Minnesota Vikings LB Eric Kendricks: Breakout candidate for 2016
By Adam Carlson
Minnesota Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks was impressive during his rookie year, but the folks over at NFL.com think he could make other big jump in 2016.
UCLA linebacker Eric Kendricks seemed to be a forgotten man during the 2015 NFL Draft. The first round talent slid all the way to the bottom of the second round amidst concerns of his size and levels of aggression. Finally, at #45 overall, the Minnesota Vikings called his name.
Now, with Kendricks having one full season as a starter in the books with the Vikings, he looks as though he could be a fixture as part of the team’s linebacker corps going forward. He’s a tackling machine, with the ability to blitz, play coverage, and keep offenses guessing as to what his role will be on each of his defensive snaps.
More from The Viking Age
- 6 biggest draft steals in Minnesota Vikings history
- Former Vikings first-round pick could reportedly return to NFC North
- Bears analyst has extremely embarrassing Kirk Cousins take
- 6 Vikings who (maybe) won’t make the 53-man roster in 2023
- Predicting what the Vikings will do in the 2023 NFL Draft based on 2022
Minnesota Vikings fans have already seemed to embrace Kendricks as a part of the team, but that doesn’t mean that the NFL and its fanbase are aware of just how good this young man is and how great he has the potential to be. However, there is one man over at NFL.com who seems to absolute love what the former UCLA linebacker does and what he can become.
Here is what former star NFL running back Maurice Jones-Drew had to say about Eric Kendricks in a roundtable article discussing possible breakout players on defense for the 2016 NFL season:
"“I thought Eric Kendricks came in and did a solid job for the Vikings in his rookie season. He made a lot of plays in both the running game and passing game. With one year under his belt, Kendricks will be more comfortable in the system and won’t second-guess himself. He’ll be able to relax and just react — and be more explosive — which will allow the Vikings’ D to be more sound and improve on its No. 13 ranking in total defense.”"
Next: Minnesota Vikings 7 round mock draft
While sometimes hearing things like that from former players goes in one ear and out the other, there is something great about this coming from one of the best running backs in recent history. Jones-Drew dealt with many different linebackers over the course of his career, and the fact he sees this kind of talent in Eric Kendricks says a lot about the potential this young man has.