One of the Sun Belt’s best wide receivers in 2022 played for one of the league’s worst passing offenses. Despite offensive inconsistency, Southern Miss wide receiver Jason Brownlee was a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses.
NFL draft experts and scouts are beginning to notice Brownlee’s playmaking ability, making him a likely draft selection in April. The team that adds Brownlee will add a receiver with size and speed.
Brownlee excels in crowded spaces, making contested catches through contact during his collegiate career. Brownlee does well to jump over cornerbacks, using an impressive vertical leap to soar for 50-50 balls.
Given his physical traits and exceptional hands, Brownlee looks the part of a late-round draft gem. He may end up graduating from that potential list, however, as his film and recent performances at scouting events make him a possible mid-round selection. At least one team is going to fall in love with the wide receiver’s game in the coming months.
Brownlee recorded 135 receptions for 2,144 yards and 21 touchdowns in 35 career games with Southern Miss. In 2022, Brownlee snagged 55 catches for 891 yards and eight touchdowns.
The wide receiver, who began his career at a junior college, was an elite Sun Belt talent. Brownlee played his best against top-tier competition in 2022, catching five passes for 102 yards and a touchdown in a loss to Miami. Against Troy, which won the Sun Belt, Brownlee caught 12 passes for 105 yards and a touchdown.
Throughout his career, Brownlee produced consistently. His size and speed made him a reliable target, and his athleticism made him a dynamic threat on deep passes. Brownlee averaged 15.9 yards per reception during his career.
Consistent production deserves recognition, and for Brownlee to post the numbers he did annually in a mediocre offense speaks to his talent.
Scouts take notice
Brownlee drew headlines during the week of the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. Scouts were enamored with Brownlee’s size and speed, and he also stood out for his ability to make catches in traffic.
All of the traits that made Brownlee one of the Sun Belt’s best players showed up during the week of practices. He’s a tough player for defensive backs to cover because even if they’re able to stay with Brownlee, he often wins when the ball is in the air. He feels as if he’s always open, given his ability to catch the ball when blanketed by cornerbacks.
In the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, Brownlee caught three passes for 78 yards. His 61-yard reception was the longest by any receiver on either team.
Brownlee recently received an invite to the NFL Combine, and a good showing there could continue his rapid rise up draft boards. Brownlee will enter the NFL Draft as a prospect coveted by multiple teams, and there’s good reason.
With a seemingly unending catch radius and elite speed, Brownlee projects as a difference-maker at the NFL level.
Bennett Conlin is a college football contributor for HERO Sports, and he works full-time covering sports betting industry news and legislation for Sports Handle and US Bets.