Having played his collegiate football at Mississippi State, Benardrick McKinney was drafted in the second round of the draft by the Houston Texans. His position is that of inside linebacker, and he has had a consistent playing career to this point, starting every game during the 2013 and 2014 seasons at Mississippi State. During those two years, he also led the team in tackles. In 2014, he was selected to the first team All-SEC and the second team All-American. As a Freshmen, he was selected to the All-SEC freshman team, having redshirted the 2011 season.
He displayed a combine best for his position at the vertical jump, leaping to a total of 40.5 inches. His other results were respectable, beginning with a 4.66 second 40-yard dash. He was also able to complete 16 repetitions at his weight on the bench press, had a 121.0 inch broad jump, and completed the 3-cone drill in 7.21. seconds. At 6’4” and 246 pounds, he is tall and proportionally built. He is a natural fit at the inside linebacker position, with a 33 inch arm length and 9 inch hands, which enables him to catch the offense on the fly. He also has thick and powerful legs that enable him to accelerate through a chase. He maintains his weight well, although he might have to beef up a bit more, while not losing any speed, to compete at the highest levels of the NFL. In college, he exhibited the ability to step into a hold and fire into the running back. This allowed him to finish through with a wrap up tackle, which is certainly going to serve him well in the pros. His hands are big and they are powerful, which allows his to get clear of blockers. He has a good football IQ and remains focused on the field. Another strength to note is his versatility to fill in on special teams, and to blitz when called upon.
Graphic via starkvillefreepress
A major weakness that has been exposed is Benardrick McKinney’s tendency to play high, while lacking the suddenness that will make him effective in the NFL. He has a high center of gravity that often makes it difficult to change direction in space when he needs to. It has also been noted that his foot quickness within tight confines is rather limiting, and is below average of those in his class. While he does exhibit great instinct against the run, his ability to get his feet moving puts him into an average category of inside linebackers. He is also a potential liability when being pitted against the pass, and he looks stiff when being asked to cover a particular space, which gives away too much to the offense.
All in all, McKinney appears to be a solid second round pick by the Texans He has the ability to grow into an imposing threat the pro level, and he should see some considerable playing time in his rookie season.
Graphic via chicagonow