The Philadelphia Eagles continued their success in the 2012 NFL draft, addressing another critical need for their defense by selecting California inside linebacker Mychal Kendricks with the 46th overall pick.
Kendricks is a physical freak, boasting a 4.47 in the 40-yard dash at the combine with outstanding build and a vicious hard-hitter mentality.
Kendricks finished his collegiate career at Cal garnering honors as the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year after leading the Bears with 106 tackles—14.5 of which came for a loss.
The linebacker is a brute force from the inside and always makes sure to be around the football. He displays the speed and explosiveness to blow opposing ball-carriers up in the backfield or chase them down in pursuit.
For a physical, athletic Eagles defense, Kendricks is the ideal fit.
His speed may make him better-suited at the weak-side outside linebacker position for the Eagles as he excels as a tenacious run-stopper.
Against the pass, however, Kendricks could improve. At just 6’ tall, his height hampers in pass coverage, despite his blitzing speed. He will need to improve upon that to be an elite player at the NFL level, but has the tools and the potential to be one of the very best in the league.
The linebacking corps has been a weak spot for some time now in Philadelphia, but Kendricks shores up a group that already added former Pro Bowl player DeMeco Ryans this offseason.
Despite his downside, there is far more upside that comes with Kendricks and he should become a beloved figure among Eagles fans in no time. It is possible he could have been acquired later in the second round, but Philadelphia felt most comfortable taking him here and it is hard to fault them for that.
The Eagles have taken charge in the NFL draft, making big additions to address key needs. After a disappointing finish to a promising 2011 season, the Eagles appear focused and determined to take control of the NFC East in 2012.
Louis Musto is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter here.