2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Darian Kinnardby Michael Schiro March 12, 2022 2 comments
Darian Kinnard, the tackle out of Kentucky, has had a great college career and an even better Senior Bowl week. The Senior Bowl was his most considerable help boosting his low round two grade to potentially a high second round. Kinnard offers teams the skill set to be a great run blocker in the league. However, a change to guard is likely with his profile, and teams know it. While he primarily played tackle in college, teams looked at him as a guard. Furthermore, Kinnard does have a few holes in his game that is evident. While his run blocking is elite, his pass blocking leaves a lot to be desired.
Kinnard played in 46 games with 39 consecutive starts at Kentucky. With a lot of playing time under his belt, he is a player with history. Unlike other prospects in this class with few starts. During his time at Kentucky, he had a lot of accomplishments for his time. In 2021 he was a consensus First Team All-American, the first Kentucky linemen since Sam Bell in 1965. He was also a recipient of the Jackob’s Blocking Trophy. During the Senior Bowl, he got to show the world on a bigger stage why he had all of the accolades he did.
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Name: Darian Kinnard
Jersey: No. 70
Position: Offensive Line
Weight: 345 lbs
Games Watched: Tennessee (2021), Vanderbilt (2021), Georgia (2021), Louisville (2021)
Significant Injury History: None
Pass Blocking (11/15)
Kinnard has been a valuable piece for Kentucky during his time in college. While he plays with rage, it serves him well on pass protection. However, it does allow him to lose sight of his mechanics. Kinnard’s mechanics are decent, but he does tend to forget them once enraged and tries to win with power. While his ability to pass block is good, channeling his emotions is something he has to work on to excel at blocking. However, due to overreaching, Kinnard will struggle against the quick, explosive edge players.
Run Blocking (13/15)
Run blocking is one of Kinnard’s strong suits. While in the passing game, his aggressions get the best of him; it’s the opposite in the running game. Kinnard uses his aggressive style of play beautifully when in run fits. Using the run almost as an outlet for his pent-up aggression, he is excellent at it. Kinnard’s profile is more that of a guard rather than tackle due to tighter angles and style of play. However, his ability to block and how he does it is perfect for a transition to guard. Furthermore, he shows a deep understanding of maneuvering his opponent to create space for the running back.
Often Kinnard is too late to set his anchor foot down. In some videos from his Senior Bowl, players like Jermaine Johnson routinely beat him with power. However, he lost a lot due to the angle he took or over-setting his feet. While in the tighter space at guard, he would have an easier time with his anchor. At the same time, he shows the ability and technique to have a mighty anchor but needs better timing with it.
He does need to improve his footwork further. At the same time, he tends to overset and get beat; he needs to refine his movement. Kinnard has some problems dealing with footwork and his movement on an island. However, these issues will still be present if he transitions to guard due to his lack of mobility. Kinnard needs to have a lower base and not be so vertical. While Kinnard has problems not getting beat by either speed or power, he offers many upsides.
Kinnard’s mechanics need to be refined, although he is a top prospect in the class based on potential. He has improved since he first got playing time, although he still needs improvement. However, his weakness in mechanics is more to do with his footwork and bending. If a change to guard is happening, then using his hands becomes more critical, and the weakness of his feet is less critical. Furthermore, he needs time to develop and work out the kinks of moving to guard.
Athleticism is Kinnard’s most considerable value that he brings to the table. In contrast, there are a bunch of athletic linemen in the class, and he is one of them. He routinely shows that he can move and run in space on pulling plays, whether climbing the second level to take on a linebacker or pulling on the edge during a screen. Unfortunately, he often doesn’t showcase this enough while he has upside due to this skill set.
Kinnard’s versatility is confusing to look at. While he was a tackle in college, he will likely be moved to guard in the NFL. With that being said, he doesn’t have the best attributes at tackle but is more than capable of playing it. However, teams won’t want Kinnard to have to step out on the edge in the NFL. He could transition back to tackle with future development, but it will take time. However, due to his history at tackle and potential at guard, he offers a team a lot of versatility.
Kinnard has solid length for his size, and a transition to guard benefits his length. While he has ok length for a tackle at guard, he has ideal length. Kinnard uses his reach and great arm angles to routinely win at the point of attack against more prominent defenders. However, with 35-inch arms, he is more than capable of using them to his advantage on the interior. Furthermore, he does give defenders a challenge by trying to get around his reach on the interior.
Kinnard shows impressive body control when dealing with bigger and stronger players and the fast, outside guys. However, he struggles with his mobility on the outside and often gets beat by speed. At the same time, the way he can control his body and contort it during pass blocking is impressive. However, he has shown that he needs to use his control better when taking on the big guys.
With an intense draft class for offensive linemen, Kinnard suffers for it. At the same time, he would be a first-round pick in other classes, but he is a day two guy in this class. With Kinnard’s athletic nature and powerful run blocking skills, he is a top guard in the draft. However, he is a player that needs to have a few adjustments to his mechanics. On the other hand, he is still a day one starter at guard for teams in need. While his anchor, footwork, and pass blocking will improve during his first year, it is his run blocking that the team loves.
Rookie Projection: Starting Guard
Third Year Projection: Solid Starter
Final Grade (81.5/100): Late Second Round
Player Comp: Brandon Scherff
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images