The Baltimore Ravens entered Day 2 of the NFL draft on Friday with a big need at free safety, and they finally addressed it in the third round. With the 79th overall pick, they drafted Florida State Seminoles free safety Terrence Brooks.
Viewed as one of the most complete safeties in the draft, Brooks fills a huge need for the Ravens in their secondary that was caused by the departure of starting strong safety James Ihedigbo.
That will likely lead to Matt Elam moving to strong safety after playing free safety as a rookie in 2013. He's a better fit at SS, and having Brooks to potentially start at FS means both spots will have capable play-makers.
Brooks is an athletic freak who blankets the field in a similar manner that Ed Reed did for so many years in Baltimore while defending the back end of their defense.
At the NFL Scouting Combine, Brooks recorded a 4.42-second 40-yard dash, a 38" vertical jump and a 119" broad jump. He earned the starting job at free safety in 2012, leading the Seminoles' defensive backs with 52 tackles and two interceptions.
In 2013, he recorded 56 tackles and two more interceptions, helping a unit that led the nation in scoring (12.1 points per game) and passing defense (156.6 yards per game).
Here's a brief excerpt of BaltimoreRavens.com writer Ryan Mink's scouting report of Brooks:
Fluid and flexible. Pedals and transitions smoothly. Has cornerback speed -- plays fast and covers ground. Has a 38-inch vertical jump.
Patrols zones with awareness and anticipation to react to threats. Keys quickly, trusts his eyes and does not hesitate. Aggressive in run support -- swoops down with urgency, runs the alley and plays with abandon.
Dependable makeup -- solid character. Tough and durable. Has ability and mentality to contribute on special teams.
Last year saw Brooks start 13 games (five at free safety, eight at strong safety) for the 2013 BCS champion Seminoles.
As of now, Brooks figures to enter training camp this summer in a battle with Anthony Levine and Darian Stewart for the starting FS spot. Stewart and Levine are career backups, but the rookie learning curve may prevent Brooks from opening the 2014 NFL season as a starter.
The Grade: A+
Safety was the biggest area of need when the Ravens were on the clock with this pick, and Terrence Brooks was the best safety and arguably the top overall player on the board.
By getting Brooks, the Ravens now have a wealth of talent in their defensive backfield that will compliment a ferocious front seven. Brooks will get significant playing time in 2013, and could end up becoming the full-time starter at FS.