After leading the nation in both tackles and tackles per game, Kentrell Brothers surely looks poised to continue the lineage of Missouri defensive first-rounders. This is something that has to be true, because we live in a world where everyone gets exactly what they deserve.
Your top three buzzwords to look out for (DO NOT take a drink every time you hear them in reference to Brothers. Please. You will require medical attention afterwards):
He may not have the size or the speed that NFL scouts covet, but what Brothers lacks on those categories he more than makes up for in his ability to diagnose and finish plays. The results are there. Consistently. He's also shown an innate ability to make good things happen with it matters most. Last season, he blocked three kicks and recorded two interceptions. If there's a football to be found within a five-mile radius, you can bet that Kentrell can not only smell it, but can tell you its exact position and give you a startlingly accurate PSI estimate. He may not warrant a first-round pick, but I wouldn't be surprised at all to see a team fall in love with the linebacker enough to grab him on day two.
Few players have shown more aptitude for reading and acting on keys than Brothers. His instincts are immaculate, and they allow him to quickly diagnose plays. Once he's heading for the ball, it's incredibly difficult to stop him. He's proved to be quite slippery. Blockers who have a clear angle on Brothers often find themselves grasping at air. He rarely misses tackles, too. Those large hands of his morph into clamps, which he uses to great effect.
In pass protection, Brothers is equally reliable. Though he may struggle with man coverage, he has a proven track record of knowing where to best position himself to make a play. The two interceptions - in addition to three pass break-ups - are evidence of that.
Kentrell's body has been eloquently described as "stubby" by scouts, and though it sounds a bit demeaning, it's a reluctantly apt description. His arms aren't quite as long as you would like, which is compounded by the fact that he's shorter than the average NFL linebacker. The lack of speed is also a concern. In college, he was able to overcome that with his superior instincts and vision. That won't be an option at the next level. This also makes him a liability in man coverage situations.
Most of the projections that I've seen have Brothers going in the fourth or fifth round, but I'm a bit more bullish on him. Maybe I'm just a homer, but I keep hearing Kentrell's name mentioned when scouts are asked to name an underrated player. When round three rolls around, I'm fairly certain at least one team will look at the numbers and pull the trigger. Honestly, I wouldn't be terribly surprised if he even snuck into the late second round.
He's a warrior, after all.