His rookie season didn’t begin the way Michael Brockers would have hoped.
The St. Louis Rams first-round draft pick started all four preseason games for the team, but in the preseason finale against the Baltimore Ravens he suffered a high-ankle sprain that kept him out of the team’s first three games of the regular season. The Rams went 1-2 in those games.
Brockers returned to action in week four, a Rams win, and has progressively gotten healthier the further away he gets from the injury. Now in week 12, the starting defensive tackle said his ankle feels “great.”
“They said about eight weeks out you’ll start feeling better, your ankle is going to start feeling better, you’ll start feeling more comfortable, and they were telling the truth,” Brockers said. “I feel more comfortable. I’ve got more trust in my ankle, I’m not babying it as much as I was at first. I’m just letting it all go.”
It has started to show more in recent weeks. After not making much of an impact on the scoresheet – admittedly a tough task for an interior lineman, ankle sprain or otherwise – Brockers showed up in the Oct. 21 loss to the Green Bay Packers. Brockers made four tackles in the game, including his first professional sack.
“I’m glad that I came into a defense that is pretty similar to the one I just left,” Brockers said. “It’s an attack defense, get upfield and cause disruption. That made the transition very easy for me.”
“Every week I feel like I’m learning a new move or I’m getting more comfortable knowing my opponent,” Brockers said. “That’s the biggest thing I can say that really helped me – film study and just knowing my opponent, knowing who I’m going against, knowing what moves work. That’s been helping me out a lot.”
The 21-year old from Houston, Texas, had his best game this year coming off the bye week. In the 24-24 tie with the division-leading San Francisco 49ers, Brockers had 1.5 sacks and was generally a force in the 49ers backfield.
“I bumped my play up a little bit and it showed,” Brockers said. “If I can just keep progressing off that and keep getting better, that’ll make the season go better and help this team out. It’d just be a good thing all the way around.”
Brockers has six more games to make his rookie season a memorable one. At times he’s flashed the kind of ability the Rams believed he had when they traded down to grab him at No. 14 overall. With 2.5 sacks on the year and his injury behind him, Brockers is ready to work hard and continue to cement his place on the defensive line for years to come.
“Every week you need to get better as a professional,” Brockers said. “Especially in this league. And I think that’s what my mindset is, and that’s what I’m prepared to do.”