Though his Seattle Seahawks were defeated, Texas Tech football alum Jordyn Brooks had a solid game in his first NFL Playoff experience to put a bow on an encouraging rookie season.
When the Seattle Seahawks drafted linebacker Jordyn Brooks with the No. 27 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, many experts and fans were skeptical about that selection. But after a solid showing in Seattle’s 30-20 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday, Brooks now appears to be entrenched as a key component of Seattle’s future on defense.
Playing in his first NFL playoff game, Brooks had eight tackles, five of the solo variety. That was second on the team to future Hall of Fame LB Bobby Wagner who had a ridiculous 16 stops.
It was a fitting end to the season for a young player who got noticeably better as the season progressed.
In his final three outings (including the playoff game), Brooks averaged 8.3 tackles per game. That brought his regular-season total to 57 stops, 35 of which were of the solo variety.
Five of Brooks’ last six games saw him make at least eight tackles. Included among that stretch was season-high 11 tackles against the New York Giants.
Some of the national experts also noticed that Brooks made significant strides as his first year in the NFL progressed.
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"Corbin Smith of Sports Illustrated noted “…after a slow start to his first NFL season, first-round pick Jordyn Brooks’ rapid ascent at weakside linebacker has coincided with Seattle’s defensive resurgence over the past six weeks. Logging more consistent playing time when the team is in base 4-3 formations, the former Texas Tech star’s speed and tackling skills have been evident flying sideline-to-sideline to make plays."
Don’t forget that two factors limited Brooks’ statistical totals this year. First of all, he sustained a knee strain in week seven of the season and second of all, he was put in a part-time role where he split time with veteran K.J. Wright. But expect Brooks to be more of a factor for the Seahawks moving forward, especially since he was one of the most highly-graded rookie linebackers in his class.
In fact, he graded out higher than fellow rookie LB Patrick Queen, who was taken one pick after Brooks and who was far more beloved by draft experts when he was selected. Overall, Brooks was given a grade of 49.0 while Queen was graded at 29.8.
"“Brooks has been a good run defender, with 20 defensive stops and just five missed tackles all season, as well as multiple key plays at the point of attack such as goal-line stuffs against the Rams,” Pro Football Focus’ Sam Monson wrote.“Queen is one of the most active linebackers in the league and gets in on a lot of plays, but many of them are not good, and those tend to get hidden from traditional data points,” Monson explained. “Queen’s 22 missed tackles led the league, and he was beaten for a 117.5 passer rating when targeted. He also struggled often against the run whenever he had to defeat a block and couldn’t just flow to the football.”"
With Wright set to be a free agent this offseason, Seattle has quite a bit to figure out when it comes to the outside LB position. It would seem to make sense to give the job to Brooks, who they invested serious draft capital in last year rather than resigning a player who will be 32 next season and who could command a hefty salary on a multi-year deal. And given the way he finished his rookie year, Brooks certainly made the case for being part of the foundations of next year’s Seahawk defense.