Welcome to the Birds Nest where we will take a weekly look at prospects and/or free agent that I think could help Atlanta or make an impact on the rest of the NFC South. Last time, we took a look at Utah State's Robert Turbin and Virginia's Cam Johnson. Today we'll be taking a look at former Miami of Ohio Guard Brandon Brooks.
Brooks is a very underrated prospect who has great size and strength at 6'5 343 lbs. He is also very agile and somewhat athletic for his size as well. He still needs to work a lot on his footwork as he crosses over his feet too often and his footwork puts him in a position where he is off balance, which is something that must be fixed before he can start in the NFL. I'd see him as a better fit in a man blocking scheme, as he wouldn't have to work in much space or pull which would expose his weakness in his footwork. However, due to his arm length and agility that he does possess, once he fixes his footwork he could fit either scheme. He would be much more likely to achieve his max potential in a man scheme, but he could still be a good player in a zone scheme, as his arm length could help him make up for the lack of explosiveness as an athlete.
I don't see him being one of the top targets for Atlanta since they are now switching to a zone blocking scheme. Due to the fact that this draft is filled with man-man guards, Brooks could certainly be on thier radar. He could help in the power running game as he is a mauler who can move people out of the way. In the passing game he is a mountain with great arm length and good enough athleticism. He could be Atlanta's solution at the RG position.
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As for the rest of the NFC South, both New Orleans and Carolina could be in the market for a new guard, as Carl Nicks is expected to leave New Orleans and Carolina could use someone next to Ryan Kalil to help keep the pocket clean for Cam. New Orleans would be the most logical fit out of all the NFC South teams as they run a man scheme and Brooks is very similar to Carl Nicks in his play style. Carolina has switched to a zone blocking scheme (ZBS), but they are in the same position as Atlanta as they really need to solidify the interior in a draft with not a lot of top tier ZBS guards.
Brooks could develop into a top five guard in a man scheme but he could also be effective in a zone scheme as well. If a team is looking for someone to run behind then this is the guy you want as he could take your rushing attack to the next level. He is also solid in the passing game and could be elite if he corrects his foot work, he has all the intangibles to be an elite top level guard.
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