Seahawks draft picks: How will Jordyn Brooks fit in on defense?

May 7, 2020, 8:59 AM | Updated: May 18, 2020, 10:39 am
Seahawks LB Jordyn Brooks...
The Seahawks selected Texas Tech LB Jordyn Brooks with the 27th pick. (Getty)

This offseason on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Tom, Jake and Stacy, we’ve been focusing on one single question: How can the Seahawks make it back to a Super Bowl in 2020? We tried to answer that in February by identifying five priorities for this team: pass rush help, offensive line help, more weapons around Russell Wilson, team speed, and taking a hard look at scheme.

Seahawks’ biggest need in 3rd wave of free agency is run-stuffing DT

We decided to return to those five priorities – and that one big question – during each of our Offseason Spotlights. The first phase focused on Seahawks free agents, the second on outside free agents, the third on draft prospects, and finally, this month’s phase: Draft Picks.

Jake Heaps began this month’s Offseason Spotlights with new Seahawks linebacker Jordyn Brooks. Listen to the full segment right here on the Tom, Jake and Stacy podcast page.

What you need to know

The Seahawks surprised fans not just by making a selection in the first round – they hadn’t used their original first-round pick since 2011 – but also by taking a linebacker over a defensive end or wide receiver.

“This name was not expected in terms of the Seahawks’ selection, but what we know about Pete Carroll and John Schneider is that they like to do things their way,” Heaps said. “And when you do your homework and research, I can see why the Seahawks made this selection. At 6-0, 240-pounds, the Seahawks’ scouts at the combine had him running a 4.4 40 with just about a week’s prep time, since he was recovering from shoulder surgery. Think about that for a second. That means this guy has pure natural pop and ability and explosiveness. And when you watch the film on Brooks, that stands out in a huge way.”

How does he help the Seahawks in 2020?

Brooks isn’t a weapon for Wilson and won’t be the biggest contributor to the pass rush. But it’s clear he’ll help with one important priority: Team speed.

“You need to get better at team speed in all three levels of your defense. You made the trade for Quinton Dunbar. Now you’re able to influence your linebacker position, in particular, I think at that weakside linebacker position next to Wagner,” Heaps said. “I expect, not just because he’s a first-round pick but because of his talent and ability, I see him as an immediate starter.”

The big question

What role is Brooks expected to play?

Brooks spent most of his 2019 season at Texas Tech playing at middle linebacker, but that position is held in Seattle by All-Pro Bobby Wagner. The team re-signed Bruce Irvin, who can play at either defensive end or as the SAM linebacker – which would replace Mychal Kendricks’ role in the linebacker corps. Problem is there’s another longtime veteran at weakside linebacker: K.J. Wright.

That’s exactly where Heaps expects to see Brooks play most often, though.

“I think he’s going to be a WILL linebacker who can add a ton of versatility and speed all over the field that they’ve been missing these past two seasons.”

That doesn’t mean the team needs to cut the 30-year-old Wright. Asked where Brooks could line up, Carroll said figuring out his place among the other linebackers would be “really fun” to figure out:

“He could, he could play outside,” Carroll said. “We played Mychal Kendricks at that spot last year, he has a lot of similar traits. Behind the line of scrimmage is exciting. To see a guy running that fast and he comes downhill at you. It’s a really good situation, we’re really not worried about it at all. We love the versatility in our players. K.J. can play inside and outside, you saw (Cody) Barton play inside and outside and Bobby has really been the fixture inside. Everybody’s got flexibility. This is going to be something that’s really fun to figure out.”

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s Stacy Rost on Twitter.

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Seahawks draft picks: How will Jordyn Brooks fit in on defense?