The Arizona Cardinals entered the 2009 NFL draft with a significant need at outside linebacker and after selecting Chris "Beanie" Wells in the first round, they entered the second round looking for the best avaliable pass rusher. Luckily, Cody Brown of the University of Connecticut fell to them at the 63rd overall pick and he provides an infusion of youth and athleticism to a position that was in dire need of both. Brown was a three year starter at defensive end and he improved each year, finally topping out at 56 tackles, 16.5 for loss and eleven sacks as a senior. His burst off the edge and natural pass rush skills should allow him to make an immediate impact on the Cardinals defense but before he steps onto the field, Cody Brown sat down with us here at ROTB to answer a few questions:
ROTB - Cody, I'm sure the past three months or so have been quite a whirlwind from U-Conn's bowl game to the Senior Bowl to the Combine and finally to draft weekend. Was it relief when you heard your name called in the second round and how does it feel now that you're settling in as a Cardinal?
Cody Brown - Yeah it was a great feeling when I got the call from the Cardinals. I basically assumed that I was going to end up in the third round because the second round was coming to an end. But I'm glad it happened that way because I think I'm going to fit in real well in Arizona.
ROTB - I'm sure you flew all over the country for workouts with various teams after the draft as well as interviewed with more than a handful of teams at the combine. How much interest did the Cardinals show in you before the draft and did you have a pretty good feeling that you were their guy when their second round pick came around?
CB - Not really. I really didn't know what to expect. Some reporters asked me if I had contact with them before the draft, and I told them no, but I did meet with them at the Combine. When the reporter asked me, it was right after the draft, and my mind was just spinning. But I still didn't have a great indication that I was their guy.
ROTB - You enter the NFL with plenty of starting experience and you seemed to improve each year while at U-Conn. You've certainly got a tremendous burst off the line of scrimmage and have a made quite a name for yourself wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks while also playing well against the run. What areas of your game, if any, have scouts or other teams that you visited said you'd need to improve upon?
CB - Pretty much just continuing to learn new rush moves and working on my technique.
ROTB - I'm sure you've heard plenty of talk about how difficult the transition can be for some players to move college defensive end to a 3-4 OLB, but you've had some experience playing linebacker in college. Do you think that experience will help you make the transition quicker than some of your counterparts? How much were you asked to drop back in coverage while playing linebacker?
CB - All the teams know I can rush the passer, but also can drop in coverage, which is why the Cardinals drafted me to play on the outside. I played mostly with my hand to the ground at UConn, but I have no problem dropping back in coverage. Everyone saw my athleticism in workouts. The coaches here told me they expect it to be an easy transition.
ROTB - You've got two veteran guys at outside linebacker who both made the transition from defensive end to outside linebacker in Clark Haggans and Chike Okeafor. What have those guys said said to you so far about learning the position or adjusting life in the NFL in general?
CB - Well I haven't had much time yet to really talk in depth about all that with these guys. Chike is represented by the same agency as me, so I'm excited to learn more from him and get to know him.
ROTB - According to your bio, you were a 215 freshman and you added about 15 pounds before your sophomore season. What was your playing weight during your senior season and have the Cardinals coaches asked you gain or lose any weight before training camp?
CB - I played around 240 pounds last year. I'll probably be in the 255 pound range here.
ROTB - Ok, we'll let you get out of here with a couple of easy, light hearted questions, I know you've only had one weekend of mini-camps but I'm sure some of the veteran guys have a had chance to pull some rookie pranks on you young guys. Care to share any funny stories or let us know who's the hardest on the rooks?
CB - Hmm, it really hasn't been a whole lot of that yet. We were only there for one weekend last week. I heard it'll pick up though in training camp (laughs).
ROTB - The University of Connecticut had never had a player drafted before the third round heading into this year's draft but this year, you and three of your teammates were all selected in the first two rounds. Only USC had more players selected in the first two rounds of the draft this year. What exactly were they feeding you guys at U-Conn?
CB - Wheaties.
Revenge of the Birds can not thank Cody Brown enough for taking the time. Hopefully we'll be talking about his stellar play for years to come. Brown certainly has a bright future and should be harassing NFC West QB's for years to come. Thoughts?