This week in the Draft Spotlight, we'll continue to examine players the Falcons may consider in the third round and later. Bleacher Report's Matt Miller, the website's lead NFL Draft scout, returns once again, offering assistance on a fast-rising offensive lineman in this year's draft, Miami (Ohio)'s guard Brandon Brooks.
At first glance Brooks fits the profile of general manager Thomas Dimitroff's desired objective this offseason of adding girth. Standing six-foot-five and 346 pounds, Brooks is a very large man. During his five seasons in college (he redshirted his freshman year), he went from 290 pounds to his current weight and in the process turned himself into a legitimate NFL prospect.
Miller sees a player with a history of versatility and after the first tier of offensive line talent, Brooks is player that could bring a lot of value.
"Brandon Brooks is among the more interesting offensive line prospects in this year's class," Miller said. "He's played left tackle and both guard spots in his career, giving him much needed versatility to pique the interest of NFL teams."
A four-year starter at Miami, Brooks was a three-time Second-Team All-MAC honoree. Scouts see a player that improved year over year during his time in college and has the frame to be an NFL-caliber starting offensive lineman. He enters the NFL already with the strength and ability to win in the running game, overwhelming defenders with his leverage and upper body strength.
Many scouts are concerned with his weight however. They see a player that has a slightly sloppy build that sometimes appears sluggish because of it. At his recent Pro Day, Brooks did a nice job of eliminating some of those concerns. He showed his trademark strength with 36 bench press reps, but he added a sub-five second 40 time and a vertical jump of 32 inches.
Scouts, including Miller, are also concerned about Brooks' ability in pass protection. While they love what he brings to the running game, his technique, discipline and focus seem to be lacking as a pass protector.
"Brooks is a strong enough player to be a power blocker in a run scheme, but don't expect much lateral quickness from him at guard," Miller said. "He has a tough time changing direction once you get him moving and is more of a straight-line blocker."
On the other hand, the guard seems to demonstrate a coachability and willingness to improve. Because of that, Brooks is still considered a third-round prospect. Miller places him solidly in the third round and within the range where the Falcons may consider adding a player of his size and ability.
If Brooks can be coached up, which it appears he can, he would be a great addition in the third round. Miller projects him, in a deep guard class, as the seventh-best prospect at the position and compares him to Leonard Davis, a former first-round pick that currently plays for the Lions.
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