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There is a lot of family tradition in the NFL.  Look at the Mannings (Archie, Peyton, and Eli), the Lucks (Oliver and Andrew), and now come the Kendricks (Mychal and Eric)?  While his brother, erickMychal, is a solid linebacker, can Eric hang?  I reviewed four of his games against Virginia, USC, Texas, and Stanford to get a better idea of what he brings to the next level.

LB Eric Kendricks, UCLA 6’ 0” 232 lbs.

Cons: The first thing that jumped out to me on film was that he plays with more finesse than power.  He needs to get better at delivering hits instead of absorbing them.  Sometimes when pursuing a ball carrier down the field, Kendricks takes some bad angles that allow blockers to take him out of the play.  This also carries over to when the linebacker focuses too much on the quarterback’s eyes when he is back in pass coverage and scrapes off other defenders.  He does not match up as well against tight ends and wide outs as he does against running backs.  Kendricks is a bit lite for his position and might only be able to play a weak side backer in a 3-4 or a middle linebacker in a 4-3. 

Pros: Kendricks is a high energy sideline to sideline defender who is very instinctive and has good lateral agility.  He sinks his hips well and uses a strong punch to separate himself from blockers, and is a solid tackler.  The former Bruin identifies the play quickly, changes directions with ease, sometimes with a spin move. There were a few times that he would get knocked to the ground, but Kendricks would bounce back up quickly to make the tackle.

While he played the majority of the time on the inside, the backer would occasionally fan outside to matchup against slot receivers and tight ends. He drops back smoothly into coverage, looking very natural.  There is some aggression to his game when he tries to rip the pigskin out of the ball carriers hands or steps in front of a pass taking it to the house.  As a pass rusher, Kendricks walks up to the line of scrimmage and slices thru the middle of the offensive line, getting good pressure on the quarterback, forcing a quick throw.  He has great balance and never gives up on a play.

Overall thoughts: This is a highly athletic defender looks like his class’ best 2015 inside backer.  I would select him as one of the first linebackers in tackle heavy scoring leagues, but would wait awhile on him in sack-heavy scoring.

 

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