Injury History: Shoulder Injury: Missed One Game (2019)
Games Evaluated: 2019 Vs: Baylor, Oklahoma 2018 Vs: Ole Miss
Report By: Bobby Greco
Q.A.B. / C.O.D.: 8.00
Playing Speed: 8.10
Position Versatility: 7.50
His athletic ability is off the charts and he brings it every game. Good size for a middle linebacker, with the explosion to be an enforcer on defense. He plays at 100% speed every play and is a viscous blitzer. He is not the tallest linebacker, so he can struggle against a big TE in coverage. Hits the point of attack very quick and has good flexibility to duck under a climbing lineman. Not sure if he could play outside linebacker, but can play the middle in any defense. His athleticism should propel his NFL career faster than you might think because he should be an instant playmaker on special teams.
PASS RUSH ABILITY: 7.68
Initial Quickness: 8.30
Rush with Leverage: 7.50
Pass Rush Moves: 7.10
Pressure Consistency: 7.80
Being a pure middle linebacker, pass-rushing is definitely the weak spot in his game and that still isn't even bad. He has incredible instincts and always knows where the play is going, so he is very fast diagnosing and deciding where to attack. He doesn't have the best hands when pass rushing and can be stopped if the lineman gets both hands on him. He plays with good leverage and can be successful, he just doesn't have the finishing capabilities you like in a pass rusher. If he can learn better hand fighting techniques and a few more moves, he can be a very productive rusher. Given his position though, these deficiencies should not affect how teams value him. Just his tenacity for blitzing and causing havoc should be enough for NFL teams to love what he brings to an organization.
Pass Drops: 7.60
Coverage Awareness: 8.00
M/M Coverage: 6.90
Zone Coverage: 7.40
His instincts really assist him in this area. He has all the coverage skills you want in a linebacker, but being an average height makes it difficult for him to cover big linebackers. He is always aware of who or what zone he covering and has good pass drops, but is definitely beatable in man coverage. He is much better suited for zone coverage because it gives him the opportunity to see the entire field and he is able to attack the pass-catcher on all short throws. The reason he doesn't get a high grade is, unfortunately, his average height, a good QB will be able to throw over him easier. An example of someone with good height to compare is Tremaine Edmunds, he 6'5 and because of that led all LBs in pass breakups. Brooks is still an every-down player, he will just have to adapt to NFL QBs.
AGAINST THE RUN: 8.02
Play with Leverage: 8.20
Stack and Shed: 7.50
Run at Him: 8.10
Runs Away: 8.30
This is where he shines because he is an absolute beast vs the run. He is a sideline to sideline player, added with his instincts and athleticism, he is around the ball every play. He is a smart, patient linebacker and diagnoses plays before deciding where to attack, which is a skill too few college linebacker have entering the league. He doesn't slow play runs at all though, he just waits that extra second and it really makes a difference for him making fewer mistakes. Like with pass-rushing though, he can have a hard time shedding blocks. This was magnified in the past season's Oklahoma game because OU has a very big physical O-Line and they were able to neutralize him. By the fourth quarter of that game, you could literally see how exhausted he was and how he was gaping for breath. However, he did make his top two plays this season, by getting a couple of TFLs on Jalen Hurts. Thankfully for him, if he can learn to better use his hands, he truly has the potential to become an elite NFL linebacker.
He is a ferocious competitor and brings rare production with him. He is one of a handful of players in NCAA history to earn conference or national recognition all four years of his career. He led his team in tackles three of his four seasons and finished his career posting his best numbers. 2019 stats 108 tackles 20 tackles for loss(both top 10 nationally) and 3 sacks. Any season with 100+ tackles is great, but 20 TFL is outstanding and shows what a force he is in the backfield. The only thing stopping from a higher toughness grade is his trouble shedding blocks sometimes.
Super smart player and might have the best instincts of any LBs in this draft. He is both patient and decisive, because he reads the play before attacking it and decisive because he makes up his mind and sticks with his decision. The one thing holding him back in this area is again, his trouble shedding blocks. His ability to concentrate on the big picture during a play and still be a solo game-changer is very impressive, you can see he is a real student of the game and enjoys studying his opponents, just by the way he plays. He may not be a household name, but he has the ability to become a top tier NFL linebacker.
He is a monster against the run and has the athletic gifts for being a sideline to sideline player. Phenomenal instincts, he can read, decide and attack with great speed. Good in zone coverage. He is a hellacious blitzer and does everything he can to make sure his blitz sticks.
Shedding blocks is the weakest aspect of his game, he just needs to improve hand quickness and could use a few more pass rush moves. He is also not great in man coverage, because big TEs and really fast RBs can overwhelm him.
Honestly, I think Brooks has a chance to be the gem of this draft. He generally is being talked about as a day 2 prospect, but I grade him as a 1st round talent. He has the same killer instinct and similar frame as Ryan Shazier, but is more of an enforcer type, to Shazier's elite cover ability. If he is able to improve those couple things, the sky is the limit for him.