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2015 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Eric Kendricks, ILB, UCLA

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Can the explosive inside linebacker from UCLA anchor the Giants' struggling Beezer corps?

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Eric Kendricks is probably the most talked about linebacker prospect in this draft and for good reason. He's a damn good player. The Giants need more than a few "damn good players," especially in the linebacking corps. What round is he projected to go and what makes him a "damn good player"? Let's take a deeper look.

Pros

- Highly intelligent and instinctual player; nose for the football

- Plays aggressive and decisive (even if that leads to a mistake here or there)

- Excellent range and lateral agility

- Can stack and shed, even at his size

- Is accomplished at rushing the passer

- Smooth backpedal shows upside in coverage

- Fundamental tackler

Cons

- Like other ILBs, doesn't seem totally comfortable in coverage. Mistakes happen where he loses his guy.

- Sometimes shoots the wrong gap in run defense

- Needs to get stronger, is only 6-foot, 230 pounds

- Doesn't have elite athleticism.

Does He Fit With The Giants?

I'm not sure if a 6-foot, 230-pound linebacker will ever "fit" what the Giants look for, but as far as actual skill set goes, you bet he does. Spags wants his linebackers smart, aggressive, and ready to hit. Kendricks is an aggressive, fundamental tackler that has an above average (but not elite) skillset in all areas. He flies around the field and likes rushing the passer. He's going to need to do a better job filling the right gaps but his instincts are right more often than not. He's got the range that the Giants would look for.

Prospect Video

Big Board Rankings

Big Blue View - 37

Mocking The Draft - 13

CBS Sports - 64

Draft Tek - 53

Final Thoughts

Eric Kendricks reminds me a lot of his brother, Mychal Kendricks. Each are tornadoes on the field, with sideline to sideline range. They are prone to some mistakes, and some missteps, but they both have the ability to shed blockers, rush the passer and play with a fierce aggression. Because he does make the odd mistake here and there and because of his lack of length and elite athleticism, I see Eric going in the 32-42 range. If he makes it to the Giants at 40, you've got a great blend of value and need.