Canadian defensive back Sydney Brown has been selected by the Philadelphia Eagles with the 66th overall pick in the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft.
The London, Ont. native was part of back-to-back picks by the Eagles, following Alabama guard Tyler Steen at pick 65. He joins a defence that advanced all the way to the Super Bowl last season, losing to the Kansas City Chiefs.
The University of Illinois product had a career year after taking advantage of his extra year of COVID eligibility in 2022, recording 59 total tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, one sack, one forced fumble, 13 pass breakups, six interceptions and two defensive touchdowns. He was named first-team All-Big Ten by the conference’s coaches and earned a second-team All-American selection from USA Today, before receiving an invite to the prestigious Reese’s Senior Bowl.
A five-year starter for the Fighting Illini at strong safety, Brown played 51 career games and amassed 319 total tackles, 10 tackles for loss, two sacks, four forced fumbles, 26 pass breakups, 10 interceptions and three defensive touchdowns. He was a three-time All-Big Ten honoree in college.
The five-foot-10, 211-pound defender blew up the 2023 NFL Combine, blazing an official 4.47-second forty-yard dash with a 1.51-second ten-yard split — the fourth fastest run by a safety this year. Brown posted a 10-foot, 10-inch broad jump and 40.5-inch vertical, good enough for second and third in the position group respectively. He also recorded 23 reps on the bench.
Sydney is the identical twin brother of Illinois running back Chase Brown, who is expected to be selected later in this year’s draft. The pair battled homelessness and hardship on their way to a pro football career, moving to Florida in high school in the hopes of landing a Division I scholarship.
The siblings are part of a potentially record-setting class of Canadian talent available this year, with as many as six having a chance to be drafted in 2023. Sydney is the third-ranked prospect in the 2023 CFL Draft but is unlikely to be selected due to his NFL opportunity.