Karl Brooks was a popular man after an unexpected snub from the NFL Scouting Combine, and all that attention resulted in an early selection, as the versatile defensive lineman was picked with the second pick of the sixth round of the NFL Draft on Saturday afternoon, going 179th overall.
The former Falcon was a sleeper pick in the estimations of many draft prognosticators, as he is uniquely intriguing even amongst one of the deepest defensive line classes in recent years, Brooks, a Lansing, Michigan native, was a stalwart part of BGSU’s attack in the trenches, finishing his career with 167 total tackles, including 46 tackles-for-loss, 27.5 sacks and six forced fumbles over five seasons.
This past season, Brooks lead his team with 18 tackles-for-loss and 10 sacks, while also placing third in the country in QB pressures per Pro Football Focus, with 68. Brooks’ 18 TFLs were tied for tenth in the NCAA.
Brooks was a decorated and beloved figure in Bowling Green, earning team captain honors in his final two years and playing in every game he was eligible over his career, starting in all but four games from his true freshman season onwards. He captured first-team all-MAC honors and was tabbed a Pro Football Focus first-team All-American in his final season, putting the cap on an illustrious career which also saw him pick up third-team all-MAC honors in 2021 and get an invitation to the Senior Bowl.
Brooks was a head-turner at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, wowing scouts and media with his ability to rush from the end and inside positions and still maintain his impressive speed and balance despite being six-foot-three, 303 lbs.— which made his Combine snub all the more curious.
By the end of the Senior Bowl week, Brooks had earned himself a starting role, cementing himself as a Day 2 prospect in the process.
Brooks’s game is built on the first step; he’s got impressive burst which can catch his assignments off-guard when paired with his ability to bend and create leverage despite relatively short arms. He also exhibits a lot of patience in rushing the backfield, staying disciplined with his feet to create a positioning advantage and finish on plays with his high motor.
For a more detailed look into Brooks as a pro prospect, you can check out our profile here.
The Packers are in a transition period in all regards, as they have to look for different ways to win now that future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers departed from the organization as of last week. In Green Bay’s 3-4 scheme, Brooks could play at either nose guard or at one of the ends, and will be fighting for a rotation position right away. Brooks will have to fight with the likes of Jonathan Ford, Chris Slayton and fellow draft pick Colby Wooden for reps.
Brooks will need some refinement when he gets to the professional level, so it could take him a bit to get acclimated, but the Packers have at the least landed themselves an experienced rotational contributor with high football character whose ceiling is a capable three-down lineman.