Ahmad Brooks has the skills to be a first-day selection in the NFL draft, but two talent evaluators who reviewed the former Virginia linebacker's tapes and workout believe he will slide somewhere between Rounds 3 and 5 in this year's supplemental draft.
Brooks, one of four prospects granted "special" eligibility this week for the July 13 draft, worked out for scouts and coaches on Thursday. He was timed between 4.69 and 4.75 seconds in the 40-yard dash and registered a 32-inch vertical jump and a 9-foot-8 broad jump.
While those in attendance were pleased to see Brooks weigh-in at 6-foot-3 and 260 pounds – 26 pounds lighter than his original training weight with Chip Smith of Competitive Edge Sports in Atlanta – most scouts noted that he struggled some with his footwork in the shuttle drills (4.42 seconds in the short shuttle, 7.41 in the three-cone and 11.80 in the 60-yard shuttle) and produced average results in the bench press for his size (19 repetitions at 225 pounds). Still, they felt Brooks looked in good shape.
Known to be an underachiever with some lazy habits, Brooks reportedly has had off-field issues with failed drug tests at Virginia. His agent, Gregory Williams, told team decision-makers that his client had successfully passed five independently administered drug tests in the past three months. Also, a full medical evaluation of Brooks' previous right knee injury was provided to teams by Dr. James Andrews, whom Brooks had visited a few weeks ago in preparation for Thursday's workout.
Most 3-4 scheme teams see Brooks as being a good fit inside, while others feel he can play outside and put in some work at rush end in passing situations. Everyone is in agreement that having a solid support staff and veteran leadership on the defensive side of the ball will be crucial to keeping Brooks in line.
The Green Bay Packers, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys, Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers were the teams that paid close attention to Brooks' workout, which was conducted by Cincinnati Bengals linebacker coach Ricky Hunley. The Packers, Bengals and Giants met with Brooks on Wednesday. Next week, he will travel to San Francisco to visit with 49ers officials and take a physical.
SUPPLEMENTAL DRAFT NOTES
- Ex-Texas fullback Ahmard Hall worked out in front of scouts from the Packers and Tennessee Titans inside the Longhorns' practice bubble on Thursday. Hall, who had previously impressed scouts at the school's pro day in late March, decided to stick with those results and not risk possible injury, but he did catch passes after measuring in at 5-10 and 236 pounds.
- Former Delaware wide receiver David Boler, who was deemed to be a free agent by the NFL's player personnel department after the NCAA ruled against his request for an extra year of eligibility, has been receiving interest from a handful of teams, including the Arizona Cardinals. Boler hopes to set up a workout date over the next few weeks.
- Northern Illinois linebacker Javan Lee, who learned this week that he will not be given a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA, planned to contact the NFL's player personnel office to inquire about becoming a supplemental draft prospect or a free agent. Lee could also explore options to attend a NAIA program, since NAIA schools abide by different rules to judge semesters used by student/athletes. A defensive back turned outside linebacker, Lee is roughly 6-foot-2 and 222 pounds with good range. He recorded over 100 tackles before missing what would have been his senior campaign due to hernia surgery. Lee has been estimated to run the 40 in the 4.6-second range.
- Ex-Minnesota running back Gary Russell must wait until at least January 2007 in order to make himself eligible for the NFL. Russell, who isn't enrolled at the school after attending a local-area community college to work on his grades earlier this spring, would not qualify for the supplemental draft since he is not yet three years removed from his high school graduation. Russell's father, Gary Sr., has noted to several sources that his son will attempt to transfer to a lower level of college football, but that would have to be a NAIA program since Division I-AA, Division II and Division III schools all abide by the same academic eligibility rules as Division I-A schools (i.e., a student/athlete deemed ineligible cannot participate at any other NCAA level program).