2020 Raiders Draft Prospect
Name: Antoine Brooks
School: The University of Maryland
Weight: 217 pounds
Everything Brooks accomplishes in this aspect remains fast. As his ability to run, he uses a sudden grip and drive technique with the tackle. If Brooks set his mind to wipe out a ballcarrier, he could. Yet, he uses the practical approach. By securing the immediate stop, Brooks preps for the next down. At the next level, this approach, mixed with his toolbox will serve him very well.
Burst from the snap. Brooks accelerates with ease, whether toward the play, the line or in pursuit. With twitchy strides, he arrives at the ball quickly. On screens, he will occasionally arrive before the blockers, blowing the play up and causing a loss of yards. Furthermore, Brooks can run with receivers and tight ends alike, staying pretty much hip-to-hip and in the vicinity. Another aspect of this trait is the knack for rushing from the edge. Despite his frame, Brooks flies into the backfield, under the lurching blocks of defenders.
At the next level, teams will ask Brooks to shadow multiple positions. He will accomodate them. With his emerging ball skills, he should slide in. Meanwhile, the late-breaking routes should be the aspect to work on most.
For the better part of a decade, except for Khalil Mack, the Raiders whiffed on drafting athletic players that can play multiple roles within the confines of the defense. The linebackers play the run but fail miserably at stopping the pass. Similarly, the defensive back rotation does not look exceptionally talented or versatile enough to operate in various defensive situations. Plus, when the back seven does blitz, they often look out of place and uncomfortable.
Travis Kelce and Noah Fant are names that leap to the forefront. Granted, they each possess the height advantage over Brooks. Yet, neither one will outrun him. With a roster completely devoid of linebacker athleticism, Brooks presents a mid-round bonus. In base offenses, Brooks can conceivably function as a WILL/Joker role. He can cover the slot, tight end and backs. Versus multiple receiver sets, the Raiders lack talent at the back end of the roster to stay with opponents.
Paul Guenther needs difference makers. More importantly, Brooks’ versatility will bring an edge to the unit. With Maxx Crosby and Jonathan Abram poised to lead their respective groups, providing talent, Brooks could eventually settle into a role. Now, chances are the team could address the void at linebacker via free agency. That still would not affect Brooks in the slightest. No linebacker sits on the roster that would bring the explosiveness to the position.
Brooks’ blitzing would give Paul Guenther a piece that will force opposing offenses to adjust. In the middle rounds, especially with those three third-round picks could benefit the Raiders for years to come.