One Florida State defender could have been enough, but why not two?
With the 79th pick in the draft, the Baltimore Ravens selected Florida State free safety Terrence Brooks.
After hitting the best player available market with the first two picks, needs appeared to finally cross over with best players for the Ravens to pick, as Brooks can be the solution Baltimore desperately needed at the free safety position.
He is a scrappy, all-over-the-place, rangy safety whose high-octane playing style should fit in well alongside Matt Elam in Baltimore’s secondary.
Knowing the Ravens’ hesitation to play mid-to-late round picks as rookies, Brooks will have to do battle with free agent signee Darian Stewart to win the starting job, and it may not be a foregone conclusion he wins it at this point.
But Brooks should be Baltimore’s free safety this year, and the long-term potential of the young Elam-Brooks tandem is an intriguing one to think about.
It was a bit of a surprise that Brooks was even available for the Ravens in the third round, as the post-first round safety talent pool was lacking, and a player of Brooks’ caliber really should have been picked higher.
But it’s doubtful there was any complaining in Baltimore’s war room, as the Ravens landed what should be a starter in the third round, and also improved the special teams unit, where Brooks can contribute as well due to his straight-line speed and full-speed playing style.
At 5-11, 198 lbs, Brooks comes off as small for his position, but his feisty demeanor and impressive closing speed and range compensate for it, and he should still be able to have success at free safety in the NFL.
Range like this in college proved Brooks’ capability to cover the back end of a defense, and his coverage ability should give Elam more freedom to play closer to the line of scrimmage.
Brooks wasn’t necessarily a difference maker for Florida State’s defense as a ballhawk, amassing just two interceptions in each of the last two seasons. But his coverage ability, speed and range are that of a prospect who could develop into an impactful safety with time.
For a third round pick, Brooks provides more than what the Ravens were looking for, and it appears they may have found their solution at free safety.