Gotta give credit to Adam Carlson over at The Viking Age for having this one before I got to it.
By pretty much any measure, the 2016 Draft Class for the Minnesota Vikings was a disappointment. Wide receiver Laquon Treadwell struggled to get on the field, cornerback Mackensie Alexander looked pretty rough before finally going on injured reserve, and most of the rest of the class didn’t contribute very much, either.
One rookie that did make some contributions, however, was linebacker Kentrell Brothers. The fifth-round pick didn’t make a lot of impact on the defensive side of the ball, but according to Pro Football Focus, he did a very good job on special teams.
PFF put together their list of the best special teams players of 2016, and Brothers was the only player in the league to be placed on two different special teams units. He was named to both the punt coverage unit as well as the kickoff return unit.
Brothers didn’t get an opportunity to take the field until Week 8, but once he got active he was highly visible on special teams. For a later-round draft pick like Brothers to make an impression, they generally have to do it on special teams first, and though the coaches didn’t get him out there right away, he showed some outstanding ability when he got his opportunity.
2016 was a rough year for the Vikings’ rookie class. Hopefully Brothers can continue his ascension in 2017, and bring some of the members of his draft class along with him. The Vikings really need some of these young players to step up going forward.