Summary: Brockers is a very interesting prospect. He surprisingly entered the 2012 NFL Draft after his redshirt sophomore season, but considering he is very likely to be a first-round pick, it could be a worthy gamble. However, if Brockers had returned to LSU and put together a dominant junior and/or senior campaign, he could have been a top-10 pick and maybe a top-five pick. Brockers could go in the top half, middle or late in the first round. Sources have indicated that he is grading out in the 10-30 range on teams draft boards. With that variety, it is tough to predict where Brockers will land on draft day.
Brockers didn't see a ton of action as a redshirt freshman, recording only 25 tackles, one tackle for a loss and zero sacks. However, Brockers was one of the leaders of a group of future NFL defensive linemen at LSU this past season. He was a disruptive force in 2011, totaling 54 tackles with 10 tackles for a loss, two sacks, one forced fumble and one blocked kick. Brockers played well in both games against Alabama.
Brockers' stock was really rising high into the top 10 before a bad Combine performance. He had only 19 reps on the bench press and a slower-than-expected 40 time at 5.33. The Combine isn't the environment that Brockers will thrive, but considering how well Fletcher Cox and Dontari Poe performed, the Combine was costly for Brockers.
Brockers is a fabulous run defender. He can bust through the line to bring down backs for little or no gain. He is extremely disruptive with the havoc that he causes off the snap. The area that needs to improve is his pass rush. He has to develop a repertoire of moves. Brockers has the speed and power to be a good pass-rusher, but he's not there yet.
Brockers has a high ceiling and the potential to be a three-down player in the NFL. As a rookie, he probably will come out of the game in a lot of pass-rushing situations, and that is the primary reason why Fletcher Cox has moved ahead of him in the defensive tackle rankings.
The consensus opinion is that Brockers is the best run-stuffing defensive tackle in the 2012 NFL Draft class. There is no doubt that he is a force against the ground game. He can stay in a 4-3 while also having ideal length to set the edge and be a five-technique defensive end in a 3-4 defense. Brockers could use some developmental time, so whichever team drafts him should take that into consideration, along with the fan base. He should turn into a good player who has a productive NFL career.
Player Comparison: Marcus Stroud. Coming out of LSU, Brockers' game reminds me of Stroud's. The former Pro Bowler had a 10-year career with some excellent seasons for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Stroud (6-6, 310) was incredibly hard to move at the line of scrimmage and was also a fabulous run defender. He could get some pass rush on occasion, but basically averaged three sacks per season over his 10-year career. I could see Brockers turning into a similar player in the NFL. Stroud was the 13th-overall pick in the 2001 NFL Draft while Brockers is more likely to go a little bit later in the first round.
It would be a shock, but Brockers could go as high as No. 9 to the Panthers. They need a run-stuffing defensive tackle and have had Brockers in for a visit. The Cowboys could look to upgrade their defensive line with Brockers as he could play as a five-technique defensive end.
The Titans could use help on the interior of their line and could consider Brockers with the 20th pick. Denver badly needs help at tackle and Brockers would be a good fit for the Broncos.
There are many other teams that are considering Brockers and he could go to a surprise team in the first round. He is taking more pre-draft visits than any other prospect. Brockers went to see: St. Louis, Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, Miami, Carolina, Seattle, Dallas, Philadelphia, New York Jets, Cincinnati, Tennessee, New England and Washington. Some of these teams could target Brockers if they trade down, while others could move back into the first round to land him.
I don't dislike the Peppers pick for the Dolphins, but if you think he is a safety and not a LB then it won't happen. Jones and Peppers don't make a great coverage combo. The Dolphins are more likely to roll the dice on Nate Allen for the year, who seems a better compliment to Jones than Peppers, who seems a clone. I don't know so much about the guy, but the Dolphins are more likely to go guard or LB than S and most likely to go CB. Well, they will almost assuredly trade down, but that isa different point.