Thursday, September 5, 2013
A deeper look at Thompkins
By Tom Carpenter
Rookie Kenbrell Thompkins is slated to start at WR for the New England Patriots when they face the Buffalo Bills in their season opener. It's a pretty stunning accomplishment for a kid who slid under the radar like a mole slides under radar. Thompkins' stats in his two seasons at Cincinnati hardly raised an eyebrow: 44 catches for 536 yards and 2 TDs in '11, 34 catches for 541 yards and 2 TDs in '12. Not surprisingly, he went undrafted before the Pats brought him in as a free agent.
What can we expect from him as a rookie in the complicated offensive system used by the Pats? ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss and Field Yates took a stab at projecting Thompkins' stats on Wednesday. Both projected the WR to catch 51 passes. Reiss gave him 650 yards and 5 TDs, while Yates pegged him for 606 yards and 4 TDs. Those aren't exactly mouthwatering numbers for fantasy owners, but considering his quick rise, reaching those levels would be an impressive feat.
Of course, if he can mature quickly in this offense, there is more room for upside. Here is what ESPN's Todd McShay had to say recently about what he saw in Thompkins on tape from last season:
Todd McShayNickel Package: Moving into the spotlight
"I remember not having much information on Thompkins at the time, but he jumped out on tape when I was studying Cincinnati TE Travis Kelce versus Virginia Tech. I added Thompkins to my list of players to watch for March and wound up giving him a sixth-round grade (42). Thompkins has adequate to good height and is a fluid athlete. He shows some craftiness as a route-runner and can drop his weight quickly, which helps him separate from man-to-man coverage. When studying his tape, his ball skills were his top attribute."