Texas Tech football alums: Analysts not high on Seattle’s pick of Jordyn Brooks

LUBBOCK, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: Jordyn Brooks #1 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders on the field during warmups before the game between the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the Oklahoma State Cowboys on September 30, 2017 at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, Texas. Oklahoma State won the game 41-34. (Photo by John Weast/Getty Images)
LUBBOCK, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: Jordyn Brooks #1 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders on the field during warmups before the game between the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the Oklahoma State Cowboys on September 30, 2017 at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, Texas. Oklahoma State won the game 41-34. (Photo by John Weast/Getty Images) /

In the aftermath of the 2020 NFL Draft, it appears that many experts are not high on Seattle’s decision to take Texas Tech football alum Jordyn Brooks in the first round.

Seattle Seahawks General Manager John Schneider has some serious skins on the wall.  He’s the man who hired head coach Pete Carroll, drafted QB Russell Wilson, and put together a roster that won Super Bowl XLVIII and came within one play of winning Super Bowl XLIX.  But still, many around the football world question how he conducts his organization’s drafts.  And after he took Texas Tech football alum Jordyn Brooks in the first round of this year’s draft, he’s once again being questioned by the so-called experts in the industry.

When the Seahawks selected the Red Raider middle linebacker with the No. 27 pick in this past weekend’s draft, it gave Tech the program’s first first-round draft pick since 2017 when Kansas City took QB Pat Mahomes at No. 10 overall.  What’s more, it was just the second time a Red Raider had gone in the first round since Michael Crabtree was also taken No. 10 in the 2009 draft.

It’s that Mahomes pick that should be a cautionary tale about making too hasty of judgment about a first-round pick.  After all, many questioned whether the Chiefs’ decision to trade up for a player thought by some to be a “system QB” was wise.  What’s more, most were much higher on the Chicago Bears’ decision to move up to the No. 2 spot to take North Carolina QB Mitch Trubisky.

Just three seasons later, Mahomes has the 2018 NFL MVP and the Super Bowl LIV MVP trophies sitting on his mantle while Trubisky is believed to be fighting for his job.  In fact, this offseason, the Bears traded for veteran QB Nick Foles to compete with Trubisky for the QB job.

Keep that in mind as you read what the analysts are saying about the Seahawks’ decision to take Brooks in the first round despite the fact that most believed him to be a likely second-round prospect.  Though plenty of people seem to be skeptical about the pick, there’s no way anyone in Lubbock will be betting against Brooks.

Alex Ballentine of Bleacher Report gave the Seahawks draft and overall grade of just “C-“  He views the selection of Brooks as a “risk”.

"“The Seahawks might be once again calling on their third pick to carry the draft class,” he says.  “Trading up for Damien Lewis to upgrade the interior of their offensive line might be the best move they made. Seattle is no stranger to taking risks in the draft, and selecting linebacker Jordyn Brooks one pick ahead of Patrick Queen certainly qualifies. “"

Queen from LSU, thought to be the best inside LB in the draft, was taken one pick after Brooks by the Baltimore Ravens.  Thus, he and Brooks will be measured against one another for as long as their careers last.

Ben Pickman of Sports Illustrated also questions Seattle’s selection of Brooks.  His logic is that Seattle was already set at inside LB in 2020 and possibly beyond.

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"“The Seahawks also drafted a future starting linebacker last year in Cody Barton, who has the coverage skills to maybe even push for all-important nickel snaps this season,” he says.  “So it’s not like things were looking bereft at linebacker for 2021 and beyond. So why take Brooks in the first round?“Recall that last season the Seahawks often played base 4-3 personnel, even against three-receiver sets. It was a highly unusual move in a nickel-heavy league, but it worked well, in part because Seattle is so comfortable playing zone. (4-3 vs. 3 WRs does not work well in man-to-man.) We assumed the 4-3 move was in part because Seattle did not have any great options at slot corner. But at pick No. 27, there were decent slot corner prospects on the board. And yet they still took Brooks. Is Pete Carroll planning to commit to the 4-3 approach long-term?”"

Andrew Kim of FanSided’s NFL Mocks also gives Seattle a “C” for their draft.  He calls the selection of Brooks “puzzling”.

"“The Texas Tech senior is athletic and is a superb tackler but lacks experience in coverage” Kim says.  “But with Seattle, the 6-foot, 240-pound linebacker can be used as a heat-seeking missile on blitzes and help out in run support. Currently, he is projected to start at sam linebacker over Shaquem Griffin. Jordyn Brooks is not a bad player, as he has experience at inside and outside linebacker, but taking him in round one over a few other linebackers is puzzling.”"

Hayden Winks of Rotoworld evicerated the Seahawks draft giving them a grade of “F”.  He doesn’t like Brooks’ reputation as more of a run-stopper than a pass coverage specialist.

"“Brooks is a 78th athlete (4.54 forty) and uber-productive in college (108 tackles), but his iffy agility made him a liability in pass coverage. For a first-round linebacker, I’d want a plus pass defender, not a run-stuffer.”"

Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN, one of the most famous and respected draft analysts in the industry, is much higher on Brooks.  In fact, he had Brooks with a first-round grade.

"“Brooks really popped on the Texas Tech tape, and I had him No. 32 overall in my rankings,” he says. “Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright aren’t on rookie contracts anymore, so I like the pick to get a young sideline-to-sideline defender and tackling machine.”"

However, Pro Football Focus doesn’t share that thought.  In fact, they call Brooks the “biggest reach of the first round”.

"“(Jordyn Brooks) was the biggest reach of the first round according to the 2020 Consensus Big Board put together by Arif Hassan over at The Athletic (he was taken 57 spots higher than his rank). It wasn’t much better on our board either, as he was our 64th-ranked prospect. From a run defense (91.5 run-defense grade in 2019) and tackling perspective, he is one of the best linebackers in the class. He’s not someone who is going to play all that well in space or make plays in coverage, though.”"

On the other hand, Pete Prisco CBSSports.com is much higher on the Red Raider’s 2019 tackles leader. He points out that Brooks is a perfect fit for what Seattle wants to do on defense, which might make him a star.

"“Even though he isn’t an immediate need, first-round linebacker Jordyn Brooks has future-star potential,” he says.  “He fits their defense perfectly.”"

Only time will tell how Brooks’ career plays out.  After all, projecting NFL Draft picks’ future moths before their first official practice is a crapshoot.

For instance, who among us believed that former Red Raider tight end Jace Amaro was destined for superstardom when he was drafted in the second round in 2014?  Certainly, yours truly did.  Now, he’s out of the league.

On the other hand, did any of us believe we were watching a future 12-year NFL veteran when we watched former Tech defensive back Joselio Hanson play for the Red Raiders as a JUCO transfer in 2001-02?  Likely not.

Related Story. 2020 Draft Picks that could have saved Kingsbury in Lubbock. light

Hopefully, Jordyn Brooks goes on to prove his detractors wrong in the NFL.  And if a GM as astute as John Schneider thinks Brooks is worthy of a first-round pick, that should be all the justification of his talents that anyone needs to see.