Green Bay Packers NFL Draft prospect profile: ILB Eric Kendricks, UCLA
Eric Kendricks, ILB
6-0, 232 pounds
Hometown: Fresno, CA
40 yard: 4.61
3 cone: N/A
News and Notes:
The Packers need help at inside linebacker, that shouldn’t blow anyone’s mind. However, the 2015 draft class doesn’t have a complete inside linebacker like Patrick Willis or Luke Kuechly but there are some different linebacker flavors to choose from. If you are looking for a linebacker that excels in coverage and can go sideline to sideline then Eric Kendricks, brother of current Eagles inside linebacker Mychal (though who knows for how long consider the fire sale that’s going on in Philadelphia right now) is your guy.
What they’re saying about him:
- CBSSports.com: “Too small for some schemes but Kendricks’ instincts, physicality and improved awareness in coverage make him a true three-down defender with the potential to earn Pro Bowl recognition in the right defense”
- NFL.com: “Kendricks is an intelligent leader with high football character. Scouts don’t see the same explosiveness in Eric as they see in his brother Mychal (Eagles LB), but they do see the same level of production and desire. Eric Kendricks plays with plus instincts against the run and pass. He has the athleticism and demeanor to be an impactful, productive outside linebacker in a 4-3 for years to come.”
- Knows what he’s doing and where the ball is going; diagnoses plays extremely quickly and doesn’t take too many false steps.
- Very economical player in the sense that he’s not jumping around or running around when not necessary (one thing that jumps out about Stephone Anthony), gets to the ball as quickly as possible and brings the ball carrier down.
- Tends to try to run around defenders instead of going through them, this might be a result of his smaller size and quicker speed.
- Capable in pass coverage, his height is likely going to hinder him covering some of the leagues bigger tight ends, but he definitely can stick with a slot receiver or running back.
If drafted by the Packers
Kendricks appears to be the mock choice from a variety of media sources and it’s not surprising to see why. The Packers have released both AJ Hawk and Brad Jones and only have Sam Barrington as a exclusive inside linebacker. While Clay Matthews will likely continue to see time at inside linebacker this year, the Packers will have to bring some new bodies in and most are predicting it to be in the first couple of rounds. The Packers have never been shy about using smaller inside linebackers, DJ Smith was only 5’11” while Sam Barrington is 6’1″ but both of those players were more smash mouth tacklers than coverage specialists. Nevertheless, Barrington and Kendricks would mesh well with each other since the Packers typically like a inside linebacker who can take on blockers and clog up running lanes while the other can pass rush and cover more.——————
Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s AllGreenBayPackers.com.