As the 2020 NFL Draft has concluded, two former Texas Tech football players received selection, allowing them to continue their careers professionally. Following the draft, another Red Raider earned a shot at the NFL as he was signed as an undrafted free agent.
Linebacker Jordyn Brooks was selected in the first round of the draft with the 27th overall pick by the Seattle Seahawks while defensive tackle Broderick Washington Jr. was taken in the fifth round with the 170th overall pick by the Baltimore Ravens. Both Brooks and Washington played pivotal roles for Tech’s defense both on and off the field with their veteran leadership.
With Brooks’ selection with the 27th overall pick, it marked the first time a defensive player from Tech has been drafted in the first round since Gabe Rivera in 1983. Following Brooks’ name being called on the opening day of the draft, Washington was taken off the board in the final day of the draft. With Washington also playing for Tech’s defense, it marked the first time since 2009 that two defensive players from Tech were selected in the same NFL Draft.
After spending four seasons at Tech, Brooks recorded 367 total tackles, 220 solo tackles, 33 tackles for loss, nine pass deflections, seven sacks, three fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles, and two interceptions. With his days as a Red Raider came to an end, his name will forever be remembered at Tech as his 367 career tackles ranked him seventh in program history.
Of his four seasons representing the scarlet and black, Brooks’ most memorable season was his senior season with the help of a new defensive scheme brought by defensive coordinator Keith Patterson. Brooks recorded a career-high 108 total tackles, 66 solo tackles, 20 tackles for loss and two fumble recoveries. He also matched his career-high with three sacks and a single forced fumble. Along with leading the team in several defensive categories, Brooks was one of five seniors to be named a team captain last season for his leadership qualities.
His impressive senior campaign was noticed nationally as he was named an All-American by the Associated Press, the Walter Camp Foundation, the Football Writers Association of America, the American Football Coaches Association, The Athletic and Pro Football Focus. He was also named a finalist for the Butkus Award, an award given to the nation’s top linebacker, as well as a being a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award, an award presented to the nation’s top defensive player.
Just like Brooks, Washington was a defensive leader for the Red Raiders his senior season. In his final year with Tech, Washington recorded 39 total tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, two pass deflections and a fumble recovery. Aside from his statistics, Washington was one of five seniors to be named a team captain last season, making it his second consecutive season tabbed to the council.
In his time at Tech, Washington recorded 138 total tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and two pass deflections. Washington was one of Tech’s veteran defensive lineman as he started in every game after his redshirt freshman season, totaling 37 starts in 37 games. Despite only earning one start his redshirt freshman season, Washington played in all 12 games.
As the final picks of the 2020 NFL Draft were announced, Brooks and Washington were the only Red Raiders to hear their names get called in the virtual draft. Despite not getting drafted, offensive tackle Terence Steele was given the opportunity to take on the NFL as the Dallas Cowboys signed him as an undrafted free agent.
Steele was just as experienced on the offensive line as Washington was on the defensive line. In his collegiate career, Steele started in all 47 of his games played as a Red Raider. Along with his experience, Steele was one of 15 members of the captain's circle, serving as a team captain for the second year in a row.
Last season, Steele helped the offensive line give up just 18 sacks in 531 pass attempts, ending the season ranking in the top-25 nationally in fewest sacks. Steele’s contributions in protecting the quarterback helped the Red Raiders rank in the top-five in pass attempts. This was not new to Steele though as he helped Tech rank fourth in the conference in sacks allowed per game (2.08) in 2018 while the Red Raiders attempted 535 passes. Steele and the offensive line protected the most pass attempts in the Big 12 as the Red Raiders ranked sixth nationally in pass attempts.
Along with Steele, fellow offensive lineman Travis Bruffy was given a shot at the NFL despite doing undrafted. Shortly after Steele was signed by the Cowboys, the Green Bay Packers signed Bruffy as an undrafted free agent. Just like the other three Red Raiders who are set to take on the NFL, Bruffy was a team captain for the Red Raiders last season, marking his second consecutive season with the leadership role.
Bruffy played alongside Steele from 2016 to 2019, helping make the offensive line as dominant as it was. In his four seasons as a Red Raider, Bruffy appeared in 46 total games, earning a start in 34 of those games. Bruffy’s freshman season was the only time he did not record a start despite playing in 12 games. Ever since the start of the 2017 season, Bruffy started in every game he played in.
As Brooks, Washington, Steele and Bruffy will play on different teams after spending at least four seasons with each other, the former Red Raiders will look to make an impact for their respective professional teams next season. The NFL has not yet announced the dates and times for the games set this season.