TEMPE, Ariz. — John Brown is fast.
The second of the Arizona Cardinals’ third-round picks and the 91st selection overall, the 5-foot-10, 179-pound receiver out of Pittsburg State brings a 4.34 40-yard dash time to the desert.
“We had to keep you guys on your toes with a small school guy from Pitt State,” Cardinals GM Steve Keim joked. “He fits the mold that B.A. was looking for, that he’s talked to me about since the day he got here.
“Fast, explosive, T.Y. Hilton-type of player. A guy who can take the top off a defense; has dual return ability in the punt and kick return game.”
The Cardinals went through a few different players last season trying to find that type of guy, and this offseason went out and signed Ted Ginn, Jr. to a three-year deal. But the way Arizona sees it, you can never have too much speed on the field.
“As soon as he gets the ball, he’s instant,” Arians said. “He’s kind of a combination, having had Antonio Brown in Pittsburgh and T.Y. Hilton the last two years; he’s kind of a combination of those two types of guys.”
Last season, Antonio Brown led the Steelers with 110 catches for 1,499 yards and eight touchdowns, while Hilton emerged as a go-to receiver with the Colts in catching 82 passes for 1,083 yards and five touchdowns. Neither player is taller than 5-foot-10.
Those are guys the Cardinals’ Brown said he looks up to, and he’s compared himself to both players while preparing for the NFL.
“I feel like I can do the things that those guys did,” he said.
As a senior last season, the Cardinals’ Brown caught 61 passes for 1,198 yards and 14 touchdowns, while adding another 653 yards and a touchdown in the return game.
“Very explosive once he touches the ball, but fearless going over the middle,” Arians said. “If he’s on the outside, you better give him a cushion, and he’s going to take the top off at any point in time.”
He’ll be a good fit with the Cardinals’ other receivers, including Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and Ginn Jr,.
“That’s going to be nice to feed off those guys, learn from them and just take my game to another level,” Brown said. “That’s something big, just watching those guys. Larry Fitzgerald is one of the best players in the game at receiver, and I can learn things from all those guys, and learn from Ted Ginn at the return game.”