(WHTM) — Penn State safety Ji’Ayir Brown has been selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft with the 87th overall pick.
Brown is coming off another stellar season where he led the Nittany Lions with 74.0 total tackles. He also recorded four interceptions and two forced fumbles on his way to a third-team All-Big Ten selection. It’s the second straight season that Brown has posted 70 or more tackles and more than four takeaways, making him one of the most productive safeties in his draft class.
And Brown attributes Penn State for his growth, helping turn him into a three-star high school recruit into a surefire NFL Draft prospect.
“(Penn State) has done tremendous things for me and my family. (I was) just a little 18-year-old kid watching college football and not even believing that I was going to be in this situation,” Brown said. “This was the perfect place for me.”
The Trenton, New Jersey really backed up his game at the 2023 NFL Combine. Brown finished with a Production Score of 89 at the combine, according to NFL Next Gen Stats, which ranked him at the top of this year’s safety class. His Athleticism Score did fall a little below expectations, ranking 12th. But overall, Brown’s Total Score of 80 at the NFL Combine gave him the top overall performance for his position at the event.
According to the NFL, they project the Penn State ball hawk to become an eventual above-average starter in the league.
But for Brown, the NFL Draft is bigger than just football, it’s going to be a way to support the most important person in his life, his mother.
“My mom has been on this journey with me as well,” Brown said at Penn State’s Pro Day. “My mom hasn’t missed a football game since I’ve been playing and I’ve been playing since I was 6-years-old. We’re both watching this story unfold, we’re both writing this story together, and this is all for her.”
Brown’s game has drawn comparisons to former Pro Bowl safety Ryan Clark. And the Penn State product will look to be a turnover machine with his new team and turn into a reliable NFL starter.
The 2023 NFL Draft begins on Thursday, April 27 through Saturday, April 29 and will air on abc27 starting at 8 p.m. on Thursday night. The second round starts at 7 p.m. on Friday and the final rounds begin at 12 p.m. on Saturday.