California linebacker Mychal Kendricks proves that big things come in small packages, as the thumping inside linebacker has steadily moved up boards before the 2012 NFL Draft.
He finished the 2011 season with 106 tackles and three sacks. The senior also added four career interceptions, two fumble recoveries and one forced.
Size is just a number
- Active roamer with a high motor
- Football intelligence - takes proper angles to the ball and reacts quickly after diagnosing a play
- Productive - five games in 2011 with at least 10 tackles, including 15 in a loss to Washington
- Experienced - played in every game possible (51) and started 29 times
- Raw athleticism - a natural, fluid mover in coverage with tremendous workout measurables
- Positional and schematic versatility
- Respectable tackling ability
- Good initial burst - fills the hole quickly
- Fastest timed linebacker at the Scouting Combine in the 40-yard dash (4.47 seconds)
- Well-rounded - not exceptional at any one thing but plays very effectively against both the run and pass
- Particularly undersized (5-foot-11 1/8, 239 pounds) - doesn't appear to have room to add bulk without losing speed or compromising his athleticism
- Doesn't pass rush all that well and lacks a repertoire of moves
- Overwhelmed and engulfed by large blockers at the point of attack
- Overly aggressive - not as instinctual as you would like to see from an undersized 'backer
- Durability concerns (banged up with thumb and shoulder injuries in 2011)
- Suspended twice for violating team rules
Expected draft placement
Kendricks has climbed into the late second-round discussion, but he is more of a third-round grade because of his size and intangible concerns. It is unlikely that Kendricks slips into the fourth round, but he shouldn't fall any farther if he does.
The Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers, San Diego Chargers, New York Jets, Indianapolis Colts and Dallas Cowboys could all show interest in him.
About Cory J. Bonini
Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.
Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.
Don't miss these great reports....