Don't look now but Jordyn Brooks is starting to show why the Seahawks made him a first-round pick. Brooks has led Seattle in tackles in each of the the last two games with eight against the Rams in Week 16 and nine against the 49ers in Week 17.
That's impressive given Brooks remains in a part-time role with K.J. Wright taking the reps at WILL linebacker in sub packages.
Brooks was a heavily scrutinized draft pick for two reasons. For starters, very few (if any?) draft analysts included the Texas Tech product in their first round mock drafts. That made him a relative unknown when his name was called at pick No. 27. Unknowns equate to immediate panic from a fan base.
That leads us to the second reason: The Ravens selected LSU linebacker Patrick Queen with the very next pick. Queen, in addition to winning a national title with the Tigers, was beloved by draft experts.
Comparing each player's rookie season is a bit of an apples to oranges exercise. Queen has been an every down player since Week 1. He has played 858 snaps compared to Brooks' 367. Thus, Queen's stats dwarf Brooks'
Queen: 106 tackles, nine tackles for loss, 10 quarterback hits, 3.0 sacks, one interception, two passes defended, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and one touchdown.
Brooks: 57 tackles, two tackles for loss and two passes defended.
One common measure we can use to compare the two is Pro Football Focus. PFF grade, while not the end all be all, is at least a reputable source that evaluates all players on the same rubric. And in PFF's eyes, Brooks has been the more impressive player.
Brooks' 2020 regular season grade: 49.0
"Brooks has been a good run defender, with 20 defensive stops and just five missed tackles all season, as well as multiple key plays at the point of attack such as goal-line stuffs against the Rams," Sam Monson wrote.
Queen's 2020 regular season grade: 29.8
"Queen is one of the most active linebackers in the league and gets in on a lot of plays, but many of them are not good, and those tend to get hidden from traditional data points," Monson explained. "Queen’s 22 missed tackles led the league, and he was beaten for a 117.5 passer rating when targeted. He also struggled often against the run whenever he had to defeat a block and couldn’t just flow to the football."
Brooks, like Queen, was dinged hard for his play in coverage, receiving just a 29.8 grade in that area. His other marks are much more respectable: 68.6 in run defense, 69.6 for tackling and 58.3 as a pass rusher.
The moral of the story here is that Seahawks fans should be encouraged that Brooks was a worthy first-round selection. It's too early to crown him as the next Bobby Wagner, but we've seen enough to know he's a capable NFL linebacker. Brooks' confidence is evidently growing and his speed and physicality have been on display over the last month or so.