The Baltimore Ravens selected Terrence Brooks from Florida State as a third-round pick in the 2014 draft. They also grabbed former St. Louis Ram Darian Stewart, so Brooks will have to stand out as a star rookie in order to clutch the free safety job.
Matt Elam started 15 games as a free safety last year, but he might move to strong safety. The Ravens recently signed free agent Will Hill from the New York Giants. Hill might help add some depth during the season if needed, but Stewart is the favorite to start across from Elam. Hill will have to prove that he has overcome his substance abuse issues and is ready to focus on the game.
Brooks played a major role in the Seminoles’ 2013 BCS Championship win. As a former cornerback, he can bring great versatility to the safety position. His long arms and good balance provide a strong frame that enables him to move quickly and with agility. He needs to improve his interception ability and gain more consistency in his tackles, but I see him contributing significantly to the defensive line.
“Coming into a new system, it’s definitely going to be challenging,” Brooks said in an interview with the Associated Press. “But for the most part, I feel like I’ve got a good grasp on how this defense is and the schemes.”
Brooks performed well at the NFL combine and would add great athleticism to the safety position. He and Elam can become a powerful duo and help bring the Ravens’ defense back to where it used to be. Brooks successfully covers ground and is also able to move up to the line of scrimmage to cover receivers.
Stewart might have the edge with experience, but Brooks will definitely be one to watch. I think if he distinguishes himself during camp he will have serious potential to join Elam sooner rather than later. Brooks is extremely confident and driven, which will benefit him in the long run.
Brooks was underrated going into the draft, but I see a bright future for him with the Ravens. Once he develops with the team and improves his consistency, he will become a major playmaker for the Ravens just like he was for the Seminoles. Fans should certainly keep an eye on him throughout camp because he has the ability to start with Elam. I hope to see impressive moves from him the next couple weeks.