Much like he was overshadowed at LSU behind teammates Patrick Peterson, Morris Claiborne and Tyrann Mathieu, Brooks entered Thursday night’s matchup as the forgotten man. Flashier rookie names like Robert Griffin III, Stephon Gilmore and Cordy Glenn stole the spotlight, while a revamped Bills defensive line was also a focal point.
But Brooks definitely got in on the action and made sure people started learning his name.
Throughout the matchup, the young corner was tested often. Brooks rose to the challenge and consistently stuck with his receivers, flashing some of the excellent speed that made him attractive to Buffalo leading up to the draft.
Along with being involved in numerous plays and making a couple of nice pass breakups, NFL.com also credits Brooks with two tackles.
He dropped an interception early, the first pass attempt by Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman, but made up for it later with a nice jumping grab near the end of the first half off fellow rookie Kirk Cousins.
The interception was a nice bonus for Brooks in a strong showing, and he hopes it's just the first of many.
Overall, Brooks played physically and reacted well to his first live NFL action. Bills head coach Chan Gailey liked what he saw, telling BuffaloBills.com lead journalist Chris Brown, “He did a good job. That was a good job by him going out there and playing. He made a great case for himself tonight.”
Grade Ron Brooks' NFL debut:
If Brooks can continue to impress, he’ll certainly make a case for more regular playing time. Despite having rested for so long to heal from patellar tendon surgery, veteran Terrence McGee just can’t seem to get back to full health. McGee even expressed concern over his 2012 roster spot via the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.
Consequently, Brooks' stiffest competition right now is Leodis McKelvin and Justin Rogers. Having this trio of young defensive backs battling for playing time is a great problem for the Bills to have, as it speaks to the depth at the position behind starters Aaron Williams and Stephon Gilmore.
And while Gilmore may be the more hyped rookie—and with good reason—Brooks still has a great chance to make significant contributions to the Bills’ defense.
Building off his first preseason performance will help him achieve that.