With the NFL season beginning to wind down, we here at the Grill are going to start breaking down the prospects that will be in this year’s NFL draft. For more information on how are grading works, please visit the prospects Page linked here. This will be one of many scouting reports to come. We will begin by profiling the major prospects in the draft and over time we will expand to cover some small school prospects and hopefully, come draft time, we will have about 100 profiles on prospects.
Name: Eric Kendricks
Position: 4-3 Inside Linebacker, 3-4 Inside Linebacker
Weight: 230 Pounds
Class: Redshirt Senior
2015 Stats: 145 Tackles, 11.5 Tackles for Loss, 4 Sacks, 3 Interceptions (1 TD), 2 Pass Breakups, 1 Forced Fumble,
After the jump you will get a breakdown of Eric Kendricks’ pro’s and con’s as well as our grade for Kendricks.
Pros: Kendricks in as incredibly instinctive football player who comes from a great family. He is hard working and a very good athlete. He rarely misses tackles and does a good job filling in holes. His athleticism and instincts allow him to thrive in man coverage. Has great quickness, agility, and technique. Has a good set of pass rushing moves although he rarely blitzed. Takes very good angles to the football and is great in pursuit
Cons: Does not do a very good job shedding blockers both due to lack of strength and poor hand placement. Must improve his overall strength to reduce the amount of times running backs can shed his tackles due to lack of strength. Sometimes plays too aggressively and either over pursues or just reads the wrong hole. Kendricks has struggled at times in zone coverage even though he has all the tools to thrive in this setting.
Our Take: Kendricks is a good linebacker prospect but needs to improve in pass coverage to become a true three down linebacker. While he has great instincts which allow him to always be around the ball, he could also use some additional strength to help with shedding blockers. He should be a good fit in a 3-4 system where he won’t be required to play the pass as much.
Final Grade: 89 Out of 100
While a lot of Mock Drafts have Kendricks in the first round, I believe that is more due to a lack of depth at inside linebacker in this year’s class. He is not in the same class as Miami’s Denzel Perryman and while he could go late in the first round, I believe he is much better value in the second round somewhere. His lack of ability to play zone coverage will hurt him and in the NFL, his over-pursuit will be used against him moreso than it was in college.
Possible Draft Spots: There are many teams drafting late in the first round who could use a linebacker and that is one of the reasons I could see Kendricks being over-drafted and sneaking into the first round. Some of the teams who are in desperate need of linebacker help are the Bengals at 21, Cardinals at 24, Cowboys at 27, Broncos at 28, Colts at 29, and Packers at 30. If Kendricks falls to the second round, some teams I could see taking a shot on him are the Raiders, Redskins, Bears, Falcons, and Giants, all of whom pick early in the second round.
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