Name: Da’Ron Brown
College: Northern Illinois
NFL games played: 0
Games played for the Chargers: 0
Fun fact: Brown is a Chicago native and was a talented High School Quarterback, becoming a Special Mention Chicago Tribune All-State QB in his Senior Year, and had a school record 1,900 rushing yards as a Junior.
Da'Ron Brown is the first player in this series to have actually been drafted by an NFL team, as the Chiefs 7th round pick in 2015. He spent the entire season on their Practice Squad but was released in September 2016. He spent all of four days on the Patriots Practice Squad before being released and another week on the Giants Practice Squad, before a short time with the Dolphins. In January 2017, he signed a futures contract with the Chargers, and the journeyman is going to have what could be his last chance to convince NFL teams he deserves to stick around in the league.
I'm surprised Brown spent so much of last season bouncing around from place to place because the reports from Kansas City were positive. At 6'0, 199 lbs, Brown isn't the biggest of receivers, but he's got decent speed for the position (he ran a 4.54 40 yard dash at the combine, but many scouts felt he could probably do it faster).
Brown's main strength is his hands. According to Lance Zierlein, Brown "Opens wide and gives [his] quarterback a very presentable target. Makes full use of his catch radius, snagging wild pitches in every direction. Very few drops. Natural, hands-catcher with the ability to focus and make contested catches." However, his lack of top-end speed, combined with poor route running clearly has held him back thus far in his NFL career.
From these scouting reports, the first comparison that comes to mind is a smaller Dontrelle Inman. Inman isn't the fastest, and he doesn't do a great job of getting open, but he just makes plays, which should give Brown some hope that there is a future for him in the NFL. He certainly had a very productive college career at Northern Illinois, as the team's leading receiver in both 2013 and 2014, and being named to the All Mid-American Conference second team in 2014.
Furthermore, Brown's 1,003 receiving yards in 2014 made him just the seventh Northern Illinois player in history to do so. Unfortunately, that was against a much weaker level of competition, where Brown's speed was more of an advantage than a disadvantage. Thus far in his career, he hasn't been able to show that he has the ability needed to make the step up to the competition in the NFL. Considering Brown turns 26 shortly after the season starts, you can't help but feel that his time may be running out to do so.
Brown, like so many other players in the NFL, was a superb athlete throughout High School. He was an All-State Hurdler for his High School Morgan Park and was a contender for the State Championship in the 110m hurdles. From this website, it looks like he finished 5th in his class in 2009. He also ran the 100m in 10.94 seconds. As ridiculously fast as that is, he's considered 'slow' by NFL standards for a WR, which really goes to emphasize just how unbelievably gifted anybody who makes it to the NFL really is.
Unfortunately, there's really not much information about there on Da'Ron Brown outside of his football career. After a lot of digging, I did manage to find one document from Northern Illinois that shows he earned his Bachelor's degree in Sociology in the 2013-2014 season and began pursuing a Post-Baccalaureate degree in Education at the start of the 2014 season, but I'm not sure if he's completed it. Still, moving onto a Post Baccalaureate is commendable, even if he did leave it uncompleted.
Google was particularly frustrating with this one because it refused to accept that I was trying to find out information about Da'Ron Brown, and not Derren Brown the magician. However, In all (brutal) honesty, it probably doesn't matter that I wasn't able to find out much about Brown. The Chargers are loaded at WR, and I'd be surprised if the journeyman was even still on the roster by the time the Chargers get ready for their first Preseason game. I wish Brown the best of luck with his football career, but I fear he'll probably need it.