Is an above-average route runner at this stage who exhibits the balance and body control to quickly get out of his breaks and accelerate away from man coverage. Has a tendency to start to drift into his routes and will show his breaks a bit early, but uses his frame well to shield defenders from the throw. Also, possesses a good feel for zone coverage, knows how to find soft spots and quickly get his head around in search of the throw. Demonstrates the coordination and body control to consistently adjust to the throw and displays soft hands when asked to reel in the tough grab.
Exhibits a willingness to block as a motion man, takes good angles into contact and can consistently kick out defenders on contact on the move. Now, isn’t going to drive anyone off the football in the run game and is rarely run behind, but is athletic and long enough to quickly get around reach blocks and seal off the edge.
Impression: Looks like the next talented Wisconsin tight end to come out of the program. Lacks ideal size, but can be a tough cover in the pass game and knows how to get around blocks and seal in the run game. I don’t think if he will ever be a legit starting “on the line Y” in the NFL, but he certainly has the ability to make his way onto the field and create plays in the pass game at a variety of positions."
However, what’s even more impressive about his game is his ability to kick-out defenders and win in the run game as a move player. Kendricks offers an intriguing combination of body control, flexibility and power and does a great job going into motion, taking good angles toward his target and absolutely eliminating his man at the point.
Now, he does do a solid job as an in-line blocker as well, but as a potential move H-back type option, Kendricks can win for you not only in the pass game, but as a run blocker as well."
Release: Gets off the line in a hurry, providing a legitimate deep threat down the seam. Adept at block-and-release (though strong linebackers can get him off his route), gets out into space on bootlegs. Sidesteps defensive ends and uses stop-go move to free himself of nickel backs and linebackers at the line. Will hop at the snap before moving at times when lined up in the slot. One-gear runner, though, without the breakaway speed to separate from NFL nickel backs and safeties off the line.
Hands: Has the hands of a former wide receiver, snatches passes away from his frame and tracks balls over either shoulder. Extends to bring down high passes and is quite adept going down and getting his hands underneath low throws over the middle. Has dropped a few passes during his career, needs to improve his concentration when hearing footsteps and make the grab before running upfield to be considered an elite prospect. Wins jump balls with nice vertical and length.
Route Running: His quickness and size gives offensive coordinators the flexibility to run him down the seam, over the middle, in the flat and down the sideline. Difficult for linebackers to stay with him over the middle and almost always has a height mismatch against defensive backs. Finds the soft spot in front of linebackers on crossing routes. Quick feet and fluid hips for cuts, though some out routes are rounded off. Aware of the sideline, grabs out routes then stops to proceed upfield.
After the Catch: One of the few tight ends in recent memory that has the speed and elusiveness to earn carries on reverses. Good straight-line speed (though not elite), body control and balance for the position. Catches-and-runs like a large receiver. Change directions in mid-stride and is able to cut inside oncoming defenders to avoid their tackles. Hangs onto the ball in traffic. Runs tougher than expected, carrying tacklers a few yards when possible, though he lacks great lower body strength and better defenders get low to win the leverage battle against NFL defenders.
Blocking: Gives good effort as a run blocker from the H-back or moving tight end spots, has better upper-body build than expected given his frame. Understands blocking angles to create rushing lanes. Walls off backside ends when in motion, can set his feet and anchor. Blocks inside from motion near the goal line, willing to make contact and keep legs churning to move his man back. Lacks the strength to block NFL ends in-line, however, and is shed by smaller, stronger defenders in the open field after initial contact because they knock away his hands. Crosses his feet at times when fighting off edge rushers from three-point stance, will struggle to recover at the next level.
Intangibles: Has taken over as leader among skill position players as a senior. Coaches lauded him for his preparation before their 2009 bowl game. Left fibula broken while blocking on run play in November 2008, returned for bowl game."
Kendricks split time with Garrett Graham a season ago, but has started for each of the last two seasons. Wisconsin always seems to produce great tight ends, and Kendricks is the next one to follow in those footsteps.
Kendricks is a tall, physical presence and an excellent red zone threat. He fights for the ball very well, and has soft hands, usually dropping very little. He is an aggressive player and a crisp route runner. His speed makes him a great option to stretch the field as a tight end, and he does a nice job of getting behind the linebackers and make plays after the catch. Kendricks gets nice separation, and isn’t afraid to get physical in the middle of the field, although he is a bit on the light side for a tight end. He’s a leader and was a team captain for two years.
He isn’t the biggest tight end, being just around 240 pounds. He may play a bit of split end at times, as well as tight end, and is more of a ‘tweener. Kendricks needs to become a better overall run blocker. He doesn’t block well in the open field, and isn’t strong enough to hold blocks against bigger lineman in the run game. He will likely put on a few pounds and work on blocking technique and getting stronger. He will need to work on locating the ball a bit more effectively as well as he will sometimes lose track of it.
Kendricks is a very special talent and he will be a guy to come off in the mid-late second round. Philadelphia, Atlanta, San Diego, and Carolina will be the likeliest suitors at the end of the second round, and beginning of the third. The latest he will be selected is pick 73 with Houston and Denver also selecting in that area in the early third round.
NFL Comparison: Aaron Hernandez"
Positive: Natural pass-catching tight end who is best in motion. Quickly releases into pass routes, comes back to the ball, and offers the quarterback a big target. Displays good eye/hand coordination, makes the reception away from his frame, and displays soft, strong hands. Nicely makes the catch in stride, adjusting backwards to grab the errant throw. Effectively uses his frame, boxing out opponents to come away with the ball. Bends his knees, blocks with leverage, and gives effort.
Negative: Displays minimal strength at the point of attack and has difficulty handling linebackers as a blocker. Mostly a one-speed tight end who does not consistently create mismatches in the secondary. Lacks great growth potential.
Analysis: Kendricks is one of the better pass-catching tight ends in the nation, but he has size and athletic limitations. He could be a productive second tight end in a system that consistently puts him in motion or occasionally lines him up in the slot and reduces his blocking assignments. Likely to be over-drafted and selected much earlier than his talents warrant due to the poor crop of tight ends this year."
Negatives: Does not look like a natural route runner and will tip his breaks... Makes some catches with his body... Inconsistent concentration... Adequate in-line blocker... Not very strong... Doesn't generate much power... Can be pushed back and can be driven off the ball... Rarely run behind."
Weaknesses: Has built-up speed and isn't going to run away from anyone except for the slower DEs and LBs. Seems to suffer from lapses in concentration as he has good hands, but will drop catchable passes too frequently. A bit shorter than you'd like at TE and not the strongest of in-line blockers. Probably more of an H-back candidate at the next level, and fewer teams utilize an H-back than a true TE, limiting his opportunities. Isn't going to get many looks as a FB because he's not physical enough as a lead blocker and plays too upright.
Projection: Kendricks is a good athlete who is a solid receiving threat and a better blocker than many others his size. If he runs well at the Combine, he could really vault himself up the draft boards. Looks to be a solid third round selection in the 2011 NFL Draft."
He can play out wide and has enough speed to create mismatches against linebackers in coverage. He had a breakout performance come in the 2009 Champs Sports Bowl with seven receptions for 128 yards. He also sprung two huge blocks on two plays, which led to Wisconsin's only two touchdowns of the game. Kendricks stood out and showed his full talent in the game to NFL scouts.
Kendricks tends to cradle catches into his body rather than catching balls with his hands. He makes up for this problem by having great body control and makes great adjustments to the ball in mid-air.
Given his speed, catching ability and above-average talent as a run-blocker, Kendricks projects as a second round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft."
UW tight ends coach Joe Rudolph, a former offensive guard for the program, likes the way Kendricks handles himself physically as a lead blocker for the tailback at the point of attack.
"He's about as tough as they come and he plays big," Rudolph said. "Boy, he's blossomed into a really good player. And you have to love his unselfishness, his greatest attribute. Ask him to execute 15 lead blocks in a row, he'd be happy to do it. Ask him to run 15 routes in a row, he'd be happy to do that. Whatever you ask him to do, he works his tail off." – Madison.com
Lance Kendricks is an extraordinary Weapon in the Pass Game: He commands exceptional Navigational Skills, good Speed, tremendous Hands, outstanding Instincts, and phenomenal Processing Speed.
What's really surprising, though, is his passion, his tenacity, and his consistency in the Run Game as a Wing Back "Move" Blocker: Praise for his effectiveness and dedication in this aspect of the game is EFFUSIVE, as you can see.
Lance Kendricks is one of my few Priority Binkies. In a Game where Wing Backs ~ Tight Ends who often go into Motion to Block, but who are DownField threats, as well: A Super Hybrid ~ are changing the face of the Game: A Player who is truly effective as a Run Blocker and a Pass Blocker, and who also bring an explosive element to the Pass Game, brings chaos to a Defense's efforts to Defend.
Lance Kendricks is that rare Athlete, and for my money only Kyle Rudolph offer a more completely deadly Game.
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