Scouting Report: Eric Kendricks, ILB, UCLA

Eric Kendricks, brother of Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks, is an inside linebacker prospect from UCLA. Kendricks is a three year starter with the Bruins and is a 5th year senior coming into the league. Kendricks leaves UCLA as the school’s all-time leading tackler, and was UCLA’s first Butkus award winner. Kendricks is very highly rated coming into the draft. He is considered by many to be the top rated inside linebacker in the 2015 NFL Draft.


Measurables

DOBFebruary 29, 1992Bench (225 lb)19 reps
Height6’0-1/4″Vertical Jump38″
Weight232 lbsBroad Jump10’5″
Arms31″20 Yard Shuttle
Hands9-5/8″3 Cone Drill
40 Yard Dash (10 yd split)4.61 sec (1.64 sec)60 Yard Shuttle

Stats and Awards

UCLA (2010-2014)Awards and Accolades
2014 – 149 tackles, 11.5 TFL, 4.0 sacks, 2 PD, 1 FF, 3 INTButkus Award Winner. Lott Trophy Winner. First Team All-American selection by USA Today and si.com, 2nd Team All-American selection by AP. 2nd Team All-Pac-12 selection by the league’s coaches. (2014)
2013 – 105 tackles, 4.0 TFL, 2.0 sacks, 2 PD, 1 INTAll-Pac-12 Honorable Mention. Honorable Mention Academic All-Pac-12 (2013)
2012 – 149 tackles, 6.0 TFL, 2.0 sacks, 5 PD, 2 FF, 1 INTAll-Pac-12 Honorable Mention. Honorable Mention Academic All-Pac-12 (2012)
2011 – 77 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 2.0 sacks, 3 PDHonorable Mention Freshman All-American. Honorable Mention Academic All-Pac-12 (2011)

Scouting Report

  • Possesses above average speed for the position.
  • Looks to make the smart tackle on every play.
  • Shows great gap awareness and covers his gaps on every play.
  • Has an eye for the ball and can strip the ball carrier if they do not secure the ball properly.
  • Is very good in man or zone coverage.
  • You can trust him to cover the running back out of the backfield.
  • Possesses above average hands for a linebacker.
  • Was a leader in the defense and a captain of the team.
  • Is an intelligent and hard working player.
  • Has a very lean frame and could stand to put on some more weight.
  • Doesn’t possess any “elite” skills, but is very good at many.
  • Is slow to react to the run occasionally.
  • Occasionally has trouble finding the ball carrier in the backfield.
  • Will often wait for the ball carrier to come to him instead of attacking. This actually leads to him having less TFLs than he could have.
  • Struggles to shed blocks against linemen.
  • Bites on play action and ball fakes.
  • Makes a lot of contact in man coverage and is a pass interference risk.
  • Does not have the speed to keep up with faster RBs and WRs nor the size to cover bigger TEs.

Run Stopping

Kendricks doesn’t possess great size or strength, but he’s a very good wrap up tackler. He’s not going to go for the big hit. Kendricks makes the smart tackle ten out of ten times.

Watch how he follows the ball carrier on this next play.

Kendricks is able to see the running back begin to cut back in, so he stops and covers the cutback lane which the running back runs right into. This is a good display of vision and awareness by Kendricks to be able to identify the cutback lane and stop the ball carrier.

On this next play Kendricks takes a good angle to the ball carrier and is able to get the tackle.

For this play, watch the backfield and then watch Kendricks.

Kendricks hesitates to make the move to plug up the middle because he thinks the QB might have the ball. While that is his gap responsibility on the play, that hesitation to plug the A-gap cost them some yards.

On this next play, Kendricks fails to identify the ball carrier and allows himself to be taken out of the play by committing too far to the right.

On the next play Kendricks is slow to identify the run and that results in a late tackle from him. Had he been more aggressive to attack and identify the play then he likely gets to the running back for a shorter gain.

Now where Kendricks struggles the most in the run game is shedding blocks. He doesn’t have the ideal length to be able to take on blockers and shed them with ease. Watch how he sheds this block.

Kendricks lets himself get blocked on this play and isn’t able to shed the block quickly enough to make a play on the ball carrier. He lets the tight end get too close and doesn’t try to get leverage which causes him to get momentarily locked up with the blocker.

On this next play Kendricks just gets manhandled by the offensive lineman. He’s unable to shed the block and just gets driven down and taken out of the play.

As a tackler though Kendricks is very reliable. Always going for the low hit. He keeps his shoulders square, feet planted, and drives the ball carrier into the ground.

On that last tackle, I’d really like to see more of that from Kendricks. He’s a very unaggressive tackler most of the time preferring instead to let the runner come to him. On that last play he’s extremely aggressive in pursuing the tackle and he’s able to stop the running back in his tracks. If Kendricks played more like that he might be challenging Denzel Perryman for the best run stopper in the class.

The last area that I’ll talk about with Kendricks in the run game, is his ability to force turnovers. The stats above show you just how often he can force fumbles. Watch on this play how he just gets a hand in on the ball and forces the fumble.

It’s a smart play by Kendricks to know that he has the advantage of bringing his hand down on the top of the ball where it is least secure and is able to force a fumble.

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Dylan Seals

<p>Dylan is a true Texan. Born in Texas. Raised in Texas. Cheers for the Texans. Has an ego the size of Texas, and a love of football to match it. Dylan got his start on Madden where he would find ways to out strategize the game and still lose. He’s taken that interest in football to the real world and turned it into a passion for scouting and the strategy of the game. Follow me <strong><a href="https://twitter.com/intent/follow?original_referer=http%3A%2F%2Fnflbreakdowns.com%2F%3Fp%3D3022%26page%3D2%26preview%3Dtrue&screen_name=dseals2013&tw_p=followbutton">@dseals2013</a></strong>. For all of Dylan’s articles: <strong><a href="http://nflbreakdowns.com/author/DylanSeals/">Click Here</a>.</strong></p>