Virginia Tech Senior
Uses his hands well in a short-area and a guy that is physical to win in a phone booth consistently. Has good strength, and matches up well against power. Has decent pop off the snap and some short-area power to get some push as a run blocker. Has good hand placement in pass protection with a nice punch to get his hands inside. Comfortable pulling and an effective blocker in space. Does a nice job cut blocking on the edge or on the second level. Gets out to the second level fairly well, and is able to show ability to adjust in space and hit a moving target. Does a nice job using his hands to get inside and lock onto a linebacker or defensive back. Will deliver a blow to the smaller defender on the second level and engulf them at times. Plays with mean streak and does a nice job finishing his blocks.
Doesn't have great feet when working in pass protection. Doesn't do a great job bending his knees and tends to be a waist-bender. Can be slow to set up in pass protection, and will slide his feet. Can struggle matching up against quicker defensive tackles that can beat him off the snap. Doesn't always initiate contact and gets overextended at times trying to deliver punch in pass protection. Will get overextended as a run blocker, trying to adjust in space. Doesn't wow you with his pop off the snap, and doesn't drive legs so he doesn't get a ton of push. Not a great lateral blocker on the stretch plays, and struggles to get position because of lackluster footwork. Doesn't get out of his stance quickly enough at times when pulling outside and will miss assignments because of it. Doesn't fire out of his stance when working in a three-point stance in short-yardage. Will grab at times when trying to block on the second level or in space, and misses assignments when he's forced to adjust in space at times against an oncoming defender.
Brooks was a player that the more I saw of him, the more limited his skillset seems to be. But he's a player that I believe can play at the next level, but might need a position change from playing right guard at Virginia Tech. He's physical with good hand use and can win in a short-area, but his smaller stature, poor footwork will make it harder for him to match up against NFL defensive tackles than it was in college. A three-year starter at right guard, his skillset might be better suited to playing center, a position I'm not sure he's played since he was seemingly a guard all throughout high school as well.
2011 GAMES WATCHED:
(10/1) vs. Clemson: 1 key block; 1 penalty (holding); Downfield: 3/3; Pull: 2/2; Cut: 3/3
(11/10) at Georgia Tech: 1 missed block; Downfield: 2/3; Pull: 2/5; Cut: 1/1
(11/17) vs. North Carolina: 1 missed block; Downfield: 1/2; Pull: 0/1; Cut: 0/1
(11/26) at Virginia: 2 key blocks; Pull: 2/3; Screen: 0/1
(1/3) vs. Michigan: 1 missed block; Downfield: 0/2; Pull: 0/2
2011: 14 GP/14 GS, right guard
2010: 14/14, right guard
2009: 13/13, right guard
2008: 3/1, right guard
Brooks reminds me a bit of Tyronne Green, who is currently with the San Diego Chargers. They have a very similar frame, although I thought Green was a much more athletic guard because he was much more adept at pulling at Auburn than Brooks is. But Brooks isn't bad off there. Green has struggled his few opportunities at guard, mainly because his frame and skillset is better suited when he's not put on an island against quality tackles at guard. Brooks managed to play a lot of good tackles this past year, including the likes of Mike Martin, Brandon Thompson, Matt Conrath, and Tydreke Powell, all of whom are good enough to play at the next level, and was for the most part effective against those guys. But a player like Martin gave him the most trouble because he could beat him off the ball, and Brooks lacked the footwork to really deal with it. Brooks will need to play in a zone-blocking scheme similar to the one Virginia Tech employs since he's not a guy that is going to push the pile, instead he's more of a position player. But even then, I don't think he'll be a great run blocker because of his shoddy footwork. Instead, he'll again be better served as a center. It would be a tough transition, and while I believe Brooks could make it, he's probably not a guy that any team should expect to contribute early on in his career. Instead, he's more of a guy that a team sticks on the bench, develops him as a reserve that can be a guy that can play either guard or center in a pinch, and then hope by his third or fourth year he could be challenging for a starting spot at one or the other. But in likelihood, I think he'll likely become a career back and journeyman. Unless he really takes the center position, there is nothing special about Brooks that is probably going to prompt most NFL teams to keep him long-term. Better guards are going to come along, and like Green if he gets extended minutes at that position, I believe he'll be exposed as a subpar starter.
Tyronne Green, Chargers.
Brooks can add another body into the mix at center for the Falcons, although his skillset is similar to that of Joe Hawley's, although I think Brooks is probably a bit better with using his hands, and Hawley has better footwork. More than likely, Brooks could serve as an insurance policy worth developing on the practice squad as a rookie since I doubt he would unseat Hawley as a rookie center. And as a guard, he just doesn't have more than what players like Andrew Jackson and Mike Johnson have, as they are more physically suited to play the position. If he can be stashed on the Falcons practice squad for a year or two, after Todd McClure retires he can add some depth and fill a comparable role as to Brett Romberg down the road if he can be developed at center. If not, then it's likely he'd be hard-pressed to stick in Atlanta because again his long-term value as a guard is limited.
If a team works him out and is confident he can make the transition to center, then he's worth drafting potentially in the seventh round. He can play at the NFL level, just not play well and it could take some time before he really finds his feet. But since he's likely to be a project for most teams, he'll be better value going undrafted.
1-pathetic, 2-poor, 3-weak, 4-below average, 5-average, 6-above average, 7-good, 8-very good, 9-excellent, 10-elite
Pass Blocking: 6.0
Run Blocking: 5.0
Mean Streak: 7.0
Scouting Reports of the center, guards, and offensive tackles in the 2012 Draft.
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