Continuing with my Q&As about the Bills newest draft picks, we meet up with Kris Brauner over at Saturday Night Slant, the LSU website for Bloguin, to talk shop about Ron Brooks. Enjoy and tell a friend.
1) What are his strengths and weaknesses?
With Ron Brooks, you get a tremendous overall athlete and cover guy. One of his biggest strengths his his versatility. At LSU, he mostly played in the "dime back" role as a junior and senior. LSU had so many good defensive backs (Patrick Peterson, Morris Claiborne, Tyrann Mathieu, Brandon Taylor, etc) that they played in either nickel or dime over half the time, so Brooks was on the field a lot. He mostly covered inside receivers, and LSU often utilized his great speed as a blitzer. Some of his TFL and sack numbers look like that of an outside linebacker.
2010 - 33 tackles 6 TFL 2 sacks2011 - 30 tackles 6.5 TFL 3.5 sacks
He intercepted three passes over the last two seasons, all of which he returned for touchdowns.
On a few occasions, Brooks was forced to play entire games as an outside corner and he stepped up and shined. In perhaps the best game of his career against Auburn in 2011, Brooks was forced outside due to some other players being out. He made a great play by deflecting a pass in the end zone and later returned an interception for a touchdown. He also had some great plays on special teams that day.
So he can play inside and outside, but he also excels on special teams. Since his freshman season, he has been a mainstay as a gunner on LSU's coverage units and routinely downed balls inside the five or delivered big hits to force fumbles. He also dabbled as a return man
Overall, you're getting a guy that is fast, can cover, can blitz, can play special teams, can possibly return kicks and most of all just has the "it" factor when it comes to making plays. He'll be a tremendous asset and is even more valuable in the NFL, with limited roster spots, since he can do so many things.
His only weakness in my eyes is his size. Listed at just 5'10" 185 pounds, it's tough to see Brooks manning up on guys like Calvin Johnson and holding his own. He's probably better suited as a nickel guy in the NFL or else his size may become a detriment.
2) What were some of his best and worst games at college?
As I mentioned above, LSU's game vs. Auburn in 2011 stands out as the top game in Brooks' career. Brooks was LSU's fourth corner as a senior but the #2 and #3 guys (Tryann Mathieu and Tharold Simon) were suspended for this game. So LSU had to really shuffle their secondary, and Brooks found himself on the outside and on the field for every snap. He had a tackle for loss, a pass breakup, an interception returned for a touchdown, and a forced fumble.
A few weeks later against Ole Miss, Brooks also played terrific. He had another interception return for a touchdown, and a sack that caused a fumble, which he recovered.
No game really stands out as one where Brooks struggled. He was one of LSU's most consistent players over the last two seasons.
3) What type of hitter is he? Can he play special teams?
I wouldn't call him a huge hitter, at least not by NFL standards, simply due to his size. Guys his size generally don't lay the wood like some of the elite NFL safeties do. But for his size, he can bring it at times. You'll notice in the highlight video below that he can definitely blow people up occasionally. As outlined above, he's a huge asset on special teams. He will excel there.
4) How does he play in 1-on-1 coverage?
He has performed well when asked to cover in 1-on-1 situations. However, he does not have a ton of experience doing this. He has never spent any time as a regular starter at cornerback. Instead, he has been utilized as a multi-purpose dime back that did a variety of things. He's certainly got the speed, burst, and change of direction needed to do it. But there's not much evidence of him actually doing it to this point. To be fair to Brooks, there's also not any evidence that he can't do it.
5) Do you think he could start in the NFL at some point?
Definitely. Even though I discussed his lack of experience as an outside corner, Brooks has the skills to start in the NFL. Many corners with his size have excelled at the NFL level. Early on, I see Brooks as a guy that will bring a ton of value as a third corner/nickel guy who also plays special teams. But after gaining some experience, I would not be shocked at all if he's a starting corner for Buffalo.
Here is a highlight video of Ron Brooks that LSU put together. I highly recommend including it with your post. It's good stuff:
This was the 6th Q&A we have done about the Bills draft class. Let me roll out the scroll/links for those pieces.
- Stephon Gilmore
- Cordy Glenn
- Nigel Bradham
- Zebrie Sanders
- TJ Graham
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