Jordyn Brooks’ college coach: He got so lucky being drafted by Seahawks
With Seattle’s need at pass rush being well documented and the team seemingly having their three starting linebackers set, it didn’t seem like the first round would be where Seattle would select a linebacker, if they were to select one at all. Not only that, but LSU’s Patrick Queen was the bigger name at the position, and he went with the very next pick to the Baltimore Ravens.
Brooks’ head coach at Texas Tech, Matt Wells, was not surprised that his star defensive player landed in the first round, however.
“I really wasn’t. I had enough interest in terms of calls from (general managers) and head coaches, player personnel guys over the last three or four weeks, so I knew it was kind of heating up for him, especially after his combine performance running (in the 40-yard dash), and that was really just about a week after he’d been cleared out of his shoulder injury, so he hadn’t really trained,” Wells told 710 ESPN Seattle’s John Clayton on Tuesday. ” … I think I anticipated him being a pretty high pick … I’d been told by enough teams (he would go) in the second, maybe first (rounds), so then you know you just can’t predict what happens in terms of when linebackers go and what individual teams’ needs are in terms of draft day. But by no means was I surprised he slid into that end of the first round.”
— Texas Tech Football (@TexasTechFB) April 24, 2020
Brooks ran the 40-yard dash in 4.54 seconds unofficially. Having that sort of speed at linebacker is especially important due to the high-speed offenses that Seattle’s NFC West opponents display week in and week out. After that display of speed, he was selected by Seattle and will have the chance to learn from All-Pro middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, who Wells also crossed paths with as he was on Utah State’s staff during Wagner’s senior season with the Aggies.
“I certainly think there are a few playing characteristics that are very similar,” Wells said. “First of all, they’re both right around 6-feet (tall), they both run very, very well. I believe Bobby runs at the elite level in the NFL.”
Former Seahawks scout Jim Nagy, who runs the Senior Bowl, tweeted this shortly after Brooks’ selection.
Seattle just took a guy that reminded me of Bobby Wagner when I watched him. Jordyn Brooks was one of the funnest players we watched this year for the @seniorbowl.
— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) April 24, 2020
Since being selected in the second round in 2012, Wagner has developed into arguably the league’s best linebacker. While there are some characteristics Wagner and Brooks share, Wells doesn’t think comparing the two is necessarily fair.
“I think Bobby is a pro’s pro, multiple years as a Pro Bowl (player) and has been there and done it. Jordyn just hopes to do it at that level,” he said. “And it’s not fair to Jordyn to compare him to the best ‘Mike’ linebacker in the NFL in my opinion in Bobby. But you can certainly say that they have some similar physical playing ability and characteristics and I think that’s pretty accurate.”
Wells made sure to tell Brooks just how good he thinks he has it having landed with the Seahawks.
“I think the best thing for Jordyn – and I told Jordyn this the other night on the phone – is he has a chance to come in to a great organization that (general manager John Schneider) and (head coach Pete Carroll) have there, and that he gets to sit there next to, like you said, John, a future Hall of Famer,” Wells told Clayton. “The guy’s going to be in the football Hall of Fame and (Brooks) is going to watch him prepare every day not only physically in how he practices but how he studies the game and he’s a football junkie, certainly, and I’ve got so much respect for Bobby Wagner. Jordyn Brooks has no idea that he got so lucky being drafted to the Seahawks.”
In addition to learning from Wagner and Carroll, Seattle’s defensive coordinator, Ken Norton Jr., was a great NFL linebacker who then turned to coaching. He was the Seahawks’ linebackers coach during their Super Bowl title run in 2013 and helped develop Wagner and K.J. Wright into one of the best linebacker tandems of their era.
“That’s certainly a defense that has had a tremendous amount of success with the play of their linebackers and the coaching,” Wells said. “… Coach Norton, Coach Carroll, all those guys, they’ve certainly done a great job with the linebackers in Seattle.”
We know Brooks is fast and shares some traits with Wagner, but what all can he do on the football field? Wells provided a quick rundown of Seattle’s newest linebacker.
“A lot of times, he tackles with some violence and tries to kind of punish people,” he said. “He’s really good in open space and is a good open-field tackler. When he blitzes, he comes in skinny, he can go through that O-line skinny and come out thick, so when he comes out thick and square he can make a tackle for a 2-yard loss. … He certainly makes a lot of plays behind the line of scrimmage, which I think can attest to his ability to read a play and see it develop in front of him and then have enough speed and confidence to go through a hole in the O-line, around a blocker, through a blocker and make the tackle.”
You can listen to Wells’ full conversation with Clayton, which includes some thoughts on his former quarterback, Green Bay Packers first-round pick Jordan Love, at this link or in the player below.
- Tune in to 710 ESPN Seattle on Saturday mornings for The John Clayton Show.