As the draft inches closer, we know who the Cowboys are interested in by the prospects they invite to Valley Ranch. I wanted to shake things up here and talk about some players who haven't been on the Cowboys radar. In this new series, I will detail some prospects that haven't been invited to visit with the team.
They solved the tackle issue last year with the selection of Tyron Smith. Doug Free really can't be any worse next year because he looked so dominant at right tackle in 2009, the position he will be moving back to due to the rise of the Smith at left tackle. The tackle positions are set in stone, but even with the free agent splurge at guard, the Cowboys cannot be done adding talent there.
The position I decided to focus on today, offensive guard, is a huge need for the team. Continuing to build the offensive line will help Tony Romo stay off the injury list, but a dominant guard will also help in short yardage and red-zone situations. For the last few years, we have wanted to see this offensive line rebuilt. By adding a physical guard, we may not be too far away from achieving our wishes.
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- 6'5, 346
- Miami (Ohio)
Brooks has been a prospect that continues to grow on me. Every time I put on his tape, he dominated and stood out. Offensive lineman may be one of the hardest positions to scout as an amateur scout with no NFL connections. I don't know how to describe it, but you can just see some offensive lineman have "it" so to speak. Brandon Brooks is another one of these lineman who has "it", but he is a guard.
In 2007, he red-shirted the season. When he finally stepped onto the field in 2008 as a freshman, Brooks was ready. He started 12 games at left guard and immediately became a fixture on the Miami (Ohio) offensive line. In his sophomore season, he once again started all 12 games, but earned second-team All-MAC honors. A rash of injuries plagued his junior season. He did show his versatility on the offensive line by filling in at left tackle for two games, the rest at guard.
Entering his senior season, many didn't believe he was going to be a high draft pick. After a dominating senior season, his name began popup on the draft circuit. I felt that he was a huge snub when he wasn't invited to the combine in February, but he didn't need that event to shine. Brooks waited for his pro day, and put on a show for the NFL scouts.
- 36 bench reps
- 4.98 40 yard dash
- 1.71 10 yard split
- 4.52 short shuttle
- 32 inch vertical jump
- 8-feet 9-inches broad jump
I love using the word "beast" to describe prospects, but this year I have used the term sparingly. This time I finally get to dust it off, Brooks is a complete beast folks. He reminds me a lot of former Cowboys great, Larry Allen. He has the size of the guards the Cowboys used to go after, but he is light on his feet. Here is a nice little video of Brooks working out at his pro day. Please click on the link if you like seeing guards run over NFL personnel.
- Thick frame, large shoulders
- Big and strong guard, yet still light on his feet
- Dominant in the run game
- Good in pass protection
- Natural leader
- Must improve his footwork
- Can get too upright in his stance, which will be a problem when pulling to lead block
- Must improve his technique
- Needs to finish on plays
When you take a closer look at him, he has the dominant qualities you look for in a guard. He has massive size, but has done a good job in the last year at turning some of his weight into muscle. The mean streak is there for him to be a pile-pusher in short yardage situations, but he must be meaner more often. There are times where that mean streak will disappear, so that needs to be something Brooks turns on more often.
While he is an experienced guard, there is a lot of upside left. Brooks still has some technique to learn, primarily as a lead blocker and in pass protection. I wouldn't say he is a project, but he may be relying more on physical ability right now instead of technique. On the NFL level, everyone is big and strong, so you must learn proper technique in order to win on the offensive line. The possibility of Brooks having a good offensive line coach like Bill Callahan is very appealing.
This is the type of guard the Cowboys should be looking at. He should be available when we go on the clock with the 45th overall pick in the second round. Some of you may feel like taking Brooks there is a reach, but if you could possibly get the next Larry Allen type of guard, would it be a reach then?