04/30/2012 - A closer look at the Texans' picks: Round 3/76 - Brandon Brooks, OG, 6-4, 353, Miami, Ohio...He's the largest player on the team, but the coaches say he's quick off the ball and has nifty feet for his size. They expect him to compete for the right-guard job. - The Sports Xchange
Brooks was a lightly recruited prep player, choosing Miami (OH) over a few other MAC programs. After redshirting in 2007, he earned a starting position at left guard in 2008 and started all 12 games. Brooks again started all 12 games in 2009 as a sophomore guard, earning Second Team All-MAC honors. He missed most of the first half of the 2010 season as a junior, but started at both left tackle and left guard down the stretch, earning Second Team All-MAC honors. Brooks started every game in 2011 as a senior (12 starts), earning Second Team All-MAC honors for the third consecutive season.
Brooks was a four-year starter in college and went from a 290-pound freshman to 353-pounds as a senior, possessing the girth and overall framework that NFL teams seek in an offensive line prospect. He lacks the range and overall movement skills to be anything more than a short-area blocker and his on-field temperament leaves a lot to be desired. Brooks has the size and strength, but is still rough around the edges and is not yet a finished product ? a developmental guard prospect with definite pro upside who will need a strong positional coach in the NFL, but should fit somewhere in the top-125 picks.
Strengths: Possesses a physically imposing frame with broad shoulders and a wide base ? big body with a strong, thickly built frame. Has good natural strength and raw power with the ability to be a mauler in the run game. Plays with a firm base with a stout anchor, holding his ground at the point of attack. Keeps his pad level low and flashes consistent leverage. Stays balanced and patient in his stance. Has overpowering upper body strength to overwhelm and eliminate defenders from the play ? jolts with his hands and shows a strong initial push. Quick off the snap and moves well for his size. Offers versatility with experience at left tackle and both guard spots. Has very good starting experience as a four-year starter (42 career starts) and was honored as a Second Team All-MAC performer three-years in a row (2009-11).
Weaknesses: Has some bad weight on his frame and has added over 60 pounds since he enrolled at Miami (OH) ? something that needs to be monitored. Carries a lot of weight and it shows at times, looking sluggish with heavy feet when trying to cover a lot of ground. Doesn?t have great range and wasn?t asked to do a lot of pulling for the Redhawks. Doesn?t always explode off the snap. Heavy-handed in pass protection with a bad habit of grabbing, which attracts holding penalties. Will allow his body to rise at times and he is caught too high. Needs to improve his awareness and overall vision to pick up extra rushers. Needs to stay disciplined and play smart, cutting down on the penalties and mental lapses. Has an inconsistent mean streak and needs to develop more of a finishing attitude ? too much of a passive blocker for his size.
NFL Comparison: Ramon Foster, Pittsburgh Steelers
-- Dane Brugler