The Ravens added another Florida State product on the second day of the draft, and this time they got one at a more pressing position of need.
Baltimore selected safety Terrence Brooks with the 79th-overall selection in the third round. He can play at either free or strong safety, and did both in college.
The Ravens had a small number of really good safeties on their board this year. Brooks was the sixth safety to be selected.
“We were concerned,” Ravens Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta said. “Quite honestly, he was a guy we hoped would be there in the third round. We had him targeted and we’re excited to get him.”
Brooks was a bit surprised he lasted as long as he did.
“A lot of teams needed safeties this year and they just kept passing me up,” Brooks said.
“I knew one of them was going to bite and I’m glad it’s the Ravens. I’ve already got Timmy [Jernigan, Florida St. teammate] there and I love that team just from how physical they are. That’s how I play that game, so physical and mean.”
Brooks said he’ll enter with the mindset of being the starter from Day 1. Head Coach John Harbaugh said he would be “really comfortable” with having a rookie in Brooks and second-year player in Elam starting in the secondary if it worked out that way.
“These are two good young players and it’s a young man’s game,” Harbaugh said.
Brooks was a cornerback for his first two years at Florida State. His best attribute may be his speed. He ran a blazing 40-yard dash in 4.42 seconds. Ravens Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz said Brooks has the best speed and acceleration of any safety in the class.
“I feel like my game is very fast,” Brooks said, saying he was the fastest player on Florida State’s team. “When I make a decision, it’s right away and I get there pretty fast. I feel like my acceleration is one of my strong points.”
Brooks is fluid and flexible and has an impressive 38-inch vertical jump. At 5-foot-11, 200 pounds, he has solid size for the position.
He started 13 games for the 2013 national champions (five at free safety, eight at strong safety), registering 56 tackles, five passes defensed and two interceptions. He had eight tackles for loss, one sack and two forced fumbles.
Brooks made 33 of his 56 tackles in run support last season. He likes to come down and support against the run. But he’s also sound in coverage. Only 17 of 52 passes (32.69%) were completed in his area of the field.
“He’s a versatile guy who’s got cover skills, range and ball skills,” Hortiz said. “He also tackles well.”
Even if he isn’t a defensive starter, Brooks should be a standout special teams player. It’s a part of the game Brooks said he loves. DeCosta said they had Brooks rated as one the top five special teams players in the draft.
Baltimore picked Brooks’ teammate, defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan, in the second round. While Brooks will have to play alongside a rival Florida guy in Elam, he’ll have another Seminole on the front line.
“It’s kind of crazy,” Brooks said. “The whole time, I was just like, if I could take one guy with me, it would be Timmy. I just know we do damage together. We did it at Florida State and we can do it anywhere.”