Devon Kennard, OLB, USC (HT: 6’3” WT: 249 lbs.)
Fifth Round: 174th Pick
NFL Comparison: Keith Rivers, OLB, New York Giants
|6030||249||33 3/8"||9 3/8"|
|40-yd Dash||10-yd Dash||Vert||Broad||Three-Cone||Shuttle|
- Natural flexibility in the hips to flatten out around the corner and in the ankles to turn corners quickly.
- Instinctive rusher in terms of reading the block and adjusting on the fly.
- Has an effective rip move through the outside shoulder of tackles.
- Flashes a variety of pass-rush moves, including an effective spin back to the inside.
- Effective rusher on stunts; can get skinny through tight spaces and squeeze past interior pass-blockers.
- Gets hands up to deflect passes at the line of scrimmage well.
- Sufficient play recognition and spatial awareness for pass coverage.
- Comfortable dropping from the line of scrimmage into zones.
- Reliable on the outside to set an edge and force edge-run plays back to his help on the inside.
- Extends hands to create space on a consistent basis.
- Doesn't often get completely locked up by run-blockers.
- Widely regarded as a high-character player and a leader.
- NFL bloodlines.
- Not an overwhelmingly athletic or powerful defender.
- Is likely maxed out in terms of frame and physique.
- Not exceptionally quick off the line or explosive in any way.
- Will struggle to beat NFL tackles around the corner as a speed rusher.
- Inconsistent to poor usage of power as a rusher; doesn't press the pocket at all.
- A number of his sacks were more a result of terrible pass-blocking than terrific rushing.
- Doesn't make plays in the backfield at a high rate.
- Not an aggressor at the point of attack; won't reset the line of scrimmage on the edge.
- Stands up and lets run-blockers into him before trying to shed.
- Limited closing speed in the open field.
- Left a few plays on the field by failing to break down and missing in the backfield.
- Struggles to close down space in coverage and cannot be used in man coverage.
- Lacks skill set to be a versatile linebacker who can play multiple positions as a professional.
- A 5-star prospect as a recruit in the class of 2009 and the No. 8 player nationally, according to Rivals.com.
- Missed entire 2012 season with a torn pectoral muscle and received a medical redshirt.
- Graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communications in 2012 and a master’s degree in communication management in 2014.
- 2013 team awards include Most Inspirational Player, Lifter of the Year, Trojan Way Leadership Award and Pac-12 All-Academic.
- Father, Derek Kennard, played 11 seasons in the NFL.
Devon Kennard never really lived up to his billing as a 5-star prospect out of high school. He did take a big step forward in his final season at USC. The switch to a 3-4 base defense put Kennard in the position his skills are most suited for: 3-4 outside linebacker. That’s where he's destined to play in the NFL as well.
The lack of any special qualities will hold Kennard back in the NFL, though. He’s skilled in a variety of things but wasn't a dominant player at the collegiate level and won’t be one in the NFL. He projects solely as competition for a depth spot on a roster. In order to lock up a job long term, he’ll have to contribute on special teams.
Draft Projection: Seventh Round