The Seahawks drafted Clemson running back Zac Brooks with the second of their two 7th Round picks, No. 247 overall, and to get some insight on one of the Seahawks' newest players, I talked to a writer that watched him very closely the last few years. Here's a quick Q&A with Brian Lewis from SB Nation's Clemson Blog, Shakin The Southland.
My questions in bold/italic, his responses follow.
1. What do Seahawks fans need to know about Zac Brooks? What are his biggest strengths?
The big thing is Brooks will not be an every down back, and he's not going to be a between the tackles type of guy. Brooks strengths are getting out wide in both the passing and running game. He has the shifty nature of a second running back that can provide that change of pace.
His ability to go out wide in the passing game can also help provide another option for the Seahawks in certain situations. His blocking ability is also decent, though certainly something he can improve on, and may be his key to success with the Seahawks.
2. Were you surprised to see him selected in the 7th Round? What kept him from being a bigger contributor at Clemson?
The biggest thing that held him back was Wayne Gallman, our primary back. Gallman is a workhorse and the coaches made a real effort to feed him in the running game. Add in QB Deshaun Watson and his running ability, and it isn't hard to see why Brooks averaged 13 snaps a game this year. In most offenses I'm guessing he would have been closer to 20 snaps a game, but it just wasn't meant to be at Clemson.
Because of that I was surprised Brooks got drafted at all, at most I thought he might get a UDFA deal and then fail to make a roster out of camp.
3. What type of role do you see him playing in the pros?
I think his ceiling is as a backup RB, ideally the second string guy. But early on I think at most he's a 3rd string RB. I'm not sure he's going to wow anyone early on unless he gets an opportunity to get some quality snaps. If he does that, and learns the Seahawks blocking schemes, he can get to that back up spot. But until then it may take a little bit of luck.
4. Are there are pro players that you'd compare him to, stylistically or skill-set wise?
I think the best I can think of is a more stout and less talented Darren Sproles. The big difference is that I don't know that Brooks will do much on special teams and he doesn't have the experience lining up out wide. Obviously Brooks can swing out wide after the snap, but Clemson usually started him in the back field for each play, then he'd release out wide if he didn't have to to block.
5. What kind of guy is Brooks off the field?
Brooks is a great guy off the field. He actually had a season of eligibility left, but decided that it was time to leave Clemson. If the NFL doesn't work out he is planning to head to grad school for interior design. Yes, that is right, Brooks is interested in getting into interior design and he does a pretty great job with it. Clemson did a feature on him and his apartment in school, which he decorated, and he definitely has some talent. He should be a great locker room addition to the Seahawks going forward.
Big thanks to Brian for answering my questions on Seattle's new running back. I answered a few of Brian's questions over at Shankin The Southland as well, and if you missed scouting reports on Kenny Lawler (link here) and Jarran Reed (link here), make sure to check those out too!