04/30/2012 - He's going to play. He's a good football player." With free-agent additions on the line like defensive tackles Kendall Langford and Trevor Law, and end William Hayes along with returning ends Chris Long, Robert Quinn and Eugene Sims, and returning tackle Darell Scott, general manager Les Snead said, "Not only do we get one of the players we wanted, but we made the defensive line unit one of our strongest units on the team." Fisher also said Brockers was in a group of players being considered if the Rams had been forced to stay at six and pick. Said Fisher, "We had Michael up there with No.-6 value and he was one of our considerations. We had other players up there with that No.-6 pick value, so when you have a number of players up there and the guy that you have interest in is no longer there, it makes sense to go. We talked about our needs and to be able to get pick No. 45 from Dallas was a deal we couldn't refuse." - The Sports Xchange
Brockers signed on with LSU as a 250-pound freshman defensive end in 2009 and in just three seasons with the program grew into a 300 pound monster in the middle whose impact on defense rivaled that of Morris Claiborne and even Tyrann Mathieu. In retaining his cat-quick agility despite adding strength and mass, Brockers boasts an athletic skill-set that no other defensive tackle in the 2012 draft can match.
Brockers redshirted in 2009 and flashed a great deal of potential a year later, seeing action in 13 games and starting against Alabama. He registered four tackles against the Tide and had 25 for the season, including one for loss against North Carolina. He also forced a fumble against Lousiana-Monroe that his teammate Lavar Edwards returned for a touchdown. Nothing in 2010, however, foreshadowed the season Brockers would have as a redshirt sophomore.
Brockers started off his 2011 campaign with a bang by tying his career high with five tackles in a highly anticipated season opening matchup against the Oregon Ducks. Brockers seemed to play at his best in big games, recording four tackles (including three for loss) and a sack against Mississippi State, three tackles and a tackle for loss against Florida, five tackles against Arkansas, six tackles in the SEC Championship Game against Georgia, including two for loss, as well as a forced fumble and a pass broken up. Finally, Brockers recorded a combined 11 tackles in his two games versus Alabama, including a career-high seven stops in the BCS Championship game. Brockers also recorded a tackle for loss and blocked an Alabama field goal in the early second quarter that kept the Crimson Tide's lead at just 3-0. For the year he recorded 54 tackles, including 10 tackles for loss and two sacks. He was named to the Second Team All-SEC squad.
All of the usual caveats apply with grading this redshirt sophomore as a potential first round pick. He only has one season of dominant play, was surrounded by a great deal of talent and experienced his success on a defense that helped Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson earn top five grades that frankly neither has played up to at this point.
Brockers' unmatched combination of size, athleticism, strength and youth is tantalizing, however. He played with great passion and the awareness of a four-year not one-year starter in 2011. Capable of starring as a three-technique defensive tackle or holding the point as a five technique defensive end, Brockers will be highly valued by 4-3 and 3-4 teams, alike. If he plays with the same passion in the NFL that he did for the Tigers in 2011, he'll prove to be a standout regardless of the scheme he's placed into.
Pass rush: Only registered two sacks in 2011 but appears to have blossoming natural pass rush skills. Good initial quickness off the snap and flashes an explosive burst to split gaps. Surprising use of leverage for a player of his height. Good arm length and strength to keep his opponents' hands off his chest. Good bull rusher due to his use of leverage and good leg drive. Good quick arm-over swim move, which is made especially effective due to his long arms. Stymied at the line of scrimmage by chop blocks early in the season (Oregon) but improved his awareness and balance as the year went on. Good lateral agility and an explosive burst to close when the quarterback is near. Good awareness to get his hands in the air. Knocked down three passes in 2011 including making a diving interception against Northwestern State.
Run defense: Again, shows surprising bend and power to win the leverage battle despite his height. Used as part of a rotation and loses his effectiveness when his pad level rises as he tires. Good upper body strength to stack and shed. Lacks the anchor to hold up to double teams, but shows good quickness and aggression to seize the gap and works hard to split it. Pursues well when he has a lane to do so. Can get tied up inside and lose track of the ball. Good effort. Gets up quickly when knocked to the ground and gives his all to the whistle.
Explosion: Flashes enough quickness off the snap to threaten gaps at three-technique, especially when slanting. Heavy hands, good lower body strength and the ability to roll his hips into his opponent to drive them backwards on the bull rush. Arrives with a thud as a tackler.
Strength: Still growing but shows very good strength to hold up as an interior run defender when he maintains his proper pad level. Long, strong arms for the take-down tackle despite being engaged with a blocker.
Tackling: A forceful hiter who brings his hips to explode into the ball-carrier. "Only" forced one fumble in 2011 but did the same in 2010 despite considerably less playing time. Appears to have the athleticism and closing speed to improve in this area with more experience. Generally a good wrap-up tackler who brings ball-carriers to the ground quickly and securely. Good effort laterally and downfield in pursuit.
Intangibles: Given a late first to early second round grade by the NFL Advisory Committee. Lined up as a three technique, on the nose (zero technique) and outside at defensive end (five technique) for LSU in 2011. Has had no known off-field or injury issues while at LSU. Though Brockers' 2011 season seemingly came out of nowhere, head coach Les Miles predicted it heading into the 2010 season characterizing Brockers as "becoming a bear to handle inside."