It was falling into place as Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider wanted. A trade was on the verge of being finalized that would land the Seahawks more selections and likely still allow them to get the player they wanted.
Then it was gone, thanks to a better offer from elsewhere. It left Schneider and the Seahawks in the position of doing something they hadn’t done since 2011 — make a selection with their original first-round pick.
The Seahawks selected 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.
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“We always need to get faster and get tougher on defense no matter what spot we’re talking about,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “Jordan fit that perfectly.”
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.
Carroll and Schneider agreed that his versatility will give Brooks a chance to contribute early. He has size and speed similar to Kendricks’ and can play on the line of scrimmage. But his speed might best be highlighted playing off the ball.
Brooks was coached his senior year at Texas Tech by Matt Wells, who also coached Wagner at Utah State. Brooks was projected to be a second- or third-round selection and was slowed at times in college by shoulder problems.
Carroll said the defensive scheme Brooks played in last season highlighted his skills.
“He really had a chance to really flow and run to the football. They gave him responsibility to spy the quarterback ... so they invested in him to be the playmaker kind of cover up for everybody,” Carroll said. “The scheme gave him a lot of freedom to play football and I thought he did well. But the fact that he’s been outside and been the edge and all that’s really helpful to us for his versatility.”
Schneider said he was surprised there weren’t more trades in the first round. He indicated there were conversations with Green Bay about a trade, but it was the Packers who jumped ahead of Seattle in a deal with Miami at No. 26. The Packers ended up selecting quarterback Jordan Love, leaving Seattle’s best move to pick Brooks.
Since picking offensive lineman James Carpenter with the No. 25 selection in 2011, the Seahawks have 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.