6-2/249 South Carolina
Pros: Has good size and is a physical, powerful tackler. Has nice closing burst on the ball in a short area and has good pop because of it. Has a nice nose for the ball in pursuit. Can blitz up the middle and does well when he's attacking the line of scrimmage. Has experience and some comfort working in zone coverage.
Cons: Lacks speed and is not going to be able to make many plays in pursuit outside the hash marks. Lacks quickness and great closing burst in space, and won't be a rangy playmaker. Struggles in coverage because he can't match up due to lack of quickness. Needs to do a better job shedding blockers at the point. Will take some poor angles and runs around too many blocks. Needs to be more physical and aggressive when plugging holes and shooting gaps. Gets stuck in traffic too much.
Overview: Brinkley is primarily a run-stopping linebacker that does well in the middle of the field, but lacks the speed, quickness, and range to do much beyond that. He's a physical player which you like and uses his size well. Tore his ACL 4 games into the 2007 season, so was given another year of eligibility this past year. Didn't really bounce back with the strong senior year expected as he was considered a potential first day pick going into 2007 after a very good 2006 season. Former JUCO player player originally from Thomson, GA.
NFL Forecast: He projects best in the 3-4 scheme, but not sure if he's got the upside to be a starter. He's not as good, but is a similar mold as Levon Kirkland, and a few years ago that would have been OK for a starter. But not so much nowadays, where his ability to match up in coverage is very important. And that's not something he will do well. Could become OK in zone coverage, but won't ever be a factor in man coverage. I think he could play either interior spot in the 3-4, although if he can improve at taking on blockers, I think his bigger upside is as a TED linebacker. He's really a two-down player that unless he can be rotated with someone else, will be hard-pressed to be anything more than a backup. So his ability on special teams may be a major factor in his ability to stick.
ATL Forecast: Unless the Falcons were planning on bulking him up to make him a defensive linemen or thinking they could convert him to a goal line fullback, there really isn't a lot that Brinkley can contribute outside special teams. He just doesn't fit well in the 4-3 scheme.
Value: For a 3-4 team, he'd make a nice late round addition, with the late fifth probably being the earliest I'd take him.
Scouting Reports of inside and outside linebackers in the 2009 NFL Draft
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