“I wasn’t worried,” Brothers said Wednesday at the conclusion of Mizzou’s annual Pro Day. “I was more stressed than anything. Running a slow 40, one of the slowest at the Combine, is not something that you are happy about. Not jumping 30 (inches in the vertical leap) is not something you are happy about. I was kind of stressed about it. But I came here and had Coach (Erich) Anthony up there with the strength staff help me out with a lot of things and he did a great job of helping me improve.”
The 6-foot, 244-pound tackling machine said he felt like he had a good day on Wednesday after improving on his 40-yard dash time and his vertical leap numbers from February’s NFL Combine.
“I knew for a fact vertical and my 40 I could improve on,” Brothers said. “Broad jump I wasn’t really sure so I didn’t do it. Then bench I thought I’d give it a try and it was the same. I improved on a couple of things, so that’s good.”
Brothers’ marks at the Combine in late February in Indianapolis included a vertical leap of 28.5 inches and a 4.89 second 40-yard dash.
On Thursday, on his home turf, Brothers recorded 31.5 inch vertical leap and a 4.73 second 40-yard dash.
What 40 time was Brothers aiming for?
“Anything faster than what I ran at the Combine,” he said. “I’m a lot happier with what I ran.”
Brothers said he wasn’t really sure what went wrong in Indianapolis. He attributed his performance, somewhat, to nervousness and also to rushing through the testing periods.
“Nerves weren’t like a huge factor, but I know when I got to bench press like on the first rep I dropped the weight on my chest because I was like so nervous — like I forgot how to bench,” he said. “On the 40 I used like no techniques that I had learned. On the broad and the vert I had used none of the techniques that I had learned. So it was like I was rushing into things trying to get them over with. I made sure to take my time on everything else today.”
Brothers’ performance on Wednesday was good enough to put his mind at ease and put his struggles at the Combine in the rear-view mirror.
The coaches and scouts turned out in Columbia — there were 32 representatives from more than 20 NFL teams in attendance — and the linebacker felt good about how he did in front of them.
“A lot of people they know I’m good against the run,” Brothers said. “They just wanted to see if I could get out and cover today, open my hips, catch the ball, make some good breaks, stuff like that, get in and out of my breaks. I heard some good feedback from them all. They are really more concerned about my 40. I think I gave them less to worry about.”
Brothers said he met with the Cleveland Browns before Wednesday’s Pro Day and had more meetings with teams afterward, though the wasn’t sure who was on the schedule.
Between his week at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., and his time at the Combine, he had estimated that he met with every team in some form, either formally or informally, at some point.
Brothers has been projected as a second, third or fourth-round pick by some NFL Draft media analysts, but he said he’s not concerned with where he gets selected.
“Really, my film and my work ethic and my drills are going to determine if I can get drafted high or not,” he said. “I don’t care where I get drafted. I just want to play.”
A majority of the teams Brothers has talked to have said he would likely play an inside linebacker spot at the next level, because of his success against the run, but he wouldn’t mind playing anywhere. He thinks he can be a three-down linebacker in the pros because of what he was asked to do and able to do with the Tigers — work in coverage, stop the run, get the defense ready, etc.
“I’m a student of the game,” Brothers said. “I think that’s what sets me apart from a lot of people. That’s a lot of the reason why I move so fast — I know what’s coming, I know where to be, stuff like that. That quickness, that ability to know these things, tackling, those are huge strengths of mine. I think that will get me on a team.”
His performance on Wednesday at Pro Day should help his case, too.