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Draft INSIGHT: LB Jordyn Brooks & LB Willie Gay, Jr.

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ROUND 3 potential draftees would help the depleted LB corps

NCAA Football: Texas Tech at Baylor Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

The nucleus and veteran presence of the Browns linebackers are all gone: Joe Schobert, Christian Kirksey, and Adarius Taylor. What is left are two rookies from last year, Mack Wilson and Sione Takitaki, special teams ace Tae Davis, and former practice squad players Willie Harvey, Jr., Jermaine Grace and Trevon Young. During free agency, B.J. Goodson was signed but may not start. Not only is quality depth needed, but potential starters. Cleveland has two third-round picks this year and at the 90th slot, their second choice in this round, they could acquire Jordyn Brooks or Willie Gay, Jr.

Brooks has enormous physical traits and was a highly-productive four-year starter in college. Had 108 total tackles his senior year. Extremely fast for his size and is a good downhill hitter. Has a ton of upside and will need some coaching in pass coverage, but is a hard hitter and does not miss many tackles. Very athletic and can roam sideline-to-sideline. Played ILB in college but should transition to the WILL nicely.

Gay, Jr. might be his own worst enemy. His “off-field-issues” just might be the downfall of a very talented player - three separate incidents in the past two years to be exact. Are NFL GM’s concerned about his behavior? Absolutely. Will he be considered on his huge talent instead? Doubtful. But once he hits the field, it is lights out. Broke the bank with a huge 40 time at the Combine. His game tape says Gold Jacket whereas his controversies say “wait and see.”

LB Jordyn Brooks

Specifics:

College: Texas Tech

Height: 6’-1”

Weight: 245 pounds

40-time: 4.54

Career Tackles: 360

Career Interceptions: 2

Career Sacks: 6.5

Career Tackles for Loss: 32

Career Passes Defended: 6

Career Starts: 46

Positives:

  • Very durable with 46 college starts
  • 360 career total tackles is not a misprint
  • Outstanding tackler and a good blitzer
  • Very physical
  • Active in run support
  • A three-down backer that is rangy
  • Has speed and can really run
  • First Team All-Big 12 2019
  • Second Team All-American 2019

Negatives:

  • Needs to shed blockers
  • Above average instincts
  • Slow transitions
  • Will not win battles against bigger guards/tackles
  • More coaching in the passing game
  • Pass coverage downfield is an issue

Expert Draft Site Analysis

DraftWire.com

The name of the game for a linebacker is tackling, and it is something that Brooks does extremely well. Brooks attacks his target and wraps up to ensure he gets his man. He goes into attack mode when reading the flow of the offense, his ability to diagnose and close on a ball carrier will serve him well in the NFL. High football IQ. Brooks is definitely a guy who can run sideline-to-sideline. Shows good speed (4.54 at combine), and short area quickness. Change of direction poses no issue for him in small spaces. He also can avoid blockers to get into position to disrupt an offense. Even with his size, Brooks will struggle with getting off blocks. Really struggles with lineman who latch onto him with no ability to shed. Great motor and the resolve to never give up on a play with backside pursuit.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 30 Music City Bowl - Mississippi State v Louisville Photo by Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

LB Willie Gay, Jr.

Specifics:

College: Mississippi State

Height: 6’-1”

Weight: 243 pounds

40-time: 4.46

Career Tackles: 99

Career Interceptions: 3

Career Sacks: 6.0

Career Tackles for Loss: 11

Career Passes Defended: 4

Career Starts: 28

Positives:

  • Explosive
  • Phenomenal 40 time at the Combine
  • Outstanding closing speed
  • Likes to play physical
  • Consistent tackler
  • Excellent blitzer
  • Very good in coverage
  • Seems to ignore pain
  • Exceptional tackling radius
  • Hustler
  • Can overwhelm opponents

Negatives:

  • Suspension beginning of 2019
  • Missed eight games
  • Had zero sacks his last season
  • Needs to process plays quicker
  • Multiple suspensions in college
  • No sustainable production
  • Developmental project, but again - explosive
  • Multiple red flags
  • Lack of experience as a starter
  • Low football IQ

Expert Draft Site Analysis

NFLMocks.com

Gay outperformed expectations at this year’s Combine and is leaving many analysts wondering where he stands in the hierarchy of the 2020 NFL Draft linebackers. Where Gay belongs in the draft conversation is difficult to ascertain, since it is almost impossible to know just how much “off-field issues” play a role in draft decision-making. We can only assume that criteria is different for each general manager, their preferences, the nature of the prospects “off-field issues” and to what extent they could affect the team. How did they grade Gay, a player who ran the second-fastest 40-yard dash for a linebacker? “Chance to make the end of roster or practice squad”. Which is in the bottom third of grades a prospect can be awarded. How is this possible?