Terrence Brooks was not the Ravens’ first pick in the draft, but he could be their most impactful pick. Expected to win the starting free safety job, Brooks’ addition should allow Matt Elam to play more strong safety – closer to the line of scrimmage where Elam is most comfortable.
The key ingredient in Brooks’ game is speed. He was the fastest safety at the combine in the 40-yard dash (4.42 seconds), and also led all safeties in the vertical jump and broad jump. That display at the combine, coupled with his strong final season at Florida St., elevated Brooks’ stock and made the Ravens fortunate to grab him in the third round.
“He improved a lot,” said ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper during a conference call. “He had a heck of a year overall. I think that’s a starter you pencil in. Now Matt Elam (will) play the position he’s more comfortable at.”
Brooks and Elam give the Ravens a young, talented safety tandem that can grow together. Will they make mistakes? Yes. But also expect them to make plays.
Elam is an aggressive ball pursuer and sure tackler, who can take full advantage of that at strong safety. Brooks was originally recruited as a cornerback, and his speed allows him to play centerfield in pass coverage.
Brooks found it funny that he and Elam (University of Florida) have gone from being rivals to teammates.
“All I’ve got to say is, we don’t play for those teams anymore,” Brooks said of the Florida - Florida St. rivalry. “We’re working together now to get one common goal and set a certain standard out there.”
If Brooks is as good as the Ravens expect him to be, he and Elam will be working together for a long time.