Ricky Brown sneaking up Raiders’ depth chart

By Darrell Laurant  |   Thursday, August 16, 2007  |  Comments( 36 )

Oakland Raiders
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OK, so who's this Ricky Brown dude?

At the conclusion of Oakland's 27-23 preseason victory over Arizona, the second-year man out of Boston College was atop the tackle chart with eight, all unassisted. And a quick glance at the depth chart shows Brown running No. 2 at middle linebacker behind Kirk Morrison.

Last year, Brown was one of Oakland's final cuts. That may not be the case this time.

Indeed, Brown helped the Raiders out last year by functioning as a warm body when fellow linebackers Grant Irons, Sam Williams and Morrison went down with injuries. He finished with seven tackles on the season.

Brown isn't all that big (at 6-foot-2, 235, he's 30 pounds lighter than Williams), but no one can dispute that he's fast. In fact, he's the all-time-leading kickoff returner at Elder High School in Cincinnati, where he also ran the 100 and 200 meters on the track team.

Recruited by Boston College as a running back, Brown bulked up and became the team's leading tackler as a sophomore with 84. As a senior, he made 69 solo stops.

Obviously, the NFL scouts were unimpressed, and Brown wasn't drafted. But he made an impression with his verve and tenacity of special teams last August, and the Raiders kept him on a short leash after they released him.

The current third-string MLB, rookie Kyle Shotwell, fronts a band known as Kyle Shotwell and the Void. That might be appropriate, given how thin the Raiders are to be at this position. Thomas Howard and Williams still man the outside, and Morrison is solid, but the team can't afford any injuries there.

Whatever happens, though, it looks as if Ricky Brown will probably make the squad this time, if only on special teams.

Maybe he can even return kicks.
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