2015 NFL Draft Profile: Eric Kendricks, LB UCLA


UCLA linebacker Eric Kendricks has an issue that a lot of other players in the 2015 NFL Draft class has: size.  Not only does he not have the height that NFL inside linebacker need, but he also is missing a lot of the mass that will keep him from being thrown around by big blockers and ball carriers.

The issue of size didn’t stop him one bit at UCLA, where Kendricks racked up 480 total tackles over his 4 seasons at the college level.  He also contributed 10 sacks, 5 interceptions, 3 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries and 3 defensive touchdowns during that time.  His production on the field can’t be questioned, but the best spot for him on the football field might.

Some scouts thinks he projects best as an outside linebacker while others think he can handle the middle.  His brother is Mychal Kendricks of the Philadelphia Eagles, so his family does have a bit of a history when it comes to the NFL.  Some team will see his production and ability and draft him based on that, and figure out where to plug him in later.

Oct 18, 2014; Berkeley, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins linebacker Eric Kendricks (6) pursues the ball against the California Golden Bears in the fourth quarter at Memorial Stadium. The Bruins defeated the Golden Bears 36-34. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Combine Measurables:

  • Height: 6′
  • Weight: 232 pounds
  • Arm Length: 31″
  • Hand Size: 9 5/8″
  • 40 Yard Dash: 4.61 seconds
  • Bench Press: 19 reps
  • Vertical Jump: 38″
  • Broad Jump: 124″
  • 3 Cone Drill: N/A
  • 20 Yard Shuttle: N/A

Draft Projection

Eric Kendricks is the #35 overall prospect in the 2015 NFL Draft according to CBS Sports and is their #1 available inside linebacker.  He looks to be a late first round pick.

NFL Player Comparison

Fit For The Vikings

Minnesota will be looking for competition or possibly a starter at outside linebacker or the middle linebacker position if the team isn’t pleased going forward with Greenway/Hodges or Audie cole at those spots.

My Take

As much as I like Eric Kendricks, I see him better as an outside linebacker, where the Vikings already have Chad Greenway and Gerald Hodges fighting for positioning.  Unless Minnesota sees him as a middle linebacker that they think can play every down, I don’t see him being a major target for the team on draft day.  Still, he’ll make some team very happy with his athleticism and determination.

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