Defensive lineman Malcom Brown played football just 170 miles away from NRG Stadium at the University of Texas, but he's been watching Texans J.J. Watt.
"He's a beast," Brown said. "He has great enthusiasm, plays hard. It's hard to block him."
Brown (6-2, 319) was the Longhorns starting defensive tackle from 2013-2014, but also played nose for his freshman and sophomore seasons at Texas. Brown believes the expectation of defensive lineman is changing after the season had by the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year. Watt's ability to move around on the defensive line, disrupt the passing lanes, and catch touchdown passes in goal-line situations, has elevated him to the best in class.
Young players like Brown are taking notice.
"When you've got somebody who's playing like that, you try to raise up to that bar," Brown said. "You got to raise up your game to that level. You can't just stay at the level that you're playing at. Like I was playing at Texas? I've got to raise up that bar too. It's not going to be the same as I was playing at Texas. You got to raise up to fit in with those guys to compete, to be better."
Married for nine months to wife Faith, Brown has two daughters, Rayna and Mayah who are four years old and six months. The junior, who decided to declare for the NFL Draft early, kept his family in mind when making his decision and was invited to this year's Combine. So far he's only met with the Dallas Cowboys but has more meetings scheduled Friday night.
Brown would love for one of those teams to be Houston and to have an opportunity to play alongside Watt.
"It would be great," Brown said. "That's the crazy part about this whole process. The guys that you watched play, you're like 'Oh, I like you.' You get either play against them or with them. That's the fun part. If they (Texans) come get me, that would be great."
Friday at the Combine, NFL hopefuls worked out and met with the media at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Photos courtesy of Associated Press)