This week's focus player is linebacker Jordyn Brooks, who, after being a surprise first-round pick by Seattle last year, showed why the Seahawks are excited about his future.
When Brooks' name flashed across the board during the 2020 NFL Draft as the Seahawks' first selection in the first round, No. 27 overall, all of Seattle raised their collective eyebrows. This was a team that had a future Hall of Famer in Bobby Wagner at middle linebacker along with his sidekick K.J. Wright, who is still playing at a high level.
Looking back on it now, it's not hard to figure out why John Schneider and Pete Carroll are excited about the Texas Tech product and what he can bring to the defense for years to come.
It took several weeks for Brooks to break into the rotation on defense. He didn't see more than 14 snaps on defense until Week 7 against the Cardinals. In that game, he displayed his athleticism and tackling prowess, with seven total tackles and one tackle for loss in just 45 percent of the defensive snaps. He also had an impressive pass breakup on a deep throw to Arizona tight end Dan Arnold that showed off his excellent coverage skills.
Following that game, he never played less than 30 percent of the snaps again. The 23-year old even started six games.
Overall, he racked up 57 total tackles, including two for a loss, as well as two passes defended.
Brooks's best game came against the Giants in Week 13. As Seattle's offense struggled, the defense had one of their best outings of the season. Brooks was right in the thick of it with 11 total tackles.
Brooks will always be (perhaps unfairly) compared to the linebacker taken directly after him in the draft - one Seattle deliberately passed on - in LSU's Patrick Queen, who went to Baltimore.
Queen finished the season with 106 tackles since he started all 16 games, playing in 500 more snaps than Brooks. However, diving deeper, Brooks still may be the superior defender. Against the pass, Brooks allowed a 95.2 passer rating and 68 percent completion rate. Queen, on the other hand, allowed a 104.4 passer rating and a 75.9 completion percentage.
Queen also struggled with missed tackles, with a 16.5 percent missed tackle rate. Brooks was much more of a sure tackler at 5.0 percent.
The future is extremely bright for Brooks in Seattle. There is a cloud of doubt around the future of veteran K.J. Wright at outside linebacker, who's currently an unrestricted free agent. The 31-year old adamantly shot down the idea of taking a "hometown discount" to return to the Pacific Northwest. However, ESPN's Jeremy Fowler has reported that Wright and the Seahawks have had "serious discussions" about a possible reunion.
The Seahawks can take comfort in the fact that they have an immediate replacement for Wright if the two sides don't work out a deal to return. Brooks is more than capable of sliding into that role and excelling. He's the most athletic linebacker defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. has at his disposal.
While many rolled their eyes at the selection of Brooks initially, it now seems like a great move nearly a year later. Seattle would be hard-pressed to fill that void at linebacker in free agency or with their limited draft supply had they not selected Brooks. Now they can use those resources to fill in spots that actually lack depth, unlike linebacker.
Brooks is here to stay in Seattle and he certainly looks poised to take on a much larger role in year two.