UCLA linebacker Eric Kendricks is among the most accomplied linebackers in the nation, with an incredible 446 career tackles on his resume, and as a fifth-year senior he's the soul of the Bruins' 2014 defense. But at just 6 feet tall, he's on the short side for an NFL linebacker. Two NFL scouts who spoke with the Los Angeles Times about Kendricks' potential stood in disagreement about his future in the league.
"You almost wish he was a little bit bigger, a little bit faster. But the guy just makes plays," one scout said. "I think he's a heck of a football player. I don't know if he'll be a starter at the next level. I think he's a special-teams player and a good depth linebacker, but these guys tend to make their way onto the field."
That assessment is in contrast to another, from a scout who sees Kendricks not only as an NFL starter, but one who will be drafted as early as the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft.
"He can run, instinctive, nose for the ball. He just lacks size. He's a second-, third-round guy," the scout said. "He'll be a starting [weak side linebacker] somewhere."
Kendricks has posted three consecutive seasons of 100 tackles or more for UCLA, and even had 76 as a freshman in 2011. As such, there won't be a more experienced linebacker available in the draft next year. But as long as scouting evaluations on Kendricks are split this widely, projecting his draft status won't be easy.