Carroll: 'really thrilled' about progress, play of Seattle Seahawks 1st-round pick Brooks

Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said he’s been “really thrilled” about first-round pick Jordyn Brooks through 10 games of the season.

“As he continues to learn and just get more accurate and get more in command of what he’s doing, he’s just going to be really, really good,” Carroll told reporters Tuesday. “There’s nothing to keep him from that. He’s instinctive, smart, tough. He’s kind of got a real quiet toughness about him.”

Brooks saw limited defensive snaps at the beginning of the year as a reserve, and then missed a couple games due to a knee injury suffered in Week 3 vs. the Cowboys just as he was finally slated to get big minutes. But being healthy over the last several weeks, the former Texas Tech star has settled in as the Seahawks’ starting weakside linebacker.

Brooks has routinely flashed his speed, showcased his tackling aggression and demonstrated an ability to cover playing alongside All-Pro Bobby Wagner as an inside linebacker, helping a Seahawks’ defense that appears to finally be improving 10 games into the season.

Brooks has 22 tackless, including one for loss, and a pass breakup in eight games (two starts) on the year.

“He’s a really good ball player. He’s helping us,” Carroll said of Brooks, the No. 27 overall pick in the 2020 draft. “The running and the hitting part is really what he specializes in. He’s a terrific athlete. He’s very explosive.”

Brooks, initially a surprising first-round selection, came into the season slated to compete with veteran K.J. Wright at weakside linebacker. Wright won the job, but with Bruce Irvin’s season-ending ACL injury in Week 2, the Seahawks moved Wright from the WILL spot — the position he’s held down for most of his decade in Seattle — over to strongside and inserted Brooks at weakside. The shuffle has been a hit.

Wright hasn’t hid the fact that he prefers weakside, but he’s embraced playing strongside and has routinely made plays at the position. And Brooks has played well at the WILL spot, where he aligns on the weak side of the formation and has more leeway to use his 4.45-second 40-yard dash speed in space to make plays.

“(Brooks) and Bobby have really similar traits,” Carroll said. “They both run real fast. They both tackle hard, tackle well, cover a ton of ground. It really feels secure having those two guys behind the line of scrimmage in all situations, run and pass. We’re just getting started with pressure. Bobby is an active part of it, but we’re just starting with Jordyn. … He fits the WILL position really well.”

The Seahawks haven’t exactly nailed their No. 1 draft picks in the Carroll era (2010-present). Most recently, L.J. Collier (2019) and Rashaad Penny (2018) have seen the start of their careers slowed by injury. Both have shown some promise when they’re on the field — Collier has found some rhythm this season — but it’s fair to question if they were first-round worthy. Then there’s Malik Dowell (2017), who never suited up for Seattle.

Carroll believes the Seahawks found a great fit in Brooks, though.

“I just feel like we got the right guy for our system and all that,” Carroll said of Brooks. “He’s doing a really good job of being the first pick and being humble and just working hard. I’m just really, really thrilled about that pick and what he contributes to this team.”

INJURY NOTES

Carroll said running back Chris Carson (foot), left cornerback Shaquill Griffin (concussion/hamstring) and center Ethan Pocic (concussion) participated in Tuesday’s practice, meaning they continue to trend toward making their return Monday against the Philadelphia Eagles. Pocic missed last Thursday’s game against Arizona, while Griffin and Carson have both been sidelined since Week 7.

Carroll added that starting right tackle Brandon Shell will be a “close call” for the Eagles’ game with a high-ankle sprain.

Rookie second-round pick Darrell Taylor (leg), who’s been on the NFI list all season, did not practice Tuesday but Carroll remains hopeful he’ll be able to practice for the first time later this week. The Seahawks are hoping Penny (PUP) will be able to practice next week.

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