04/29/2012 - A closer look at the Eagles' picks: Round 2/46 - Mychal Kendricks, LB, 5-11 1/4, 239, California...Kendricks, who was the fastest linebacker at the scouting combine, played inside at Cal last year, but will be moved outside by the Eagles and given an opportunity to win the starting strong-side linebacker job as a rookie. The Eagles like his ability to cover and slow up tight ends. - The Sports Xchange
At the Scouting Combine, Kendricks showed there was more to him than first appearance may indicate. His name, for example, is really Marvin Mychal-Christopher Kendricks. The Marvin is from his father, whose name some may remember as the leading rusher at UCLA in 1970-71.
Mychal showed decent versatility in college, starting two years at outside linebacker, then moving inside last year in dramatic style. But scouts at the combine still had a "show-me" perspective on Kendricks, especially after he measured only 5-11 and 1/4-inch tall. But he looked bigger by the moment as he benched 225 pounds 24 times, ran 40 yards in an unofficial 4.47 seconds and added a vertical jump of 39.5 inches.
That sent scouts back to double-check tapes, which showed how Kendricks used all that athleticism to earn Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2011. He had a team-leading 106 tackles, 14.5 for a loss, one sack, one forced fumble, one interception (returned for touchdown) and two fumble recoveries.
There are some concerns, including an injured shoulder and thumb last year and two suspensions for violating team rules. But it still looks like he hasn't played his last season at inside linebacker.
Strengths: Has a filled-out frame with good thickness packed on his body. Plays at full speed at all times with an active motor and determined quickness in pursuit. Possesses functional strength with powerful hands, working hard to shed at the point of attack and is at his best against the run -- downhill defender and physical tackler. Uses his eyes well to decipher and break down the play, showing good awareness and discipline to not be fooled by fakes. Takes accurate angles with good closing burst, showing the footwork to work well in tight areas. Tough and strong and has earned the reputation as a high effort player. Has some versatility with starting experience at both inside and outside linebacker in Cal's 3-4 defensive scheme. Was productive in his three years as a starter and was the team's most decorated player in 2011, earning Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors.
Weaknesses: Shorter than ideal with limited measureables and is too easily engulfed by blockers near the line of scrimmage. Needs to anchor better at the point of attack and was too often knocked backwards or off his feet. More of a straight-line athlete with some stiffness in his hips, lacking the smooth change of direction ability to quickly redirect. Slips off too many ballcarriers and needs to complete tackles -- will go for the big hit too often instead of consistently wrapping up. Has some durability concerns after a shoulder and thumb injury hampered him in 2011 -- wore a cast on his left hand for part of his senior season. Has some minor character concerns after he was suspended for parts of two different games for separate violations of team rules.
NFL Comparison: Curtis Lofton, Atlanta Falcons
-- Dane Brugler