The Eastern Kentucky pass rusher, whose career has overcome a ban from the Big Ten Conference for failed drug tests, still has to convince NFL clubs that the troubles that got him dismissed at Ohio State are permanently behind him. But in terms of physical skills, Brooks likened Spence to the premier pass rusher in Super Bowl 50 -- Denver's Von Miller -- on the Move The Sticks podcast Tuesday.
"His ability to rush the passer, first-step quickness, dip and rip, the bend and balance that you see him turn the corner with, to me reminded me of the same thing I saw from Von Miller when he was at the Senior Bowl years ago," Brooks said. "We all know pass rushers are coveted at a premium. If he interviews well at the combine and going forward in his private workouts when he makes team visits, I believe at the end of the day, he's going to be in the conversation for the top 15 (picks)."
After being banned from the Big Ten, Spence salvaged his football career with one season at EKU, making 11.5 sacks for the Colonels in 2015 before deciding to enter the draft as an underclassman. He followed that with an outstanding practice week at the Senior Bowl, and delivered a sack in the game as well.
Added Brooks: "Everyone wants a closer. A guy who can close out the game (with a sack) when you have a lead. Noah Spence is the best closer in the draft."
Spence's next chance to impress NFL coaches and personnel executives -- more importantly in interviews than in physical testing -- will come in three weeks at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.