NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Benardrick McKinney, ILB Mississipi State

Green Bay Packers NFL Draft prospect profile: ILB Benardrick McKinney

Player Information:

Benardrick McKinney, ILB, Mississippi State
6-4, 246 pounds
Hometown: Tunica, MS


NFL Combine:

40 yard: 4.66

Bench: 16

Vert: 40.5″

Broad: 121″

3 cone: 7.21

Shuttle: 4.27

News and Notes:

A potential 1st round pick when the NFL draft hype really got started, McKinney has seem some of his sizzle fizzle somewhat in the meanwhile as teams and media types alike try to figure out something to really sell him as.  While he possess great size, versatility and good production in college, McKinney might harken back to the older days where linebackers were thumpers and didn’t have much responsibility in the passing game.  However if a team is looking to shore up its run defense and field a big, physical and technically sound linebacker on 1st and 2nd down, then McKinney is your guy

 What they’re saying about him:

  • “McKinney possesses remarkable size, explosiveness and general athleticism. There are concerns about McKinney’s awareness, especially in coverage. He’s athletic enough to project to any linebacker role but may never become a star.”
  • “Productive, steady performer in the middle with above-average size and length for the position but below-average agility. McKinney plays within the scheme and finds himself near the play frequently. He plays with strength and has an ability to take on offensive linemen and get downhill to finish his tackles. McKinney looks like an above-average NFL inside linebacker who could become part of a really good defense. He lacks star-making talent, though.”


Video Analysis:

  • While not spectacular, is a good all around player.  There isn’t any real “wow” factor but plays with good awareness and is around the play more often than not.
  • Pass coverage has something left to be desired, isn’t really fluid or sudden enough to really cover quicker receivers but does have the size to match up well against some of the leagues bigger tight ends.
  • Very good tackler and makes good use of his impressive size.
  • Has the capability of rushing the quarterback as he played outside linebacker.
  • Has great versatility, for instance the Packers could replace Hawk as the blocker at inside linebacker and could also replace Mike Neal/Nick Perry as the run outside linebacker.

If drafted by the Packers

To be honest, I’m not sure Packers fans could handle Ted Thompson drafting McKinney; the player he reminds me most of is AJ Hawk in the sense that he a great athlete but only a decent linebacker who will likely have a long career in the NFL due to his stability but lacks any real calling card and is definitely a liability in pass coverage.  You could do a lot worse with Hawk/McKinney but you could also do a lot better.  Simply put that’s not exactly the type of player you want to draft in the first 2 rounds, where every team should be shooting for a difference maker.  If McKinney were to fall to the 3rd or 4th round then I would have no problem with the Packers taking him.


Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s


29 thoughts on “NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Benardrick McKinney, ILB Mississipi State

  1. Kendricks or Anthony in the first round and McKinney in the fourth sounds about right to me.

    1. I wouldn’t mind the Packers taking two inside linebackers when all is said and done; while it might be a little too much devoted in one position, its not like the team is bereft of talent.

  2. Yep, just what we don’t need, another A.J. Hawk clone. Pass. I think when it all shakes out Carl Bradford will be your guy at middle linebacker.

    1. If we have to rely on a LB that didn’t play a down yet ,then we are in deep trouble. I would prefer a cheap veteran presence, Spikes. Also, throw in Fairly for the end postion . Both players have a nasty edge which our defense could use.

      1. Donny, I know you would prefer that. As would a zillion others. Why do people constantly forget how this team operates and why it’s been so successful. DRAFT AND DEVELOP!! That’s the name of the game and nobody does it better than Ted.

        Ted kept Bradford on for a reason. He drafted him and now he’s developing him to play inside linebacker. He’s had a ton of reps both physical and especially mental. Never underestimate the power of mental reps and a player coming into his 2nd season. All Bradford has to do is play which we know he can do. I don’t think the Packers are going to get anyone better than Bradford in this draft unless they move up and TT rarely does that.

        As far as having to rely on a lb who didn’t play a down yet. The Packers do that every single year. Two years ago they relied on Eddie Lacy. Last year they relied on Micah Hyde and HaHa who both never played a down at safety and even Richard Rodgers and Corey Linsley. I see no reason to fear putting in Carl Bradford at inside linebacker simply because he got hurt last year. Draft and develop Donnie, draft and develop.

        1. Thompson kept Bradford on the team because he invested a 4th round pick on him and wasn’t going to give up on an investment that quickly. Whether or not Thompson actually made the correct choice in drafting Bradford has yet to be seen. I will also say some players do get better with time on the bench (see Aaron Rodgers) while some never get there no matter how much time a team puts into them (see Brandon Bostick). Sometimes players simply aren’t able to transition to the pro game.

          1. He has given up on 4th rounders in the first year. I believe Cory Rodgers was a 4th. Ricky Elmore was a 5th. Bradford is a clear case of draft and develop. There simply was a glut at OLB and they switched him to ILB which he did play in college but not as much so they can develop him more slowly. He has a bright future if he stays healthy.

            1. I’m not so sure…if he was a sure thing, he might have been active on Sundays. I think he gets a chance at that spot. Hopefully he makes good on it…for his sake and for the Packers.

              Rumor has it he doesn’t show well in practice and that hurt his prospects for suiting up on Sundays.

        2. I agree with you, Ted. Remember, it wasn’t until late in his second year with the Pack that Barrington showed that he could start as an ILB. Bradford has the desire and the talent. I’m looking forward to seeing his development this year.

          1. Good point about Barrington Nemo. I also am looking forward to seeing Bradford take control of that middle position and make it his from day one. I believe he will. I like his energy. He reminds me a lot of Junior Seau.

        3. People often get confused on this point. Draft and develop doesn’t mean you never sign a FA, so your lecture is unnecessary. Julius Peppers is exhibit A in that regard, and yes, I know Peppers was cut by the Bears, not costing Ted one of his precious 6th round comp picks.
          You’re also wrong about Bradford. He wasn’t hurt. Just not ready to play. You may be thinking of the bust-in-waiting Thornton on the DL, who was so bad in camp, they stuck him on IR for the year with a minor hamstring “injury.”

    2. Like I said, it could be a lot worse than an AJ Hawk clone; would you really mind if they got an impact ILB at the top of the draft and then came back to McKinney in the 3rd? I think the biggest problem with Hawk was that he never lived up to his 5th overall pick billing. If he had been the 35th or 65th pick people probably wouldn’t have had a problem with him.

  3. At this point, the cupboard is essentially bare at ILB. You’ve got to have someone in there, and you’re not going to find two versatile, physical and athletic ILB in this draft where the Packers are picking without sacrificing picks to move up. Finding one guy who can move and cover and another who can be that plugger needed for run downs isn’t a bad situation…so if this guy pops up a little later, there are worse things…

    1. From all accounts, none of the inside linebacker prospects are all that great so I don’t think the Packers will probably have their pick at ILB at 30. I’d say that most probable first round picks are Eric Kendricks and Shaq Thompson, although its hard to guess where Thompson goes simply because teams are going to see him very differently.

      1. I was going to say pretty much the same thing on Thompson as an ILB in a 3-4. He’s a little small. Some scouts wonder if he’s really a SS at this point.

    2. They are a lot better off at ILB simply because TT finally took out the trash—Hawk and Jones. That clears the way for Bradford and Barrington. And, don’t forget Mathews is seeing increased playing time inside, as well.

  4. I never believe the B.S. about “the best available player” nonsense. It is virtually always “best player at the position you need or will need”.
    This year I think is different and nothing would surprise me:
    Any could be 1st rounders.

    QB, WR and RB I think are less far less likely, but what if Marcus Mariota drops to 30th. Would you pick him if you were GB? I sure as hell would and then figure out what to do with him. But as a backup to No.12 – You bet. He’d be a steal.

    I watched a lot college FB and to me Marcus is way better than Jameis Winston whom I believe is the most over-rated guy in the draft, but I would love to be proved wrong. I just saw Winston miss on a lot of easy throws. Mariota misses too but I think he can coached out of these mistakes.

    1. I have a hard time thinking that TT will jump on a TE or S in round 1, but I could see any of those other positions–including RB–at that spot if the right player is there.

      Mariota? My thought is that if he makes it out of the top 10 or so, that you’re going to see teams start to scramble to move up. TT’s best bet at #30 if Mariota is on the board is to take the best offer he can get for the pick.

      That said, if Mariota came to the Packers, you have a much more complex situation than when the Packers took ARod. #12 is younger than Favre was and has several productive years, and years left, on his contract. Mariota would play out his rookie contract and might never see the field.

      1. I agree, best bet if Mariota is still there at 30 is to shop the pick (QB is the only position where you only want 1 star); only problem is that since the Packers are so far back it would be tough to move back without dropping too far; is the 1st pick worth another 2nd and possible a 4th? Would Thompson bet on a 2016 1st round draft pick?

    2. Agree with Dobber, and in part with Montana. I can envision TT taking a NT, OLB, DE, CB, OT, RB, WR, ILB, TE, & in that order of likelihood, but it all depends on how the draft falls and if Tramon is re-signed.

        1. I suppose so. But I like to be correct. So let me amend it. I can envision TT taking a NT, DE, OLB, ILB, SS, FS, OT, OG, OC, RB, QB, WR, TE, or a ST ace. They probably will all be male. They probably all will have played college ball at some point.

    3. I think the problem is that with the salary cap “best player available” and “best player in a position of need”; Thompson has mentioned that it’s not strictly either BPA or need based drafting, its a little of both.

  5. Before I got to the skinny… I was thinking the exact same thing as this conclusion. “Wait… we are going to draft AJ Hawks replacement… with a younger version of AJ. Hawk?” No thanks.

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