Brandon Brooks

Draft Grades: Houston Texans

This draft was an opportunity for the Houston Texans to solidify a few holes in an effort to make a deep playoff run in 2012. And despite spending just one pick in the first two rounds, the Texans did a decent job addressing needs without reaching to fill those holes.

Whitney Mercilus will help ease the pain of losing Mario Williams, and should excel in Wade Phillips’ defense. At this stage in his career, Mercilus is a pure pass rusher, but that’s all the Texans need from him in 2012. He’ll share time with Brooks Reed and Connor Barwin and may only be used in pass rush situations early in his career.

DeVier Posey was a forgotten man in the draft process, mainly due to the fact he missed much of the 2011 season due his suspensions at Ohio State. But Posey is a fairly polished product and has the potential to step into the third receiver role in Houston.

Brandon Brooks is a massive interior lineman who has the potential to be a dominant run blocker. However, he’s still very raw and has limited experience against top competition. Additionally, his weight has always been an issue, so the Texans will have to monitor his development closely.

Ben Jones played center at Georgia, but I have to wonder if the Texans plan to move him to guard. The Texans recently signed Chris Myers to a four-year contract extension, giving little hope to Jones of stealing away the starting job anytime soon.

Keshawn Martin fits perfectly in Houston as a slot receiver, and should see fairly significant playing time in three and four wide receiver sets.

Jared Crick could be a steal for the Texans. He’s a prototypical 3-4 end and should excel in the Texans defensive scheme. He could steal a starting job from Antonio Smith sooner rather than later.

I don’t have a problem with taking a kicker in the 5th round, but Randy Bullock should not have been the first kicker off the board. Blair Walsh and Greg Zuerlein were ranked ahead of Bullock on every board I saw, including my own. Bullock was my 7th-rated kicker.

Nick Mondek offers little value other than as a backup. The Texans will hope he can demonstrate enough versatility in training camp to win a job, but he’ll have to compete with Derek Newton for a roster spot.

Overall, this was a very solid haul for the Texans. They should get immediate productive from Mercilus and Posey, and have some solid developmental prospects in Brooks, Jones and Crick. This could prove to be one of Rick Smith’s stronger draft classes.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Draft Grades - 2012, Texans Comments Off

Lions looking to beef up offensive line through draft

The Detroit Lions are looking to improve their offensive line this offseason, and will apparently be looking for help from their incoming rookie class.

The Lions have already hosted three offensive linemen – Mike Adams, Kelechi Osemele and Brandon Brooks – for pre-draft visits.

Are the Lions targeting Mike Adams?

It’s worth noting that all three players tip the scales at a minimum of 320 pounds, indicating the Lions may be looking to beef up their line in an effort to improve their run blocking efforts, which ranked 22nd in the league according to Pro Football Focus in 2011.

Adams, who played left tackle at Ohio State, is a potential 1st-round target and could be their replacement for free agent Jeff Backus.

Osemele and Brooks are both projected to play guard at the next level, although it’s worth noting that Osemele did play left tackle at Iowa State.

For more info, follow our Draft Visit Tracker, updated daily. 

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Lions Comments Off

Brandon Brooks impresses at pro day

One of the most notable combine snubs, Miami Ohio’s Brandon Brooks, took the stage on Thursday morning. According to Sports Illustrated’s Tony Pauline,

Brooks displayed rare athleticism for his size

Brooks was measured at 6’5″ and weighed in at 346 pounds. He than ran an impressive 4.98 40-yard dash with a 10-yard split of 1.71 seconds.

Perhaps most impressive was Brooks’ 4.52 short-shuttle time, which was faster than any offensive lineman at the combine.

After this strong showing, Brooks should be viewed as a strong candidate to come off the board in the top 100 picks, and could potential slide into the late 2nd round. This isn’t a particularly strong class for interior lineman, and Brooks’s display of athleticism – especially considering his size – could potentially put him in the running to be the third guard off the board following David DeCastro and Cordy Glenn.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft Comments Off