Ravens rookie free safety Terrence Brooks battling 'learning curve'

The Baltimore Sun

Now that the Ravens have rookie free safety Terrence Brooks on their roster, the next step for him is absorbing the playbook as he makes his bid to become an immediate starter.

With a 4.42 in the 40-yard dash, Brooks is the fastest of the Ravens' primary candidates for the job, including veterans Darian Stewart and Jeromy Miles.

How quickly the third-round draft pick from Florida State learns the details of the Ravens' defensive schemes will be a huge factor in determining his readiness to contribute right away.

"Oh, definitely," said Brooks, who signed a four-year, $2.871 million contract on Friday that includes a $606,376 signing bonus. "I feel like it's just a matter of me getting the playbook down. As soon as I get down and comfortable with it, I can play fast. So, it will be good."

The 5-foot-11, 200-pound Brooks had 56 tackles, eight for losses, one sack and two forced fumbles last season for the national champion Seminoles as he started eight games at strong safety and five at free safety.

Brooks says he's making a quick adjustment to the NFL.

"Practice is going really good," said Brooks, who started the final 27 games of his career and finished with 126 tackles, five interceptions and three forced fumbles. "It's just a learning curve, getting around that. For the most part, it's going good."

The Ravens drafted Brooks and former Florida State defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan in the second round.

"My impression is that they picked a good third-round draft pick with him [Brooks]," cornerback Lardarius Webb said. "Both of the Florida State guys have been very impressive to me. Jernigan has been in the backfield, I know we don’t have pads on, but his explosiveness and power [are impressive]."

Should Brooks win the starting assignment at free safety, the Ravens can have Matt Elam move from free safety to strong safety on a full-time basis.

"Competition is always good," Brooks said. "You've got to deal with it in football. Those guys (Stewart and Miles) have actually been really good to me. They're teaching me a lot. I've been watching and learning from that.

"I'm trying to compete and take a job. It's competition, but they're still helping me learn the defense because it's going to help the team. There hasn't been any hostility."


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