A year ago, Jatavis Brown was a fifth-round rookie hoping to make an impact.
And make an impact he did.
After all, he was the player from the Bolts’ 2016 draft that General Manager Tom Telesco said he received texts from other league members about moments after the pick was announced.
With a full season under his belt, Brown has had a much more comfortable offseason this year.
“This offseason is going pretty well,” Brown said. “It feels good to have a whole year under my belt. I now know what to expect (with) OTAs and mini camp so it’s been a huge plus for me. Mini camp went great. It’s been great to be out there and play ball with my teammates.”
Brown finished the season with 73 total tackles, 3.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and eight passes defensed. Although he missed four games, his high level of play earned him Pepsi Rookie of the Week Honors (Week 6 against the Denver Broncos), and he was named to the Pro Football Writers of America’s All-Rookie Team.
2017 will bring a whole bevy of changes for Brown including a new defensive coordinator, Gus Bradley, and new position. Brown will now be playing outside linebacker.
Like other defensive players, Brown is a big fan of Bradley. He cited his “energy” and “vibe” as two of the main reasons why “he is a great coach to play (for).”
As for Bradley, he equally admires of one of his newest players.
“He has an unbelievable work ethic and how he studies the game,” Bradley said. “It’s a new package for him with new responsibilities and he wants to really speed it up as much as possible. His work ethic and determination are great.”
A successful team needs players who are receptive to coaching and putting in extra work on their own time. While Bradley cites Brown’s work ethic as a positive, he believes it shows dedication to his craft.
“Sometimes you determine work ethic and you see how important it is to a player. When you see him work constantly, and it’s not just the required time, it’s the weekends, after practice, after they have to be here, it shows how important it is to him.”
As for his position, the switch to a 4-3 defense called for Brown to move outside. The linebacker has bulked up adding weight to his frame. Although the title is different, Brown believes the position will be very similar to what he played at a year ago.
“I do similar things,” Brown mentioned. “My role is kind of similar and kind of what we had last year, but the name has changed. The defense as a whole is all pretty simple for us. You know what you’re doing, you know what to expect out of your position. You know what we’re going to do each and every week.”
Bradley echoes many of Brown’s sentiments. However, he believes the changes that will come along with the updated position complement Brown’s skillset. It’s the defensive coordinator’s vision that the changes will benefit Brown’s productivity.
“There are quite a bit of similarities but we’ll ask him to do some different things,” Bradley revealed. “For the most part, (we’ll use) the ability to use his speed, the ability to put him in position where he can run and chase and get off blocks. That’s an area we’re working on with him. But he’s made really good strides.”