Tag Archives: 2020 Senior Bowl

Q&A with Chicago Bears DE Trevis Gipson: “Put in the work”

Tulsa defensive end Trevis Gipson totaled 13 quarterback sacks in college and in 2019 doubled his sack production from four to eight. DraftNasty’s Corey Chavous caught up with Gipson (6’3, 259) during the 2020 Senior Bowl media day to discuss his favorite pass rush moves and the chances of improving his draft stock.

Chavous: You worked so much at the four-technique (DL) and oftentimes you play bigger than your size, what do you feel like this week offers in terms of showing you can be as an edge rusher?
Gipson: I feel like that will show my versatility to scouts and general managers that will be observing our practice. Like you said, I came in sometimes four-I (inside shade of tackle), four (head-up versus offensive tackle) or sometimes even five (outside shoulder of offensive tackle), but just being on that edge showing I can bull rush or speed rush, speed-to-power, just showing a lot of versatility in my pass rush. I feel like that will help my overall draft stock at the end of the day.

Gipson finished his Golden Hurricane career with 25.5 tackles for losses and eight forced fumbles.

Chavous: Some of our notes on you include the right-hand post from the left defensive end spot and then using that same arm to dip and make the 90-degree turn against Cincinnati this year. When you go against bigger tackles, like the guys you’ll face this week, do you feel like your long arms will allow you to get some extension away from these big tackles?
Gipson: I feel like it will. I have certain moves for certain tackles. Taller tackles I like to dip the corner or use my speed because they are longer than me. It all depends on what type of tackle I’m going against and just being able to turn that corner…wearing that down. That will open my opportunities to do the bull rush or power pass rushes overall.

Chavous: Do you think if you show here what you showed against other Power 5 teams that you could move up into the first round discussion?
Gipson: Most definitely, my confidence in myself is out of this roof. I feel like once I show them my pass rush is unstoppable in my opinion then it will help my draft stock. Overall, run-stopping, also, I feel like that will help me. Just dominating in all aspects man, that’s a part of my game plan. Of course everyone wants their draft stock to rise, but you’ve got put in the work to do it. That’s my first milestone and I’ll cross that coming this afternoon (here at the Senior Bowl).

Chavous: You kind of touched upon it, you’re a good run defender. That separates you from potentially some of the other players. Why is it such a commitment to you in terms of holding the point or being able to two-gap?
Gipson: In order to get to third down, you have to stop first and second.

Chavous: Yeah.
Gipson: I feel like I have more fun rushing the passer but I can’t do that unless I stop the run first. Of course delivering big hits….just enjoying the physicality of the game, that’s part of the reason I do it man. I love the game. You can’t take physicality or you can’t take running away from the game. Everybody is gonna run the ball. Some teams more than others…like Navy.

Chavous: Right, right.
Gipson: I didn’t get many pass rushes versus them (Navy).

Chavous: Protect your legs….(laughs).
Gipson: Ah man, I had blood coming down my shins and everything. It was crazy man. But stopping the run is a big part of getting to that third down and that’s what comes first. So I take that more serious.

Chavous: You kind of remind me of those guys who are multi-dimensional, like Za’Darius Smith or Preston Smith, the guys that play up in Green Bay. Guys who can play the run and rush the passer. Who do you pattern your game after at the next level? Maybe a guy where you say that kind of reminds me of myself a little bit. I can work on developing some of what he already has in his arsenal.
Gipson: I like to compare myself to Marcus Davenport (New Orleans Saints), he’s 6-foot-7 (6’6″). But just his story, coming out of UTSA, a small school, he was underlooked.

Chavous: He kind of rose up during this week (Senior Bowl) too, right?
Gibson: Yeah, he did and that’s my plan. Seeing him become the 14th overall pick, it just gave me nothing but hope and pride. I’m going to try and kill this week and show scouts what I can do. Overall, perform at a high level.

Chavous: Thanks a lot man, we enjoyed watching you play. Best of luck.
Gibson: Thanks a lot.

The versatile Terrapin

If it looks like Antoine Brooks, Jr. is anticipating the play before it happens, as if he is a quarterback, it is because he was one.

Brooks, Jr. excelled at Duval High School in Bowie, Maryland, where he was a quarterback and a defensive back. As a quarterback, he took home the Prince George’s Class 4A Offensive Player of the Year in 2015 despite playing in just six games after suffering a broken wrist and leg.

Almost five years later, Brooks, Jr. sees how his experiences in high school have shaped him into a versatile defensive prospect.

“Honestly (playing quarterback) helped me a lot with the transition of being on defense,” Brooks, Jr. said during media day at the Senior Bowl. “Even with being a leader. It just shows I can communicate and get the right play down.”

The three-year starter was asked to digest a bevy of tasks within the team’s system. This allowed him to play a variety of roles from week-to-week.

At the University of Maryland, Brooks, Jr. played nickel back, safety and outside linebacker.

While he is known in College Park for his diving interceptions or hard sideline hits, the cerebral part of the game is not lost on Brooks, Jr.

Unprompted, Brooks, Jr. recalled a moment from this past year’s AFC Championship game when his favorite player to watch, Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu, correctly diagnosed a read-option pass to Titans receiver Corey Davis over the middle of the field.

Mathieu knocked Davis two yards behind the line of scrimmage for a loss but this was after he saw the Patriots run the same play for N’Keal Harry, who broke Mathieu’s tackle and got a first down in the red zone in Week 14 of the regular season.

Mathieu then took to Twitter after the game and said film preparation helped him identify the play and correct his previous error.

“It just shows watching film is so important,” Brooks Jr. said. “Those are the little things that help me succeed.”

His film study made a huge difference for the Terps defense, who used him as a Swiss Army knife.

Brooks, Jr. broke out during his sophomore season when he transitioned from linebacker to defensive back in the offseason.

Brooks earned All-Big Ten honors three times in his career (2017 Honorable mention All-Big Ten, 2018 2nd Team All-Big Ten and 2019 3rd Team All-Big Ten).

In 2017, he had 9.5 tackles for loss, which were the most by a Big Ten defensive back in the regular season. He also led the Terps with 53 solo tackles, while also contributing a quarterback sack and two interceptions.

The success he had as a nickel back hasn’t pigeonholed Brooks, Jr. During interviews with NFL personnel at the 2020 Senior Bowl, he admitted that his preferred position is strong safety.

Like a terrapin, Brooks, Jr. is undersized but can adjust to different surroundings.

“You just have to ask me (where to play),” Brooks, Jr. said of the prospects of being asked to play multiple positions. “I’m going 100 percent and I win most of my battles.”

The numbers at the University of Maryland speak volumes. In his career, Brooks, Jr. had nine pass deflections, four interceptions, 27.5 tackles for loss and three-and-a half quarterback sacks.

Brooks Jr. knows his speed will be a question mark if he is asked to play in the secondary, but he trusts his 40-yard dash time will calm any doubts.

“I’m hoping to run in the low 4.4s,” said Brooks Jr., who ran a 4.5 going into college. Worth noting, he ran a 4.64 at the NFL Scouting Combine in February.

Confidence wasn’t something that was lacking for Brooks, Jr. during Senior Bowl week. The former Terp could be seen on the practice field communicating demonstrably during the on-field drills and asking questions from the Cincinnati Bengals coaches, who led the South roster.

However, the three-time All-Big Ten performer is ready to put the questions and talking aside and get to what really matters.

“I’m just ready to play football,” Brooks, Jr. said.