Of the 17 players listed as safeties that ran Tuesday at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine, Terrence Brooks from Florida State had the fastest 40-yard dash time. Brooks, who according to Jim Wexell of Steel City Insider met with the Pittsburgh Steelers while in Indianapolis, registered a 4.42 official time which was considerably better than the times posted by Alabama’s Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (4.58) and Louisville’s Calvin Pryor (4.58), whom many consider to be the top two safeties in the draft class this year.
When NFL.com draft analyst Mike Mayock unveiled his first position-by-position rankings for the 2014 NFL Draft just over a week ago, Brooks failed to crack his top five safeties list. However, during Mayock’s pre combine conference call with the media, he did say he thought Brooks was a third-round prospect.
The Steelers currently don’t have a 2014 third-round draft pick, but they figure to get one when the league awards the compensatory picks next month for their loss of wide receiver Mike Wallace during free agency last offseason. That being said, compensatory draft picks come at the end of rounds, so if they are hoping to draft Brooks, they might just have to select him in the second round. After his Tuesday performance at the combine, that might be where his stock is anyways.
Brooks, who measured in at just under 5’11″ at the combine, showed that shouldn’t be that much of concern being as he registered a 38″ vertical jump. Like his 40 time, that was also better than the best jumps posted by both Clinton-Dix (33″) and Pryor (34.5″).
While he needs to improve his tackling, Brooks is willing to come up and do the dirty work against the run. As far as his coverage skills go, he should do well with that at the NFL level as he converted to safety from cornerback prior to his junior year. He talked about both of those qualities during his media session at the combine.
“I feel like I’m able to stay on the field with my cover skills, whether it’s man to man or up high,” Brooks said. “And I’m physical, too. I can go down in the box and handle things, too. Being versatile and being plugged in, I feel like that’s one of my good things, just being very instinctive. I have a great feel for knowing where the ball is going. I’m fast and quick and physical, too. Just all those things tie into being a good player.”
The Steelers love players that have position flexibly and Brooks certainly is one that fits that mold. He is regarded as a player that possesses an above average football IQ and a solid character and he very well could be a Steeler come May.