A few months back, I popped on the tape of Texas Tech inside linebacker Jordyn Brooks and was immediately enthused.
This wasn't your typical Big 12 linebacker. For one, he was already built like an NFL veteran and the ease of movement that he showed was matched by only one other linebacker I had seen in the conference to that point - toolsy Oklahoma junior Kenneth Murray, a consensus first round prospect.
Secondly, the production was off the charts, especially in his senior season.
I wrote a profile for him and shipped it off to Field Level Media and Lindy's Pro Football magazine for publication, eager to see Brooks in person at the Senior Bowl and Combine to wrap up my evaluation of him.
Instead, Brooks missed his final game at Texas Tech due to a shoulder injury, which required surgery, forcing him out of the Senior Bowl and limiting him during the NFL Combine. I drop players on my board every year due to medical concerns and I did the same with Brooks.
As you can see in the profile below (published in December with size/speed estimations), however, I'm a big fan of his game. Also, I've reached out to scouts from other organizations and they were fans, as well, with one longtime talent evaluator responding to a tweet for reaction to the pick replying with "...Good player, better value than you think."
So by now, you might be thinking, "Okay, so he's a good player, but how is adding another inside linebacker a fit when you already have an All-Pro in Bobby Wagner at the position?"
At its most basic level, Brooks could be seen as a future replacement for Wagner, whose play noticeably slipped last year. With his experience outside, Brooks also provides plenty of flexibility at WILL and SAM, with K.J. Wright in the final year of his contract and Mychal Kendricks unlikely to return.
And he provides that immediately, so if the Seahawks felt forced to do some contract clearing for a veteran pass rusher, the team is protected.
Further, think about the NFC West division. Priority No. 1 for the Seahawks has to be slowing down the mighty 49ers' running game and the deadly complement that is George Kittle. Similarly, the Seahawks should be concerned with keeping up with Kyler Murray and the Cardinals and who knows what combination of exotic plans Sean McVay and the Rams are scheming up.
Finally, I thought the comments from both Schneider and Pete Carroll in last night's press conference shed some light on their concerns that some prospects may not remain committed during the COVID-19 lockdown. It was clear that the Seahawks not only bought into Jordyn Brooks the player, they believe in the man.
“In general terms, our philosophy was just trying to get players that, in the environment that we’re in, that can come in and act like [professionals] right away," Schneider said.
"This is one of them. This is one of the guys we had, obviously, or else we wouldn’t have taken him. There’s no doubt in my mind that this guy is going to come in right away ready to go. It was very cool, we had buy-in from everybody. The defensive coordinator Ken Norton. I think where you play him and all that, just in general, when you look at our division and the team speed, we’ll figure it out. That’s not for today. The guy can fly and he’s a run and hit guy. He’s actually a really good rusher from the A gap, the inside stuff. He’s a very disruptive football player.”
Later, Carroll echoed how important it is to the Seahawks for the player's personality to be a match, not just his physical talent.
“That is a priority and John’s guys have really taken to that thought again under the new circumstances," Carroll said when asked why the Seahawks feel so confident Brooks is their kind of a player.
"I would go back to this: the overall package that he presents, his sincerity, his work ethic, his consistency, his clarity and his commitment and what this game means to him, how he has put together a mentality that comes from his upbringing and the tough times and the challenges and a great leader from his mom that gave him great direction."
Jordyn Brooks, Texas Tech
6-foot, 240 pounds, 4.60 40-yard dash
Grade: Third Round
Strengths: Possesses a prototypical compact, heavily-muscled frame for the position. Instinctive and decisive, showing the awareness and aggression expected of a four-year, highly productive starter. Quality athlete, boasting impressive agility, quickness and acceleration to remain on the field on all three downs. Good spatial awareness and body control to sift and slither his way through traffic to make plays at or behind the line of scrimmage. Reliable tackler who packs a wallop, generating knockdown power with his explosive closing speed and compact frame. Doesn’t rely on the hit, however, showing good wrap-up technique to take ballcarriers to the ground. Four-year starter who exploded as a senior in a new scheme, showing impressive command of the defense. High school track standout who should work out well.
Weaknesses: Plays with blinders on, at times, getting sucked up in run support. Needs to develop better hand play to fight through blocks, too often getting locked up and being forced to spin his way out, often sacrificing yardage to do so. Doesn’t always play with the desired kamikaze attitude and effort in pursuit, throttling down too soon when the ball appears to be doing the other direction. Played in a LB-friendly scheme in 2019, contributing to career-high numbers.
Comparison: Mychal Kendricks, Seattle Seahawks - The 5-foot-11, 240 pound Kendricks earned a second round selection from the Eagles out of Cal back in 2012, helping prove that a program famous for producing offensive play makers can do the same on defense, as well. Brooks is hoping to do the same for the Red Raiders, demonstrating a similar degree of athleticism and positional versatility that Kendricks has during his eight-year NFL career.
You can still purchase the online version of Lindy's Pro Football Draft magazine here with an assortment of complimentary player profiles also available at Field Level Media.