The Rams picked up plenty of players to fill holes in the secondary during the NFL Draft and the UDFA scramble. One of the bigger names was Georgia’s Derion Kendrick. Kendrick, who won the National Championship with Georgia in 2021 and Clemson in 2019, was selected with the 212th overall pick. He made the Second Team All-ACC in 2019, First Team in 2020 and Second Team All-SEC in 2021. He was dismissed from Clemson due to disciplinary issues, which were one cause of his drop to 212. So what does the two time college champion bring to the reigning NFL champions?
NFL Draft Measurables
Athletic testing comes from Pro-Day numbers, he didn’t test at the Combine.
How We Grade Players for the NFL Draft
|Grade||Player Meaning||Grade||Player Meaning|
|9.5-10||Generational Player||6.25-6.75||Average Starter|
|9-9.49||Top of Position||5.5-6.25||Below-Average Starter/Backup|
|8.5-8.99||All-Pro Caliber||5-5.4||Developmental Player|
|8-8.49||High End Starter||4.5-4.9||Special Teams Player|
|7.5-7.99||Pro-Bowl Caliber Player||4-4.4||Practice Squad|
|7-7.49||Above Average Starter||3-4||Journeyman PS|
|6.75-6.99||Slightly Above-Average||0-2.9||Free Agent|
How We Grade Traits
|Grade||Trait Meaning||Grade||Trait Meaning|
|9-9.4||Top of Position||5.5-5.9||Below-Average|
|7-7.4||Above Average||3-4||Very Bad|
|6.5-6.9||Slightly Above Average||0-2.9||Non-Existent|
NFL Draft Evaluation
Fluid hips, very solid footwork and backpedal. Very good ability to navigate zone, identify, and stay with receivers. Very high motor, plays to the whistle. Quality burst on run support. Former receiver, very good ball skills. Flashes very solid recognition and awareness. Can be very sticky in off man coverage when given the right matchup. Above average height and weight.
Derion Kendrick started at Clemson as a WR
Here’s him beating Patrick Surtain in 2018
— Jake Sirkus (@JakeSirkus) January 8, 2021
Notable off the field issues, dismissed from Clemson in February 2021. Tested very poorly. Can get far too physical when jamming at the line, or even later in routes. Lacks ideal strength and speed. Used exclusively as boundary cornerback. Below average length. Not a great block shedder. Poor tackler, doesn’t have the form to make up for the lack of strength.
A former wide receiver, Kendrick brings big play ability to the Rams. He has ball skills, can be sticky in coverage, and is a smart football player. However, he lacks strength and speed. He’s a fluid mover, but can’t keep up with speedy receivers. There are times where he flashes some great play recognition but his reaction ability just doesn’t match it. However, as I mentioned before he’s a smart player. He’s very good at identifying routes in zone and being in the right place. His athleticism limits him, but he can certainly be a good rotational corner with cover skills. His NFL Draft stock was heavily knocked by very poor testing at his pro-day, along with off the field concerns that include his 2021 dismissal from Clemson.
How Does He Fit?
He’s a great fit for the Rams zone scheme, and will fit well as a depth piece. He’s part of a young Rams secondary that includes Cobie Durant, Grant Haley, Antoine Brooks Jr., and now features the return of Troy Hill. I do believe he’ll make the roster without too much worry. He’s going to come in immediately as a rotational cornerback due to a solid floor in coverage skills. However, he will not be much of a factor on special teams due to his athleticism, so if one of the aforementioned young corners can provide similar coverage skills, he is at risk of getting beat out. However, it’s hard to teach the zone vision he has, and the Rams are a zone team. He should make the 53 man roster, and even if he doesn’t they’d try to bring him on the practice squad, given another team doesn’t scoop him up.
Grading The Pick
This was a highly surprising pick for the Rams. While he has the ball skills they like to target, he did not have the speed. In fact, he ran one of the worst 40 times for a corner in recent memory. They left some athletic talent on the board, in Jaylen Watson and Kalon Barnes, and combinations of skill and athleticism in Tariq Castro-Fields, Mario Goodrich, and Josh Jobe. However, the latter two went undrafted, meaning there was no need to grab them at 212. However, none of theme have the zone intangibles he does. If he can develop well, it will look like a very good NFL Draft pick with a quick impact. Overall, he’s a scheme fit with a chance for solid playing time, meaning the pick was well spent.
Draft Grade: C+
Floor: Practice Squad Player
Ceiling: Low End CB3