In my first mock draft of the draft season, I had Eric Kendricks going to the New York Giants. It seems only fitting that my next draft profile should be of Kendricks.
Kendricks is a great athlete. At 6’1″ and 230 pounds, he is quicker than he is big. He does have great strength which should show later in the combine. This season Kendricks had 10 tackles or more in 10 of 13 games for the UCLA Bruins. Against Virgina, he had an amazing 17 tackles performance and also had 16 total tackles against Colorado. Kendricks finds the ball carrier and he hammers him down to the ground.
Sep 13, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; UCLA Bruins linebacker Eric Kendricks (6) in action against the Texas Longhorns at AT&T Stadium. The Bruins beat the Longhorns 20-17. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
He fits the 4-3 Sam (strong side linebacker) role perfectly which means he has to intrigue the GMEN. He is a great run defender. He needs work on his pass rushing skills if he is going to play in the 3-4 defense.
Kendricks is also phenomenal defender in zone coverage and can match up against running backs and tight ends better than most linebacker prospects. He had 3 interceptions this season, one of which he scored a touchdown on.
He is the prototypical Sam linebacker in the 4-3 defense. He would be a welcome addition. The Giants would start Devon Kennard on the opposite side and Jon Beason would be the Mike linebacker in the middle. It would suddenly be a solid linebacker group if Beason can stay healthy.
There is no doubt that the Giants have Kendricks on their radar. He is a good talent who made a first round name for himself with his college career.