With the first of their two third-round picks, the Ravens filled one of their biggest needs.
The Ravens used the 79th overall pick in the draft to select Florida State Terrence Brooks, a rangy free safety who is also a standout on special teams.
Brooks was the second consecutive Florida State player that the Ravens acquired, following the second-round selection of defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan. It also marked the third straight pick the Ravens used to upgrade the middle of their defense.
"I felt like they needed a safety, and I just felt like a lot of teams needed safeties this year and they just kept passing me up, so I just knew that at least one of them was going to bite and I’m glad it's the Ravens," Brooks said. "I’ve already got Timmy there, and I mean I love that team just from how physical they are. That’s how I play my game, just so physical and just mean. I love being in that black. It’s amazing.
"Honestly, it’s kind of crazy. The whole time I was like if I could take one guy with me, it would be Timmy. I just know we do damage together. We did it at Florida State, we can do it anywhere. I’m just really happy to have him with me, and I know there’s another…real strong safety over there with Matt Elam, and I just can’t wait to get into that physical defense. I’m going to feel right at home."
Brooks (5-foot-11, 200 pounds) ran the 40-yard dash in 4.42 seconds and registered a 38-inch vertical leap. That's as fast as many cornerbacks.
"I feel like my game is very fast," Brooks said. "When I make a decision, it’s right away and I get there very fast. I feel like my acceleration is one of my strong points."
He started 13 games for the national champion Seminoles, five at free safety and eight at strong safety. He had 56 tackles, eight tackles for loss, one sack and two forced fumbles.
In his career, he started his final 47 games, 14 at free safety and 13 at strong safety. He recorded 126 tackles, including 9 1/2 for losses. He also intercepted five passes and caused three fumbles.
Safety was considered one of the Ravens' biggest needs. James Ihedigbo, who started all 16 games for the Ravens at strong safety, signed with the Detroit Lions in free agency. The Ravens said they were comfortable with free-agent addition Darian Stewart starting at safety, but the reality is that he’s struggled to stay healthy and he hasn’t been a full-time starter since 2011 for the St. Louis Rams. The Ravens also have safeties Anthony Levine, Omar Brown, Jeromy Miles and Brynden Trawick, but they are valued more for their work on special teams.
If Brooks wins the starting job in training camp, that could allow the Ravens to move Matt Elam to strong safety, where he is most comfortable.
Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun