After earning second-team All-ACC honors as a junior and senior at Virginia Tech, and proving himself a physical run-blocker, guard Jaymes Brooks has generated a good bit of interest from a number of teams, including the Washington Redskins, this spring.
The 6-foot-2, 310-pound Brooks started three seasons at right guard for the Hokies. But after Brooks saw time at center and guard at the Players All-Star Classic in Arkansas in February, teams have told him and his agent that they find his versatility and ability to play all three interior line positions attractive.
“I’ll play any of them. Whatever adds value,” says Brooks, who has heard from half a dozen teams that he could go anywhere from the mid- to late-round range, or he could wind up signing as an undrafted free agent. “Fourth, fifth round, or free agent, it doesn’t matter. I just want an opportunity. As long as I get into camp, I’ll be able to prove myself.”
After playing in a zone-blocking scheme at Virginia Tech, Brooks believes he could fit well with the Redskins, who spoke with him in March. Although he would be slightly undersized as a guard in some NFL systems, his build is similar to those of Washington guard Kory Lichtensteiger and center Will Montgomery. Having followed Montgomery at Virginia Tech, Brooks says he would embrace the chance to learn from him in Washington as well.
“It’d be an ideal situation, being familiar with some of their players, and not being too far from home,” the Newport News native says.
Ultimately, Brooks doesn’t care where he winds up, however.
“Whatever team gets me, they’ll be getting a hard-working player, physical run-blocker, clean record,” Brooks says. “I’ve never been in trouble. Never failed a drug test.”
Throughout the winter and spring – which Brooks has described as somewhat stressful because of his uncertain future – the former Hokie has worked to improve his technique as a pass protector.
While run-blocking ranks among his strengths, Brooks has been told by teams that he needs to improve his footwork and develop a stronger base to combat bull-rushes.
“I need to work on keeping my hips lower in pass protection,” Brooks says. “It’s something I never realized until studying film [this offseason]. You’re always learning something. If I keep my hips lower, I’ll be able to hold off the rush better. I’m already physical against the run, so I can be against the pass, too.”