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30-Days, 30 Prospects: DAY 24 – All-MAC Defensive Lineman Karl Brooks

Karl Brooks may just be, pound-for-pound, the biggest steal in the draft for whichever team selects him. The 2022 All-MAC conference player is fresh off a breakthrough season at Bowling Green, tallying an impressive 10 sacks on the season and finishing his college career with 27.5 total sacks.

The ability to get after the quarterback at the 3-technique and edge highlight Brooks’ strengths, as he tallied over 100 quarterback pressures in two seasons. Additionally, Brooks contains a wide range of effective pass rushing moves, displaying an imposing bull rush, quick, nimble footwork to perform the spin move, and quick counter moves when the first move is unsuccessful. In the run game, Brooks shows excellent leverage, combining strength and solid footwork to fill in gaps. Moreover, when chasing down running backs, Brooks shows adequate lateral speed and play recognition to be successful in backside pursuit.

Brooks has a couple of glaring weaknesses, however. Brooks lacks some of the desired athleticism that comes from a top prospect, often looking sluggish and not explosive at times. Brooks also plays with a high pad level at times, which will limit his pass rushing ability when facing most offensive lineman in the NFL. Additionally, Brooks also does not disengage from offensive lineman while defending the run, often “getting caught in the scrum”. Many experts also cite the fact that he did not face elite competition in college, hence the gaudy numbers.

Despite the weaknesses, Brooks contains many of the intangibles to be a steal at Day-3 of the draft. Despite the poor outing at his Pro Day, there are many experts who have him at a 3rd-round grade, with others grading him as far down as the late 5th-round. If the Raiders find themselves in the scenario where Brooks is still available at #141 or #144-overall, they should not hesitate to select Brooks. However, if the Raiders truly believe in the high-ceiling that Brooks has as a prospect in this draft, look for them to justifiably make the call to select him in the early 4th at #109-overall.

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