From now until the 2023 NFL Draft, we will scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top 10-picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections and priority undrafted free agents. Today, I’ll be profiling Bowling Green DL Karl Brooks.
#11 Karl Brooks/DL Bowling Green – 6033, 303 lbs. (Senior)
|Player||Ht/Wt||Hand Size||Arm Length||Wingspan|
|Karl Brooks||6033, 303||9||32 1/4||77 3/4|
|40-Yard Dash||10-Yard Dash||Short Shuttle||3-Cone|
|Broad Jump||Vertical||Bench Press|
— Great burst and explosiveness off the line
— Fun athlete who looks better on tape than he tests
— High-energy player with hot motor, active hands and stays clean as a pass rusher
— Has refined and go-to pass rush moves, loves cross chop and inside spin counter
— Heavy hands and jolts linemen back on contact as a pass rusher
— Able to bend through contact around the edge
— Sheds blocks in the run game
— Highly productive and dominated MAC games, top-end conference production
— Chases the ball hard and runs sideline to sideline
— Versatile and played up and down the line
— Experience standing up and playing on his feet as a rush linebacker, even occasional drops into coverage and can move in short-area zones
— Gets hands up in throwing lanes to bat down passes
— Experience in a 3-4 defense, used on twists and stunts
— Team captain and leader
— Elite starting experience
— Lacks top anchor against the run, can get glued to blocks
— Doesn’t have ideal length to create space in the run game
— Underwhelming testing numbers
— Can get steered upfield when he uses finesse moves like swipes, shows some lower body tightness
— Tape was quieter against Power 5 teams
— Will tire when teams go up-tempo and no-huddle
— Five-year starter, 48 career starts
— Career: 167 tackles (46 TFL), 27.5 sacks, 5 FFs, 5 PDs, 1 INT
— 2022: 50 tackles (18 TFL), 10 sacks
— Four career games with 3+ TFL, six games with 2+ sacks
— Wore #44 until 2022, switched to #11
— Two-time team captain (2021 and 2022)
— Two-star recruit from Lansing, Michigan; Bowling Green was only FBS offer
— Began playing WR and safety in his high school career, went from 180 pounds as a sophomore to 260 as a senior
— Played basketball and football in high school, also ran track & field (hurdles and relays); second in school history in 60m 39-inch hurdle (8.71 seconds)
One of the biggest Combine snubs, Steelers’ DL Coach Karl Dunbar made the trip this past week to work Brooks out at his Pro Day. That certainly speaks to a level of interest, and on tape Brooks is an interesting guy. High-energy, athletic, with a hot motor and playing in a 3-4 front, Brooks’ tape was fun. He chewed up overmatched MAC schools with his quickness and hand use.
As a pass rusher, he has a really effective cross chop. I normally don’t love rushers who use it and leave their feet but it worked well on tape. And he’s able to rip and bend through contact to get upfield and finish. His hands are heavy and he creates power, too.
Love the dude’s motor and general athleticism. Against UCLA, watch him run across the field, pressure the QB, and get his hands up to knock this pass down. Brooks doesn’t quit on a play and rallies to the ball well. He’s the LOLB here.
In run defense, his quick first step creates penetration and can let him discard blocks. He’s a penetrator but also has hand use to fight off blocks, not just shoot gaps.
As noted, he was a receiver/safety in high school who slowly added weight and continued to do so in school. In 2019, he played at a much lighter weight. Check him picking off and returning this INT 33 yards against Akron (sorry for the awkward camera cut, it’s the best clip I could find). He’s the LB, #44, dropping into coverage along the top hash.
On the downside, he had a pretty quiet game in 2021 against Tennessee, chipping in an effort sack but not much else. There is tightness in his hips around the arc, and when he isn’t working through contact, he can get pushed upfield. The testing reinforces that with a less-than-stellar three-cone time at his Pro Day along with other underwhelming athletic numbers. Plugging his numbers into the RAS calculator, Brooks scores just a 5.96. He’s the LOLB here.
Brooks is a bursty, high-motor pass rusher who has played up and down the line and is scheme-versatile. Creative and multiple fronts could maximize that and ones that allow their DL to win 1v1 battles and attack against the run is best for him. His tape is refined as a pass rusher, though he needs to be a little stronger against the run. I can see the Steelers’ interest here, looking for the strong interior rusher opposite Cam Heyward that they’ve lacked since Stephon Tuitt. Brooks has similar traits to DeMarvin Leal but plays with heavier hands. Of current Steelers, he reminds me a fair bit of Larry Ogunjobi but my NFL comp for Brooks is Neville Gallimore.
Projection: Late Day Two
Depot Draft Grade: 7.9 – Potential Starter/Good Backup (Third Round)
Games Watched: at Tennessee (2021), vs Toledo (2022), at UCLA (2022), at Mississippi State (2022), Senior Bowl