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The Book on Jordyn Brooks

Breaking down the strengths and weaknesses of the linebacker

One of the first moves the Miami Dolphins made during the NFL’s legal tampering period Monday was agreeing to terms with former Seahawks linebacker Jordyn Brooks on a three-year deal that could be worth up to $30 million.

The Dolphins needed a linebacker after the team cut Jerome Baker last week. Baker played a ton of snaps for the Dolphins, so replacing him with someone who is used to playing a lot of snaps was important.

If nothing else, the Dolphins got that in Brooks. He’s played at least 770 snaps in the last three seasons, including a career-high 1,053 in 2021. Brooks has been a productive, stable linebacker since the Seahawks selected him 27th overall in the 2020 NFL draft.

We watched Brooks’ film to determine whether he’s a good signing and how he can help the Dolphins next season.

Brooks’ Strengths

Movement Skills/Explosiveness

The first thing that pops out when watching Brooks is how quickly he moves toward the line of scrimmage. When he doesn’t have to deal with climbing offensive linemen or a lot of backfield movement, Brooks can get into the backfield and stop runs before they even start.

He covers ground exceptionally well, allowing him to beat pulling guards to their landmarks, too. That explosiveness helped Brooks generate eight tackles for loss last season. Brooks builds speed as he runs, reflected in his athletic testing.

At the combine, he ran a 4.54 40-yard dash, which is an excellent time for a linebacker. However, his 10-yard split was just 1.62, which is slightly above average. Brooks needs a clear runaway to maximize his speed.

Brooks’s general athletic ability seeps into many other facets of his game, which we’ll touch on later. At the most basic level, Brooks is capable of making an impact on any play from any part of the field.

He can run down outside zones and make tackles for minimum gain. He’s got enough athletic ability to make plays in coverage and get after the quarterback.

Brooks’ profile mirrors David Long Jr.'s pretty well, giving Miami two versatile, athletic backers in the middle of the defense.

Pass Rush

Brooks wasn’t much of a pass rush threat coming into the 2023 season, but he had a career year in all pass rush metrics.

He recorded five of his seven career sacks last season and 13 of his 35 career pressures, according to PFF. That increase was primarily due to how the Seahawks’ defense changed.

Seattle moved Brooks around quite a bit and sent him after the quarterback from different spots. One of his better sacks came against the Browns when he blitzed from the slot. That look gave Brooks the runway he needed to build up speed and explode to the quarterback.

To be clear, Brooks isn’t winning on the edge with pass rush moves. He’s winning as a blitzer, and that’s how Miami should use him next season. The Dolphins utilized Baker in that way a lot through the years, but that wasn’t under new defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver.

That said, Weaver comes from the Mike Macdonald coaching tree. Macdonald is the Seahawks’ new head coach after running the Ravens’ defense last season.

Macdonald liked to deploy simulated pressures. Pre-snap, it looks like the defense is sending a traditional blitz, with more than four defenders rushing. However, post-snap, they’ll drop defenders out, so they only rush four, which confuses the offensive line.

This can lead to defensive tackles dropping into coverage while linebackers get after the passer. Those are simulated pressures in their most basic form, but Brooks should allow Weaver to deploy them in many ways this season.

That’s likely a huge reason he was a top target for Miami.

Run Defense

Brooks isn’t a perfect run defender, but his strengths outweigh his weaknesses, especially in the modern NFL. Against the run, Brooks is great when he’s free to fire downhill and cause chaos upfront.

This might lead to him guessing wrong or being out of place, but it also leads to run stuffs and tackles for loss. As we mentioned earlier, he’s also excellent at making stops on outside zone runs.

Brooks’ speed allows him to pursue ball carriers outside the numbers. With the Shanahan offense taking over the league, having someone with that skill set is important. McDaniel knows this because he abuses teams who don’t have a player like Brooks with outside runs.

Having someone like Zach Sieler on the defensive line to keep Brooks clean is a huge positive for his outlook in Miami. Obviously, having someone like Christian Wilkins would be even better, but Miami can find someone with a strong run-defending skill set to help fill that gap.

If the Dolphins set up Brooks for success against the run, he’s got a lot to offer. He defends the run like a modern-day linebacker should.

Brook’s Weaknesses

Coverage (sorta)

Calling coverage a true weakness in Brooks’ game doesn’t feel overly fair. That said, calling it a strength wouldn’t be accurate either. Overall, Brooks is probably an average coverage linebacker.

Many will point to his PFF coverage grades and the number of completions he allowed last season. However, judging a linebacker’s coverage ability based on those metrics is difficult. Linebackers tend to patrol zones in the middle of the field.

A lot of passes are caught in that area just because of how most offenses work.

What actually separates good coverage backers from bad ones is stopping those completions for small gains, making the occasional play on the ball and deterring quarterbacks from making throws in the first place.

It’s critical to remember that linebackers are “run-first defenders.” The popularity of play action and backfield motion has made being a shutdown coverage linebacker basically impossible.

With that in mind, Brooks still has some things within his control that he can clean up. He can be a tad slow to process route combinations in his zone and overcommit to play action.

It’s easy to see how his athletic ability can provide value in coverage, too. In some reps, his explosiveness allows him to close zone windows or deter quarterbacks from throwing the ball.

Brooks’ coverage ability is inconsistent, not “bad.” There’s a pretty significant difference between those things. Last season, Anthony Weaver saw Patrick Queen take major strides in his coverage ability.

Everything we mentioned about Brooks could have been said about Queen last offseason. If there’s a spot (besides Seattle with Macdonald himself) for Brooks to take the next step, it’s Miami.


Unlike his coverage ability, there’s not much nuance needed for this one. Brooks has to become a better tackler. His 17.1 percent missed tackle rate was the 11th-highest among linebackers who played at least 100 snaps against the run last season.

Brooks’ tackling problems seem to stem from not arriving at contact squared to the ball carrier. He tends to arrive with a little too much speed, allowing ball carriers with good lateral agility to sidestep him.

His tackling when in coverage is at least a little bit better — 26th among linebackers at a 15.7 missed tackle rate. For reference, Long actually had the league’s second-highest missed tackle rate in coverage last season at 29.8.

Brooks is technically an improvement over Long in that area. However, these players are likely to be on the field together a lot next season. Barring improvement, the Dolphins could have a major problem tackling in the middle of the field in 2024.

The Bottom Line with Brooks

Brooks is a great signing for the Dolphins. They didn’t break the bank, he’s got a lot of upside and a good enough floor to be a difference-maker right away.

His athletic ability, pass rush prowess and run defending should help Miami right off the bat. He’s good enough in coverage with a legitimate developmental path to become better, too.

He can be a bit reckless at times, and he’s not a traditional thumper by any means. There will be times when offensive linemen climb to the second level and get the better of him. It will happen more often against certain teams than others, but Miami will have to live with that.

Overall, Brooks’ positives far outweigh his negatives, especially given the price point where Miami signed him. Miami has to make those types of deals with its cap situation.