Kansas City Chiefs: The Inside Linebacker Draft Prospects

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November 22, 2014; Pasadena, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins linebacker Eric Kendricks (6) celebrates after intercepting a pass against the Southern California Trojans during the first half at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Inside LBs That Would Work For KC

Eric Kendricks – UCLA – 6’0″ 232 lbs

While different draft experts have different favorite ILBs in this class, Eric Kendricks may be the most popular pick to be the first ILB taken in the 2015 draft. Kendricks, (like Dawson and Perryman) is undersized and not an ideal candidate to take on blockers head on. However, both at the combine and on tape Kendricks has shown himself to be faster than Dawson and Perryman. He has great playing speed and energy on the field and really flies to the ball. While he’s not an imposing LB he does tackle well in the open field. Best of all, Kendricks looks like the best coverage LB of the guys that I looked at. I think Kendricks would be excellent in the sub package next to DJ. I believe the Chiefs run defense would be a little soft up the middle if they paired DJ and Kendricks together, but hopefully the upgrade in coverage Kendricks offers would make up for it. Plus, he could eventually replace DJ and KC could then find a “thumper” to play next to him. If I was drafting for KC I would still probably pass on Kendricks with the 18th pick, but if KC decided to go that route I could get on board with it.

Bernardrick McKinney – Mississippi State – 6’4″ 246 lbs

The other LB that I could come around to KC drafting would be Bernardrick McKinney. The Mississippi State stand out is by far the most physically imposing ILB in this draft. Not only is he an imposing 6’4″ 246 lbs, but he ran just 0.05 seconds slower than Kendricks did in the forty at the combine. Basically, McKinney is the polar opposite of Kendricks when it comes to how he could fill the two LB needs that I mentioned at the beginning of this post. He is the perfect fit next to DJ in the base 3-4. No other LB in this draft is better suited to take blockers on and shed them in order to make stops in the run game. Coming out of the SEC there is plenty of game film against strong competition that will back that up. Similar to how KC could make Kendricks fit next to DJ even though it might not be ideal, McKinney could play LB in the sub package. He did not come off the field for MSU and has plenty of experience dropping into coverage in college. As I mentioned, his speed is not really a concern either, although his tape shows that he isn’t as agile in games as Kendricks is. The bottom line is that McKinney is just average in coverage. So again, while I would be okay with KC selecting him and think he could fill both needs, I would personally pass on drafting McKinney with the 18th pick.

At this point most of you are probably thinking that this means that there isn’t an ILB prospect that I would take with the 18th pick. The five players already mentioned in this post are the ones that most people talk about when looking at the ILBs available for the 2015 NFL Draft. Well I’m going outside the box and recommending someone that most people aren’t talking about. That is……..

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