He played at Ol Miss with McCluster and started out as a receiver. In fact, coming out of high school, he was respected as the number 35 receiver in the country. He played receiver as a freshman at Ol Miss, but switched to defense in his sophomore year and saw time at free and strong safety.
In his junior year, Kendrick led the team in tackles and was 14th overall in the SEC. Again, pretty good credentials. He again led the team in tackles his senior year and was also team captain.
A predraft analysis:
Read & React: Better in this area than you'd expect, considering his relative lack of experience. Good awareness for coverage. Reads the quarterback and has a burst to close on the ball. Aggressively supports the running game, but is a disciplined defender not easily fooled by play-action and misdirection. Better functional than timed speed. Has the range to get to the sideline from the hash.
Man Coverage: High, choppy backpedal and is too tight in the hips to handle dropping down and covering NFL receivers out of the slot, as he loses a step in his transition. Does have good functional speed to accelerate and generates a nice closing burst on the ball. Competitive. Fights for the ball.
Zone Coverage: Sound zone defender that keeps on eye on underneath routes and maintains his discipline in his deep responsibilities. Reads the quarterback's eyes and gets an early break on the ball. Closes quickly, taking good angles and is a reliable, wrap-up tackler with some pop.
Closing/Recovery: Good key-and-diagnose skills to get an early jump on the ball and shows good foot quickness and balance to plant and drive on the ball in front of him. Lacks the size scouts prefer at free safety, but is a good leaper and times his jumps well. Competes for jump balls against taller athletes. Quick hands and good hand-eye coordination to sneak his hands into the receiver's chest and pull the ball out. Has good, not great speed for deep coverage. Lacks elite speed and does not appear to have an extra gear to recover.
Run Support: Disciplined defender -- isn't easily fooled by play-action, but closes quickly once he sees the play is a run. Good vision and functional speed to slice through the trash and close to make plays near the line of scrimmage. Avoids blockers with good lateral agility and balance. Good team defender. Willing to take out the legs of the oncoming blocker to allow his teammates the tackle opportunity. Takes good angles in pursuit.
Tackling: Reliable open-field tackler; provides a solid last line of defense. Closes quickly and is a much more physical hitter than his size would indicate. Brings his hips and tackles through the ballcarrier to hit emphatically. Willing to take on a bigger ballcarrier with no hesitation. Willing to jump into the pile to clean up for the assisted tackle. Plays to and through the whistle on occasion and was penalized in 2009 for late hits.
Intangibles: Loves the game. Respected by fans, teammates and coaches for his passion and dedication to the Ole Miss program.
This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Arrowhead Pride's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Arrowhead Pride writers or editors.