This won’t come as a shock to anyone who paid attention to Missouri’s football season, but ESPN NFL Draft analyst Todd McShay believes senior linebacker Kentrell Brothers’ stock soared, thanks to a monster season.
Brothers, a first-team All-SEC performer and consensus second-team All-American, led the nation with 152 tackles. He also recorded 12 tackles for a loss with 2 1/2 sacks, two interceptions, three pass breakups, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and three blocked kicks.
“Brothers obviously had a very good year,” McShay said during a conference call. “He’s got solid size. He ran a 4.82 (40-yard dash) last spring, according to what I have with scouts. ... I think he improved his value, if you will. The year that he had will probably get him drafted on day three, somewhere in that range.”
Some draft evaluators are much higher on Brothers — a 6-foot-1, 235-pound Guthrie, Okla., native. He’s rated as the No. 2 overall inside linebacker in the 2016 draft class behind only Alabama’s Reggie Ragland by CBS Sports, which projects him as a second-round pick.
Walter Football pegs Brothers as the No. 5 inside linebacker behind Notre Dame’s Jaylon Smith, Ragland, Arizona’s Scooby Wright III and Florida’s Jarrad Davis.
Brothers’ on-field IQ and nose for the football are a big reason for his rising draft stock.
“With another year of experience, the instincts and recognition skills, you saw him really start to improve from a year ago and get to the ball quicker and make more plays,” McShay said.
Brothers isn’t the only Missouri player with a draftable grade.
Center Evan Boehm (6-3, 320), a Lee’s Summit West graduate, is rated by CBS Sports as the No. 5 center prospect with a fifth-round grade.
He suffered a sprained ankle in the Tigers’ opener against Southeast Missouri and was limited for basically two months but never missed a game.
McShay doesn’t believe the injury will hurt Boehm’s draft status.
“Scouts find out and they’re able to figure out what the injury was and link it to the games,” McShay said. “Usually, you see improvement throughout the year. … The only thing it does is it takes away an opportunity to put your best tape out there, but NFL scouts going to do there due diligence.”
If anything, Boehm’s grit in playing through the injury might be viewed favorably at the next level.
“They’ll figure out when he was injured, when he was 100 percent and put more stock in what they saw from him when he was 100 percent,” McShay said. “They also put some stock in the toughness he showed when he played hurt.”
Senior left tackle Connor McGovern (6-4, 300) likely will move back to guard in the NFL and is projected as a sixth-round pick, according to CBS Sports. He the No. 12 overall guard, but could wow at the NFL Combine with his strength and athleticism.
Boehm, Brothers and McGovern each has accepted an invitation to play in the Reese’s Senior Bowl on Jan. 30 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala.
“Brothers probably help himself the most, in terms of the senior guys,” McShay said.