Winter 2022

Linebacker Jordyn Brooks grateful to God for leading role in Seahawks defense

It’s almost as if the Seattle Seahawks could see into the future. Despite boasting a roster that featured future Hall of Fame linebacker Bobby Wagner and veteran K.J. Wright, general manager John Schneider snagged linebacker Jordyn Brooks with the 27th overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft.

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It was a pick that caught most people, including Brooks, off guard.

“I wasn’t surprised about the first round, I was surprised the Seahawks came and got me,” Brooks said shortly after being drafted, via Fan Nation. “I hadn’t talked to them since the combine, so I wasn’t really expecting them to pick me. But I’m very grateful and excited.”

Last year, in his second NFL season, he finished second in the NFL in tackles with 184 (just six behind Atlanta’s Foyesade Oluokun). Brooks is back in that same spot on the leaderboard this season (141 through 13 games, just one behind Oluokun), though he has since taken over as the defensive signal caller after Wagner was released in the offseason and signed with the Los Angeles Rams.

That means Brooks is effectively the leader on the Seahawks defense now in just his third season.

Schneider was impressed by Brooks early in the draft process and wanted to keep his intel as his own secret, calling Brooks “the best player on the board.”

“When people aren’t talking about players, that’s when you get pretty nervous,” Schneider said during a press conference following his pick of Brooks in 2020. “And Jordyn was clearly one of those players. At the combine, I totally stayed away from him. I didn’t talk to him at the combine. I just evaluated all the different interviews.”

A first-team All-Big 12 selection and second-team All-American at Texas Tech in 2019, Brooks forged his path to football stardom through waves of adversity. The youngest of seven children alongside his twin sister, he and his family moved from Dallas to Houston, where they briefly experienced homelessness, Fan Nation reported. Football became his outlet to deal with the hardships of life.

“It was a chance for me to go out there and release whatever anger I had built up; I could release that on the football field,” Brooks said.

Brooks — who often speaks about his faith in God on Instagram and has “Believer in Christ” in his bio — said it was “a blessing from God” to get to learn from Wright and Wagner early in his career.

“I see myself as a football player, a player that can do anything,” Brooks said. “It’s my God-given ability that I’ve been blessed with.”

 

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He said he looks back fondly on his draft experience and thanks God for how it played out.

“I didn’t really care about people thinking it was a surprise or whatever you wanna call it,” he told The Draft Network last month. “I knew what I was capable of, and the front office believed in my abilities. I just thank God for that moment. I’m still thankful today. I’m glad to be here in Seattle.”

On the field, he is making Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll look like geniuses for their decision to select him when they did. This season, despite the added responsibility of relaying the defensive play calls to the team, Brooks is finding plenty of success under new defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt.

“He has been incredible,” Hurtt recently told The Athletic about Brooks. “His mind is starting to settle down, he doesn’t feel the angst or the pressure of, ‘I have to make the call, make sure everybody is on the same page in the huddle, get the defense lined up, or any post-snap communications.’ To see his maturation as this thing has been going has been cool to see for him.”

At 7-6, the Seahawks are right on the bubble fighting for a playoff spot with four weeks left in the regular season, including a bout Thursday with the San Francisco 49ers, who sit atop the NFC West. It’s arguably a must-win for the Seahawks to keep their playoff hopes alive, and it could come down to how well Brooks and the Seahawks defense play.

To many, the fact that the Seahawks are even within reach of the playoffs could be considered a win, as many pundits were down on them after longtime quarterback Russell Wilson was traded to the Denver Broncos. Brooks said he and his teammates believed back in training camp.

“We knew that we could be a pretty good football team. It was just a matter of putting all the pieces together,” he told The Draft Network. “We had to build that chemistry and make sure we were gelling as a unit through those summer months. That’s exactly what we did and you’re witnessing the payoff right now. The special teams, offense, and defense, we’ve all come together as one unit. It’s leading to victories.”

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