pick.
Few receivers in college football produced big plays on as regular a basis as Brown, who scored eight touchdowns on receptions of 40 yards or more during the past two seasons. That big-play ability will give Brown plenty of chances to establish himself in the NFL.
After moving into a starting role as a sophomore, Brown became the Tar Heels’ primary weapon in the passing game. The wideout led the team in receiving each of the past two seasons while hauling in 20 touchdowns over that stretch. Many of those came on vertical routes that took advantage of his straight-line speed and ability to track the ball in flight. He finished his college career with 123 catches for 2,306 yards and 21 scores.
As Brown’s college statistics suggest — he averaged more than 20 yards per reception over his final two seasons at North Carolina — he can add a vertical element to any passing game. While he struggles at times getting off press coverage, Brown’s speed will provide a deterrent to cornerbacks that eschew giving themselves some cushion. Brown doesn’t just attack defenders with speed as he understands spacing and leverage better than many of the other wideouts expected to come off the board early in the draft.
While Brown can improve on his strengths, he will have a difficult time removing some of his weaknesses. His 6-foot-1 frame doesn’t have much space to add much to his current 189 pounds. That lack of mass, along with his average burst off the line, will make it difficult for him to improve against press coverage. Pre-snap motion and lining up in bunches can alleviate those issues to some degree, but Brown will sometimes still fall prey to those limitations.
He joins a Washington squad led by Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel. There’s a host of competition after those two, but opportunities will be there. While Brown’s lack of refinement on releases and short-area quickness seem likely to limit him to a part-time role in 2021, he should see enough opportunities to attack defenses deep to become a high-risk, high-reward play as a rookie. Such a proposition will scare some fantasy managers, but against the right opponent, he should merit consideration as a flex.
As Brown adjust to the NFL game, he stands a decent chance of becoming a starting wideout with big-play potential à la Marquez Valdes-Scantling. That won’t make him a fantasy starter every week, but he has the means to become a useful fantasy backup option or low-end starter in the coming years.