At Marshall University, Omar Brown was a three-year starter who collected nine interceptions, returned one for a touchdown, and made 288 tackles (including 166 solo).
But as an undrafted rookie with the Ravens, the free safety finds himself trailing Emanuel Cook and fellow first-year player Cyhl Quarles for the right to back up eight-time Pro Bowler Ed Reed.
That means fewer reps for Brown at practice, and he said he’s learning to take advantage of his opportunities.
“To me, it was hard because I’m not the type of guy that likes to settle for anything and just sit on the side. I like to play,” he said after Monday’s practice at the team’s headquarters in Owings Mills. “So I had to learn that I’m going to have to sit back and learn and watch and get my mental reps before I can take the next step and be out there and make plays.”
Despite a limited number of chances, the 5-foot-11, 195-pound safety opened a few eyes with his play last week. He ended Thursday’s practice inside the team’s indoor facility with an interception and then made another interception and broke up a pass the next day.
Brown, 24, said those plays are part of his objective to make an impression with the coaching staff.
“Stand out. That’s what I want to do,” he said. “This is the highest level of them all. So you just want to go out there and whatever it is you’re doing – whether it’s scout or getting in there with the ones – just make a play every chance you get. I came in here as a free agent. So I’m not getting as many reps as some of the starters and the drafted guys. But I’m making the best of my opportunities when I get out there.”
Fortunately for Brown, he gets to pick the brains of starters Reed and strong safety Bernard Pollard. He called the opportunity to learn from Reed and Pollard “a blessing.”
“It still hasn’t hit me that this is actually the NFL and I’m here with Ed and all of them,” Brown said. “I have to remind myself every day. It’s just a blessing to learn from a Hall of Famer [in Reed] and another great guy back there [in Pollard]. So I love it.”