The Cleveland Browns will look very different along the defensive line in 2023.
Defensive end Myles Garrett will likely be the lone holdover starter after the Browns signed defensive end Ogbo Okoronkwo and defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson in free agency.
While the Browns also have Alex Wright and Isaiah Thomas at defensive end, the position still feels very light, which could lead general manager Andrew Berry to fortify the group during the 2023 NFL Draft.
If so, one intriguing player to watch is Bowling Green’s Karl Brooks, who is coming off a season where he was one of the nation’s most feared pass rushers as he posted 10 sacks and 18 tackles for loss as a senior.
With that in mind, let’s take a run through Brooks’ profile:
Name: Karl Brooks
Position: Defensive end
Height/Weight: 6-foot-4, 300 pounds
College: Bowling Green Falcons
Stats (5 seasons): 49 games, 77 tackles, 46 tackles for loss, 27.5 sacks.
Relative Athletic Score:
Karl Brooks is a DT prospect in the 2023 draft class. He scored a 5.84 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 661 out of 1585 DT from 1987 to 2023. https://t.co/gxIeyLbiDm #RAS pic.twitter.com/VQdk6tDzO4— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 7, 2023
Average “Big Board” Position As of Publishing Date
106th overall (NFL Mock Draft Database)
The Draft Network’s Grade/Round Value
TDN Consensus Grade: 71/100 (Fifth-round Value)
PFF Big Board Rank: 80 (second round)
What an Expert is Saying
Working on a mock draft with 303-pound edge-rusher Karl Brooks from Bowling Green in the second round, and I ain't sorry. pic.twitter.com/QvGCCSpb1L— Doug Farrar ✍ (@NFL_DougFarrar) April 2, 2023
Pros and Cons
During his time with the Falcons, Brooks displayed a level of athleticism and versatility that can allow a creative defensive coordinator to keep him on the edge or move him inside.
This profile at Draft Guide points out what Brooks brings to the field as a pass rusher:
Karl Brooks is very talented at stopping the run and rushing the QB. He has a very explosive get-off that allows him to engage in contact first and knock blockers onto their heels. Brooks also has very active hands that allow him to move blockers where he wants them to be. His variety of pass-rush moves allows him to be unpredictable with his pass-rush plan.
Browns Player Drafting Could Impact
The Browns signed defensive end Ogbo Okoronkwo in free agency to start opposite Myles Garrett and have second-year defensive end Alex Wright as part of the rotation. The team could still use additional help as Isaiah Thomas is currently the only other defensive end on the roster. The club likes Wright’s potential, so Thomas would be the player who would be impacted by Brooks showing up at training camp this summer.
Medium to High: As stated above, the Browns are thin at defensive end after the top three, so this is a position to watch during the draft. Despite a senior season that saw Brooks earn praise from Pro Football Focus as being “one of the most productive defensive linemen in college football,” there are still some questions about the competition Brooks faced in the MAC and his best fit in the NFL.
That likely explains why a look at various mock drafts has Brooks going anywhere from Round 2 to Round 7 (which is highly unlikely). A third- or fourth-round selection is probably the sweet spot and the Browns should certainly be interested if Brooks is available when they are on the board with the No. 74 overall selection.