2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Derion Kendrick

2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Derion Kendrick

by January 10, 2021 0 comments

A year after Noah Igbinoghene entered the draft as a cornerback after spending most of his career as a receiver, there is another similar story this year. Derion Kendrick spent his sophomore season in high school as a receiver before transitioning to play quarterback his final two years. He went to Clemson to play receiver and made the transition to cornerback before the 2019 season. Kendrick started immediately despite never playing the position before. He has caught the NFL’s attention as a potential first-round pick with a ton of untapped potential yet to be reached. 

Make sure to check out all of our other 2021 NFL Draft Scouting Reports.

Player Bio 

Name: Derion Kendrick  

Jersey: #1

Position: Cornerback 

School: Clemson

Class: Junior

Height: 6’0”

Weight: 190 lbs

Man Coverage (7.5/10)

Kendrick has struggled in one-on-one situations against Ja’Marr Chase, Justin Jefferson, Terrace Marshall Jr., and Chris Olave. He has thrived against lower competition but desperately needs a safety to help him in man coverage, especially on deep routes. He isn’t accustomed to the position yet and will get throttled by more physical receivers at the next level. 

Zone Coverage (8.25/10)

Kendrick is a far better player in zone coverage than in man. He developed his knowledge of zone coverage vastly from the 2019 season. He has a better feel for routes, and his ball skills help him immensely in this regard as he can read the quarterback while also watching who comes into his zone. 

Change of Direction (9/10)

The former receiver has sudden breaks and can come back to the ball quickly on comeback and out routes. He’s twitchy and can make up ground lost by receivers that make a sudden break in their route. 

Ball Skills (9.25/10)

His receiver skills come into play here. Kendrick can find the ball in the air and adjust. His route recognition developed much more during the 2020 season, and he’s very disruptive at the catch point. Kendrick can force the football away from the receiver and has caused fumbles as a result. 

Fluidity (7.5/10)

Even though Kendrick is quick, twitchy, and fluid, he still isn’t fully adapted to playing the cornerback spot yet. The discrepancies in his game are exposed by better receivers. Kendrick is too quick to judge what the route is and is easily out-physicaled at the catch point. 

Run Support (8.75/10)

Kendrick is willing to stick his nose into plays and make an effort to tackle. He is overpowered by receivers and lead blockers on plays and is unable to get off of the blocks. Kendrick won’t be a complete liability as a tackler at the next level. 

Tackling (5.75/10)

Kendrick puts forth a ton of effort in the run game and tries to stick his nose in each play. Unfortunately, his tackling form needs work. He doesn’t have the correct form as a tackler and will arrive and do just enough to slow the runner while the rest of the defense comes to help. Kendrick tries to grab the runner’s ankles instead of fully wrapping up. 

Route Recognition (9/10)

As a former receiver, this should be one of his best attributes, and it is. He can diagnose the route quickly but can be faked out by quick jab steps, stutter steps, and double moves. 2020 was the best season of Kendrick’s career, and he will continue to improve in this regard at the next level. 

Athleticism (8.25/10)

Kendrick is quick in short areas, but his long speed has come into question as he was beaten on vertical routes often during his time at Clemson. His combine performance should improve his draft stock if he performs well. 

Confidence (4.5/5)

He’s still learning the position. Kendrick will let you know he made a play after he’s made it by getting in your face. With him still learning the position, he will need to keep his head high after giving up big plays, and it seemed like against LSU and Ohio State, he didn’t do that. 

Injury (4.5/5)

Kendrick had back spasms early in the 2019 season. This rating also includes some character concerns as Kendrick didn’t travel with Clemson in Week 1 of the 2020 season. 

Player Summary

Kendrick is best fit on a team that runs mostly zone schemes. Teams such as Indianapolis and Buffalo picking in the back-end of the first-round would be wise to take a peek at him with their selection. Kendrick has a lot of growing to do as he has only played the position for two years. He will primarily be lined up as an outside cornerback on a team with a dominant cornerback on the opposite side to take some of the pressure off of him. That could result in him being picked on, similar to how his former teammate, A.J. Terrell, was this past season for the Falcons. The NFL is all about potential, and Kendrick has a ton of untapped potential that teams will try to get him to reach. 

Final Grade (82.25/100): Late-Second Round 

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