Ji’Ayir Brown has provided three meaningful starts for the 49ers since Talanoa Hufanga suffered a season-ending injury. There have been some hiccups along the way, which should be expected for a player drafted No. 88 overall who played sparingly during the first 2.5 months of the season.
There’s no way to simulate a game in practice, and that’s been evident in Brown’s tackling. But instead of focusing on his missed tackles, we can acknowledge that Brown is in the right spot essentially all of the time.
PFF grades hardly tell the full story, but, in the last three weeks, Brown is PFF’s sixth-highest graded safety. He’s in the top-8 in tackling and run stops, while allowing a passer rating of just 42.4, which is also top-8.
Ji'Ayir Brown has a chance to be a good one.— KP (@KP_Show) December 13, 2023
He's the safety at the bottom of the screen. Watch him process what's happening and close ASAP to make the tackle. Brown sees the field like a vet pic.twitter.com/AdPLw1tjMp
Brown’s interception was probably his fourth or fifth best play of the game. The one above, to me, was his best. You can see how quickly Brown processes what’s in front him. And that’s not just limited to the play above. He’s doing this in passing situations, whether he’s asked to cover deep or intermediate.
Brown could’ve had multiple interceptions if not for Fred Warner stealing his thunder. Brown joked about that play after the game, saying, “Fred stole that from me. I let him have it though, that’s my guy. He was coming in hot. If I would have jumped up and grabbed it, I think he would have run through me. So that was a business decision right there. He definitely took that from me.”
Brown was camped under Drew Lock’s pass as if he were fielding a punt, only for Warner to come stumbling in to catch the pass. Let that be a lesson for the rookie.
Brown lives around the football. And while he only had one interception against Seattle, he was in position to have three or four. He’s been consistent in that regard, and we’re seeing him be the beneficiary because of Brown’s awareness.
In the video below, I recapped the 49ers secondary and highlighted Ji’Ayir and how he continues to shine the more he plays.