Terrence Brooks, S, Florida State (HT: 5’10.875”; WT: 198 lbs.)
Third Round: 79th Pick
NFL Comparison: Eric Weddle, S, San Diego Chargers
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- Extremely rangy deep safety that allowed the Florida State defense to play aggressive fronts and not have to keep extra defensive backs in coverage.
- Proved to be capable of reading and covering the downfield seam route by tight ends when in zone coverage.
- Understands his own capabilities very well, as he will let the quarterback see the receiver open in his assigned zone, then jump the route after the quarterback releases the pass. Being able to manipulate quarterback into thinking the receiver is open is a difficult skill, but Brooks demonstrated this throughout his 2013 season.
- Locates and tracks the ball very well once the pass is released. Most safeties in this class will drop their eyes to reach the receiver before the reception is completed to jar the ball loose, but Brooks plays the ball, creating more opportunities for defensed passes and interceptions.
- Possesses a strong closing burst to reach the intended receiver or ball-carrier to finish the play.
- Very efficient at recognizing routes, often breaking with the receiver that the quarterback is looking at. The lack of wasted movement indicates strong instincts and the ability to process information quickly.
- He’s able to read plays well and maintain impressive gap integrity. He doesn’t overcommit to play action or where the ball-carrier seems to be going. Defenders that are too aggressive will try to mirror the ball-carrier and be vulnerable to cutbacks, leading to big gains. Brooks plays the ball-carrier safer, and limits big plays.
- Above average at shedding blocks, staying active with his hands and using agility to get around blockers.
- Quick acceleration in space, reaching top speed in a few steps.
- Special teams value after primarily playing there his first two seasons.
- Played on one of the most talented defenses in college football, so he didn’t have to compensate for the lack of talent around him. It is unlikely he will be a part of a defense with as much versatility and high-level talent in the NFL.
- Has average distance speed for an NFL safety. He won’t chase down many NFL ball-carriers from behind, so he has to win by playing angles correctly and consistently.
- Although he gets into position to finish the play by making an interception, his hands are remarkably poor. After examining every 2013 snap, Brooks dropped at least four interceptions that hit him in the hands. During an interview at the Senior Bowl, I asked Brooks what area he needs to improve upon the most, and he said his hands.
- Didn’t play in man coverage more than a handful of times a game, if that. It was difficult to get a sense for his change of direction ability because he was rarely asked to play man.
- Doesn’t have a mean streak when hitting opposing players, and doesn’t seem to instill fear or second thoughts when running over the middle.
- Lacks ideal size for an NFL safety at a time when teams value the big, intimidating hitters in the secondary.
- First-team All-American in 2013.
- Coaches first-team All-ACC in 2013.
- Won the 2013 BCS National Title with Florida State.
- Former 3-star recruit from Dunnellon, Florida.
- Twitter handle is @_Showtime31
Brooks is the best deep, center field type safety in the 2014 NFL draft class due to his combination of natural instincts and high football IQ. Brooks, alongside Louisville’s Calvin Pryor, is fighting for the top ranked true free safety in the class, and with a good combine showing, don’t be surprised if he sneaks into the bottom of the first round come May 8.
Draft Projection: Second Round