SEATTLE — The Seattle Seahawks delivered one of the surprises of the first round of the NFL draft by selecting Texas Tech linebacker Jordyn Brooks with the No. 27 pick Thursday night.
The shock was in Seattle’s decision to make a pick in the first round without making moves to acquire additional picks later in the draft. It’s the first time Seattle has used its original first-round pick since 2011, when it drafted offensive lineman James Carpenter with the No. 25 selection.
While defensive line was considered the top priority for the Seahawks, they instead went with a speedy linebacker who led Texas Tech in tackles in three of his four seasons in Lubbock. Brooks was a second-team AP All-American last season after posting 108 tackles and three sacks in just 11 starts. Brooks ran a 4.54 40-yard dash at the NFL combine.
Brooks said he wasn’t surprised to hear his named called in the first round, but was surprised that it was Seattle making the call.
“I hadn’t talked to them since the combine,” Brooks said.
The question will be his position in Seattle. The Seahawks are already set at middle linebacker with All-Pro Bobby Wagner. But veteran K.J. Wright is entering the final year of the two-year contract extension and Seattle’s other starter last season, Mychal Kendricks, suffered a serious knee injury late in the season.
Brooks said that during his first three years at Texas Tech he played a hybrid position that shifted against formations and he often found himself playing an outside linebacker spot in the Red Raiders defense. His senior season, Brooks played more of a traditional middle linebacker position.
“I feel comfortable playing any position,” Brooks said.
Brooks was projected to be a second- or third-round selection and was slowed at times in college by shoulder problems. But his speed and experience playing both on and off the line of scrimmage with Texas Tech should give him an opportunity to contribute for Seattle right away.
Since picking Carpenter in 2011, the Seahawks bounced around the first round for a variety of reasons in the eight drafts that followed. The Seahawks moved back in 2012, 2014, and 2016-19 in order to add additional picks. In 2013 and 2015, Seattle’s first-round pick was part of a trade, one to acquire Percy Harvin, the other to get Jimmy Graham.
General manager John Schneider talked this week about the challenges of the remote draft and said it could make trades more cumbersome. Coupled with Green Bay’s deal with Miami one pick ahead of Seattle, the Seahawks’ best move became making an unexpected selection.