Eric Kendricks   LB   UCLA

TALENT BOARD ROUND 3

STRENGTHS
Eric has good athletic talent to play his position. He has nice feet and solid change of direction ability to play against the run and defend in the passing game. He has strong instincts when he settle downs and relies on those instincts. He is smart and looks to be a leader through his play on the field. Eric shows good ability to tackle in the open field, which that makes him more than adequate to play any linebacker position in any style of defense. Eric takes good angles when he plays inside and reacts quickly to sweeps and screens on the outside. He shows on film to have good balance and looks to be a solid teammate working hard in the context of the defensive game plan. Eric can play at the next level; he just has to have more confidence that he can.

CONCERNS
Eric tries to do too much and guesses too often trying to look for the big play instead of trusting his talent and the game planning. Until he settles into a game, he takes a lot of false steps and runs around blocks instead of taking them on, shedding them and making tackles near the line of scrimmage against the run. Eric has size limitations, but that is no excuse for sloppy tackling like throwing a shoulder into a runner and not wrapping up on every play. He is small and he HAS to be a good form tackler on every play or he will not get on the field except maybe to play special teams.

BOTTOM LINE
There is no excuse for poor, sloppy tackling by anyone playing defense of any size. If you form tackle, there is less chance of injury for the tackler and the player being tackled. Eric must become a more consistent tackler. He must tackle on every down like his football career depended on it because it does. Also, Eric has to stop trying to outplay his talents. He is smart and can cover and can make tackles, but trying to guess a play and waiting for the snap and then reacting to the play is going to kill him if he doesn’t just let his football intelligence direct his talents. When he guesses, he takes false steps and Eric cannot afford any false steps on the field because he doesn’t have the recovery quickness to get himself out of trouble when it happens. He is not strong against the run, but can get better if he wants to. His size limits him to playing in the style of defense that allows its linebackers to run free and make plays, but if he learns to tackle better and be smarter against the run, he should be solid in any style of defense. However, everything depends on his ability to secure tackles or forget about it…he’s not going to make it.

Drew Boylhart
MAR/2015