Curtis Brooks

  • IDL Bearcats
  • Graduate
  • #--
  • 6'2"
  • 285lbs
  • Prospect
  • American Athletic

Prospect Summary

Cincinnati defensive lineman Curtis Brooks has more than 60 games worth of college experience. His game revolves around combining quickness, a hot motor, and power. The super senior had his best season in 2021 with 7.5 sacks. He moves all around the Bearcats defensive line, displaying his versatility. He was able to find success and flash his potential while playing out of position more than you’d like to see. In their 3-3-5 defensive scheme, Brooks will align as the 1 or 0-technique with dual-gap responsibilities. This is not a proper way to use a player with Brooks’ skills—he projects more as a 3, 4i, or 5-technique. He is better as a single-gap penetrator. This allows him to attack a single offensive lineman’s leverage and fit the run in one gap. He shoots strong hands to deliver knock-back power to offensive linemen on passing downs, creating a good surge from the interior to collapse the pocket. On the edges, his hand placement and counters need improvement. Keep him away from double teams inside as a nose tackle and his chances for success rise.

Ideal Role: 3, 4i, or 5-technique

Scheme Fit: Multiple fronts


Written by Damian Parson

Games watched: Houston (2021), SMU (2021), UCF (2020), Alabama (2021)

Best Game Studied: Houston (2021)

Worst Game Studied: Alabama (2021)

First Step Explosiveness: Possesses a solid first step off the ball. He generates enough power to create a vertical push and enter the blocker’s space. He does not possess a twitchy or explosive get-off to quickly threaten OL on a consistent basis. 

Flexibility: Brooks has solid ankle flexion to plant and attack separate gaps. He can step across the blocker’s face to generate pressure. As an edge rusher, his inability to bend on an outside path limits his effectiveness and overall usage. 

Hand Counters: When watching Brooks, I liked his overall hand move set. There was growth from 2020 to 2021. His best reps are on the interior defensive line. He uses a strong cross chop/swim combination to gain inside leverage in rush situations. His hand placement on the edges needs work. Since he does not offer a viable outside threat to OTs, proper hand quickness and placement are needed to win inside when they are protecting it. 

Hand Power: Brooks strikes with powerful and heavy hands. He will uproot an OL quickly after landing and driving. He drives OL into the backfield with strong punches. This hand power shows up when he grips and sheds his man. His push/pull maneuver is an example of his grip and snatching ability. 

Run Defending: Brooks is fun to watch as an edge setter versus the run. He displays power to control his guy with full extension and locking out. Quick and powerful hands allow him to get underneath the OL’s pads, extend, and locate the football. He keeps his outside arm free in case the RB bounces outside in his direction. Flashes in the intended gap to persuade the RB to pick another lane. 

Effort (Motor): Brooks is a maximum effort/energy defender. No matter the leverage, he relentlessly works through solo and duo block attempts. If his first move is unsuccessful, he shifts gears to attack his opponent and create a vertical push. An infectious worker, he chases the ball down from anywhere on the field. 

Football IQ: Brooks is reliable and effective on DL twists and stunts. Aligned at end, he will earhole the guard and crash into the center to free up his DT as the looper. His knowledge of leveraging is impressive, especially in the run game, consistently lifting and maintaining his ground to play the ball when it is present. Snap timing needs improvement. There are times when he is late off the ball and it almost neutralizes his ability to rush and impact the play. 

Lateral Mobility: Watching Brooks, I am confident that he can handle zone blocking concepts. His solid quickness, powerful hands, and ability to move laterally while engaged helps. He can defeat some reach and cut-off blocks as a result. Keeping his upper body free, he is able to track the football down the line of scrimmage. 

Core/Functional Strength: For a sub-300 pound DL, Brooks packs power in his frame. From top to bottom, he can drop his butt and perform as a rock against the run. His rush sets showcase impressive upper-body/core strength to attack double teams and generate a vertical push. 

Versatility: Brooks aligns in multiple areas for the Bearcats defense. I have counted reps at the 0, 3i, 4i, 4, and 5-techniques. He projects best as a 3 or 4-technique to play the run and rush opposing quarterbacks. He does not hold up as well at the 0-technique with duo blocks in the run game. His knowledge of different DL positions will give a defensive coordinator a flexible player to build into the game plan. 


TDN Consensus: 67.67/100 (Seventh Round Value)