HOUSTON (CBS Houston) – Rookie Brandon Brooks doesn’t seem to fit the mold of the prototypical Texans’ offensive lineman in any of the obvious ways.
At a massive 6-foot-5 and 345 pounds, Brooks just seems out of place in the zone-blocking scheme that favors smaller, quicker offensive linemen. But then you see him move and watch his footwork and suddenly it’s easy to see why the Texans used a third round pick to make the Miami of Ohio standout their right guard of the future.
Brooks may be the biggest player on the Texans roster but he has all the intangibles to be a perfect fit along the offensive line.
“Obviously size and strength jumps at you right now,” Texans coach Gary Kubiak said after the second day of OTAs on Tuesday. “I have to see how it starts to fit together, but he’s a hell of an athlete for 350. That’s a great thing.”
And while Brooks stands out among the Texans offensive line unit, he seems more than confident he will be able fit right in. He worked in some zone blocking schemes at Miami where he was one of the most dominant offensive linemen in the Mid-American Conference.
“I think I can handle the system,” Brooks said. “As far as my body type all I can control is my technique and making sure my footwork is perfect.”
But size seems to be much less a concern for the Texans. They are enamored with his with Brooks’ outstanding athleticism that defies his size.
During his testing prior to April’s NFL Draft, Brooks ran a 4.98 in the 40-yard dash and even more impressive, he a 1.71 in the 10-yard split which a far better barometer of an offensive lineman’s athleticism. Brooks also bench pressed 225 pounds 36 times during his Pro Day in March.
Offensive line coach John Benton has asked Brooks to get down to 330 by training camp, but the veteran coach doesn’t see so sure getting that low is necessary for Brooks to have success.
“The jury is still out on that, but all of his college testing he has the right times and right quickness,” Benton said. “But is there more in that tank if we get a little lighter? We don’t know about that yet.”
What Benton and the rest of the coaching staff does seem sure of is Brooks has been every bit as impressive as they expected since joining the team for workouts a couple weeks ago. He has been a constant in the weight room and in the classroom and in film sessions trying to get a better understanding of the Texans system.
Right now Antoine Caldwell is the leading candidate to replace departed Mike Brisiel at right guard, but the coaching staff isn’t ruling out a chance Brooks could catch him before the season starts. The real test will come when the pads finally come on this summer.
“(Brooks) has got a chance to be a heck of a player,” Kubiak said. “It’s going to be a very good competition. Those things don’t normally sort themselves out until you put the pads on. Right now it’s more finesse and positioning-type stuff.”
Brooks admits to be motivated by the chance to possibly start as a rookie, but he also says that isn’t his focus at this point. Learning and absorbing as much as possible is the main priority.
“I just want to come down here and work,” Brooks said. “As far as being a starter, that’s in the back of my head right now. I just want to make sure I get the scheme and the playbook down and then make sure I am doing everything that the coaches are asking me first.”