And thus, a debate was born.
On March 12 of this year, the Seahawks released future Ring of Honor and Hall of Fame linebacker Bobby Wagner in order to proceed with Brooks.
And thus, the debate continued.
Brooks has been an absolute tackling fiend in the NFL, and a solid starter throughout his young career. But linebackers are a tricky bunch, and it was (yet another) a surprise first-round pick for John Schneider.
This new list won’t help Brooks’ cause any, or that of his supporters.
The latest NextGen Stats linebacker ranking caught my attention because Patrick Queen sits at 10th in the NFL right now. On their page, they list honorable mentions at the bottom. Surely Brooks would find himself here, I thought.
There was a Seattle-based linebacker, but it wasn’t Brooks. It was Wagner.
I reached out to the contributors listed by NextGen and one of them (Cole Jacobson) was kind enough to give me the composite score and ranking they had for Brooks.
Each athlete was given a three-part score and a total to find their position, like this:
Where was Brooks?
Here’s Jordyn Brooks’ score this season:
Pass Rush: 67
Overall score: 76
He was their 23rd ranked linebacker.
To be fair, this includes all the games leading up to but not including the second win over the Arizona Cardinals. A game in which Brooks led the team with 11 solo tackles and nearly doubled the next teammate.
Make what you will of the pass rush score, but Seattle rarely employs Brooks in any blitz packages. They send Brooks on 1.5 rushes per game.
But that coverage is a doozy, surely indicative of just how bad the defense was to start the season once again.
I’d be phenomenally curious if NextGen is going to do this again at the end of the season how things might shape differently, but for now, this doesn’t solve any of the debates whatsoever.
In this system Brooks is heavily penalized for not being elite at something he’s not asked to do. His tackling is better than Queen, coverage is a very debatable area and it’s better now than it once was.
I’ll say this though: Brooks has not one single tackle for loss this season. He has one forced fumble. He has a scant two QB hits, but no sacks and no interceptions. He’s a right-place, right-time kind of guy, but if he’s suddenly lost his ability to make impact plays, this perception will follow him against the likes of Queen and others on this list.