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Home / Draft / 2016 IDP DRAFT PREVIEW: Kentrell Brothers, ILB, Missouri

2016 IDP DRAFT PREVIEW: Kentrell Brothers, ILB, Missouri

In most IDP leagues, the kings of the hill are “tackle vacuum” linebackers–players who will rack up stops (and consistent fantasy production) week in and week out. And over the past two seasons in college football, no player has done a better job of that than Missouri linebacker Kentrell Brothers.

The 6’0″, 245-pound Brothers, who led the NCAA in tackles with 152 in 2015, has tallied an eye-popping 274 stops over his past two years with the Tigers. Brothers drew comparisons to D’Qwell Jackson of the Indianapolis Colts (who led the NFL in tackles in 2015) from Dane Brugler of CBS Sports.

“Similar to Jackson,” Brugler said, “Brothers is an average athlete, but his tackling abilities will trump scheme in the NFL, projecting best inside in a 3-4 base or strong side in a 4-3 formation.”

However, while Brugler may have seen average athleticism while watching Brothers on tape, the same cannot be said for his instincts and ability to flow to the ball. “Brothers plays with above average recognition skills and anticipation to beat blockers to the contact point,” Brugler said, “but for his high tackle production, he also misses several tackles due to his lack of ideal speed and length. However, he’s able to compensate for his average athleticism due to his competitive nature and superb instincts.”

It was a similar refrain (superior instincts, inferior athleticism) from Lance Zierlein of NFL.com, who compared Brothers to Paul Dawson on TCU, another young linebacker who was wildly productive in college.

“Really fun to watch on tape with many of the same play traits that made TCU’’s Paul Dawson so productive (in college),” Zierlein wrote. “Brothers is a decisive, rhythm linebacker whose understanding of space and ability to improve his tackle positioning at the point of attack should make him a consistently productive inside linebacker in the pros. While Brothers will lack the speed and overall athleticism that some teams covet, it would be a huge mistake to value athleticism over instincts and production when evaluating Brothers.”

As Brugler reported, Brothers didn’t do himself any favors at the Scouting Combine either. “Brothers’ lack of speed was on display at Lucas Oil stadium,” Brugler said, “posting a 4.89 in the 40-yard dash. He also finished near the bottom of the list for linebackers in the vertical (28.5″) and broad jump (110″).”

“However,” Brugler continued, “he finished second among linebackers in the 20-yard shuttle (4.11) and was one of only three linebackers to record a sub-7.00 three-cone drill with a 6.99 time.”

A perceived lack of elite athleticism isn’t the only knock on Brothers. He wasn’t asked to do much in coverage with the Tigers, playing mainly in simple zone coverages–a fact Brothers freely admitted to Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star.

“I think coverage is one of my weaknesses, it’s something I need to work on,” Brothers said. “I don’t think I’m horrible, but there’s a lot of places I can improve, and I’ve been doing that since I’ve been training.”

At day’s end, there’s quite a bit to like about Brothers–enough that he probably won’t make it out of the draft’s second day and may not last past the draft’s second round. But there are also a number of IDP red flags. The limited athleticism. The comparisons to Dawson, who lit it up at TCU but has been a ghost in Cincinnati. And most especially, the sort of coverage liabilities that make a three-down role in the short-term, at the NFL level, highly unlikely.
Add them all up, and while it’s possible that Brothers will make an early NFL impact, it’s unlikely barring a perfect-case landing spot (and possibly an injury or two) that the youngster will make enough IDP hay in 2016 to merit a look on draft day in all but the deepest IDP dynasties.

About Gary Davenport

A member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and Pro Football Writers of America who resides in Columbus, Ohio, Gary has been featured on a number of fantasy websites and in nationally circulated publications. These publications include the USA Today Fantasy Football Preview and the magazines distributed by Fantasy Sports Publications Inc., for whom Gary is a both a contributing author and associate editor. Gary is an eight-time FSWA Award finalist and two-time winner who has been a finalist for that organization's Fantasy Football Writer of the Year award each of the last three years. He won the honor in 2017. Gary also appears regularly on Sirius XM Radio (including live from Radio Row at Super Bowl XLIX) and over-the-air stations across the country. Gary was one of the co-founders of, and Head Writer at, Fantasy Football Oasis before joining Fantasy Sharks as an IDP Senior Staff Writer in 2011. He knows football. Or so he's heard.