Astute readers will note that I listed Brooks as one of my binkies this year. Why's that? Well, it sure isn't the 4.35, although that helps.
1) He has been a three-year starter. Wait, what? Yes, he played with Peterson, Claiborne, and the ridiculously named Honey Badger (I am just jealous of the awesome appellation; carry on
); yes, they started on the outside. Despite the wealth of talent in their secondary, however, LSU did not relegate Brooks to the bench, but instead gave him considerable playing time in the slot. In fact, even though he rotated in with the other players at times, he was the
guy playing inside. He blitzed with authority (three straight games with sacks, at the end of this year), covered interior players with two-way goes, and played the run with authority. He's a ready-to play star corner, which in the modern NFL is practically a starting position.
2) He produced well in the SEC against excellent opposition. He was a playmaker his entire tenure at LSU, with key picks, fumbles forced or recovered, and general on-field smarts. Brings great instincts to the position.
3) LSU puts out consistently good defensive backs. He's received top-notch coaching and comes from a school/system with a fairly proven pedigree.
4) He's a very, very good athlete, and has prime measurables for the star. The 40 time is not the only indicator of his abilities; whenever I watched LSU, his movement qualities seemed on par with the other corners and safeties, even though they were all much more highly rated.
5) His value is low compared with his potential. As I mentioned early, he's already NFL-ready at the star, which actually makes him more valuable than many potential #1 or #2 corners who will need a year or three of seasoning before starting consistently. How many other defensive players are ready to go day one, yet are listed as potential 7th round picks? I'd be willing to "reach" for him anywhere from the late 4th onward, because I think his value to the team is highly disproportionate to his draft status.
6) Special teams star. Often the first guy down to make a big tackle. Will make an immediate contribution in that area, thus becoming a starter in 1/3 of the game.
7) Check him out taking down Trent Richardson one on one. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1Tbd0Jh4ok
Ahem. The end.