North Carolina

2021 NFL draft prospects: North Carolina WR Dyami Brown

Eric Edholm's criteria for grading NFL draft prospects. (Albert Corona/Yahoo Sports)

Eric Edholm’s criteria for grading NFL draft prospects. (Albert Corona/Yahoo Sports)

North Carolina WR Dyami Brown

6-foot, 185 pounds

Yahoo Sports draft grade: 5.82 — potential starter

TL;DR scouting report: Speedball deep threat whose strength is surprising, even if he might not be the most well-rounded wideout

Games watched: Florida State (2020), North Carolina State (2020), Virginia (2020), Syracuse (2020)

The skinny: A 4-star Rivals recruit (No. 120 nationally), Brown was a big recruiting win for the Tar Heels. He started six of 10 games as a true freshman in 2018, catching 17 passes for 173 yards and one TD. In 2019, he caught 51 passes for 1,034 yards and 12 TDs (tying the school mark) in 13 starts, earning third team all-ACC honors. Brown had 55 receptions for 1,099 yards and eight touchdowns in 11 starts in 2020, named third-team AP All-America and first-team all-ACC status. He opted out of the bowl game against Texas A&M and declared early for the draft.

Upside: Terrific speed. Requires safety attention every time he takes the field. Profiles as an NFL deep-ball threat who can tilt the field in a hurry and takes the tops off of defenses. Good length to be featured on jump balls downfield.

Outstanding production. Averaged more than 20 yards per catch the past two seasons. Scored 20 TDs in his past 22 games. Had 15 receptions thrown 20 air yards or more over the past three seasons combined (behind only Ja’Marr Chase’s 16). Scored eight TDs of 40 or more yards. Averaged a TD catch every 5.3 receptions the past two seasons.

Excellent slant runner. Explodes off the line and gains easy, quick separation. Shows subtle gear changes in his routes to lull defensive backs to sleep.

Improved hands — followed up drop-plagued 2019 season with a very reliable 2020 campaign (three drops on 82 targets). Was better at looking the ball into his hands and waiting to secure it before making his next move. Zero fumbles in three years.

Not just a finesse receiver. Better at coming back to the football in 2020. Enjoys battling at the catch point. Unafraid to get physical and doesn’t just get off press coverage with speed or his first step.

Downside: Lean frame that lacks quality body armor. Decent but not special length. Speed aside, he might not possess elite athleticism. Not really as sudden in and out of his breaks as you’d hope. Change-of-direction skill appears average for a receiver with his build. Gives effort as a blocker but isn’t very impactful.

Inflated production in talent-laden, aggressive offense with future NFL QB (Sam Howell). Saw favorable looks playing with one of the best run games in college football and playing with fellow NFL prospect Dazz Newsome.

Limited route tree in a modified Air Raid system — could require time to adjust to different routes, depths and timing in an NFL system. Lined up as the left outside receiver on more than 90 percent of his snaps the past two seasons — very little work in the slot.

Played mostly on the right side in 2018 and would moonlight in the backfield on occasion but doesn’t display a ton of versatility to his game. Still improving his route diversity and tempo. Unclear how effective he could be where he’s asked to make more YAC plays — didn’t make a lot of people miss.

Wasn’t really used on special teams his final two seasons — no obvious role for him in the NFL on those units.

Best-suited destination: Brown was a bit pigeonholed as the deep target in UNC’s offense the past two seasons but could diversify his game over time. Initially, he’d be best in that role but should add arrows to his quiver. His best bet is landing with a vertical passing game where he can step in as a WR3 or WR4 now and work his way up the pecking order.

Did you know: Brown’s brother, Khafre, is also a Tar Heels receiver.

Player comp: There’s some Will Fuller to Brown’s game, and if you like to go back a bit farther, there are some similarities to Johnny Knox as well. Brown, however, might be a half a step slower than both.

Expected draft range: Round 3


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