FOXBORO, Mass. — It’s typically nearly impossible for a rookie wide receiver to adjust to the Patriots’ complex offense. But Kenbrell Thompkins has made it look easy, relatively speaking.
The undrafted rookie out of Cincinnati has 23 catches for 334 yards and four touchdowns. Thompkins has started seven of the eight games he’s played. He leads the team in touchdowns and yards per reception.
Perhaps his most memorable play was a game-winning touchdown catch in Week 6 against the Saints. Tom Brady lofted a pass over the Saints’ defense that Thompkins was able to haul in with perfect field awareness.
We’re halfway through the season, so now is the perfect time to catch up with this year’s rookie crop to see how they’re adjusting to the NFL. Check out what Thompkins had to say below.
Do you look to one player on the team as the “big brother” who you can ask all your questions to?
Kenbrell Thompkins: Big brother? My wideouts. We spend a lot of time with each other each and every day. We’re all even. We’re a crew. So, every time we have a problem or anything like that, I just talk to them boys and we laugh about it and we get advice from each other.
Hardest adjustment you’ve hard to make?
KT: Time management, pretty much. I’m still adjusting each and every day. I’m learning each and every day as the process is going on. I’d definitely have to say time management. You’ve got longer meetings and things like that. Pretty much just using my time wisely.
What’s been the biggest benefit coming from the college level to the pro level?
KT: I played at Cincinnati under head coach Butch Jones. And we kind of had a fast, simple offense, a no-huddle offense. I think that helped me here. Being able to play fast and being able to adjust to any situation. Coach Jones, he pretty much preached mental toughness and having a thick skin. Even when mistakes were being made, it’s just focusing on the next play. I think Butch Jones definitely helped me with that and it’s rolling over to right now.
Going into the ninth week, does the season seem to be going by fast or slow?
KT: Damn, we is at Week 9, huh? Man, to be honest with you, I don’t even know if it’s going by fast or slow. I’m kind of just getting up, coming to work each and every day, spending all my time here and just trying to learn as much as I can. So, [counts on hands] we played 12 games already. If I was in college right, we’d be going to a bowl game right now, getting ready to end the season. But I kind of got here and I pretty much knew it was going to be a grind. They told me even before I got to any NFL team, they were saying it was going to be a long season for us. I’m doing fine. I’m healthy and everything like that. It’s just a grinding period.