Orlando Brown Jr. has picked up where he left off.
After going his entire junior year at Oklahoma in 2017 without surrendering a sack at left tackle, the Ravens rookie has not given up a sack in 10 starts at right tackle, according to Pro Football Focus.
Initially hesitant to discuss the accomplishment because he was “trying not to jinx the situation,” the 6-foot-8, 345-pound Brown acknowledged some pride in maintaining a level of success from the college level (which included only one sack allowed in 2016) to the pros.
“In college, I very rarely got beat,” said Brown, the first of the Ravens’ two 2018 third-round draft choices. “That’s just something I take pride in, protecting the quarterback. Fortunately, I was able to do that over 10 games, and we’ve got a lot more football left. So we’ll see.”
Brown’s accelerated development — which includes ranking 15th among offensive tackles in pass-blocking efficiency, according to Pro Football Focus — has been instrumental for an offensive line that lost former starting right tackle James Hurst after six starts because of a disk injury in his back. Brown, whose father Orlando Brown Sr. played for the Ravens and was affectionately known as “Zeus” before his death in 2011, helped the offense finish the regular season ranked second in the league in rushing at 152.6 yards per game.
Right guard Marshal Yanda, the elder statesman of the offensive line, has been impressed with Brown’s growth.
“I think the kid’s getting better every single week,” he said. “I think he’s growing mentally. He’s definitely getting some confidence that he can play in this game. He’s a big, strong man, and he’s doing a good job for us. He’s really moving guys on double teams. Like I’ve said, I’ve always liked the kid’s approach. He’s had a good, positive attitude every single day, and he just needs to keep his head down and grind and keep grinding. But I like what I see.”
Brown returned the favor, pointing out that playing alongside a seven-time Pro Bowler in Yanda has aided his progress.
“Obviously, he makes it a lot easier, playing next to an All-Pro offensive guard,” he said. “I’m very fortunate to have him and [center] Matt Skura and [tight end] Nick Boyle working on communication and everything. It takes a lot of pressure off of me.”
With three penalties assessed to him, Brown is tied with Yanda for the second-fewest penalties among the starting offensive linemen. (Hurst leads with only one transgression in 10 games.) Brown’s goal for every game is zero sacks, zero quarterback hits and zero penalties.
“That’s how you play this game at this position for a long time,” he said. “If you’re not giving up sacks or quarterbacks hits or hurting your team with penalties, you can play a long time. So that’s what I’m trying to get to.”