Here we are Chicago Bears fans. The time of year where I didn’t think I’d be so happy to approach. Happy enough for this time of year that I’m looking forward to “Black Monday,” more so than I am Christmas Day. Talk about odd territory given the expectations that surrounded the Chicago Bears heading into this 2014 campaign. Yet here we are. Steadfast approaching the seemingly inescapable fate of Trestman (Terry Boers’ Dr. Death) being fired along with incumbent, Phil Emery.
However, this series is being started because we are looking passed even a possible GM hiring to delve into potential prospects the Bears (among all other teams) will be poking, prodding and ripping these potential NFL players films to shreds.
We’ll start off with a bang here at Grizzly Gridiron. I’m a draft-nic, scout nut, football guy. The draft is arguably my favorite time of year for any sport. Today we’ll delve into the Benardrick McKinney of Mississippi St. University.
McKinney was born on November 19th, 1992 in Tunica, MS. While growing up he played and starred at Rosa Fort High School. Lead his team as a 2-way player leading each side of the as a QB and LB. Upon graduating from Rosa Fort, he was considered a 3-star recruit by Rivals.com scouting services.
4.45-4.5 40 yd dash.
Pros: McKinney’s arguable greatest asset is his height-weight-speed combo. He possesses tremendous straight line speed and bulk on his 6’5″ frame with long arms. He’s very fluid for his size. His running uses little to no extra movement. He explodes to the ball when finds it. He also carries with him scheme and positional versatility. He can play both the MIKE and WILL/SAM positions of the 4-3 set and inside on the 3-4 sets. Allowing him to be a fit in for potentially every team in the league. Though he may prove to have more worth to teams that run hybrid defensive systems allowing him to showcase all of his physical talents.
No matter the scheme he plays in given his extreme athleticism and size he plays very downhill and brings the “thunder” when he meets the ball-carrier. Driving through the runner, wrapping up and finishing the tackle. True sideline to sideline speed to get home to the football no matter where the play development takes the football.
Cons: Extremely raw and undeveloped as a true “football” player. Seems to get by on physical makeup as opposed to the mental aspects of the game. Thus leading to what I’ll dub “Jon Bostic Syndrome.” Meaning, he consistently over-runs and guesses on plays. While in college this plays well, it’ll get you beat at the NFL level. He lacks stacking and shedding ability to get to the ball. TEs and FBs gobble him up the run game. Leading him to run around and at times even avoid blockers in space.
McKinney tends to have coverage problems in space as well. Relies so much on straight line recovery speed that he turns his back to the ball and takes his eyes of the QB. This seems to be only magnified by him being stiff in the hips despite his immense athleticism. This leads to getting burned often times over the middle/in the seams.
Overview: McKinney is an athletic specimen whose draft stock will climb after the combine and individual workouts. Though that shouldn’t be the end all, be all. An aggressive to sometimes overly aggressive player that plays with a demeanor. A sideline to sideline thumper that lacks true football intuition. Needs to become more football player than athlete. The complete physical package. Some have even compared him to Brian Urlacher-lite.
Seen as a surefire top-15 first rounder by some experts (I am by no means an expert). I see him more as a late teens (highest) to early second round given the unrefined nature of his. A very fun highlight reel linebacker. He’s going to test well and the film pops. It drags too much to be a top half first rounder however.
Thanks for checking out this scouting report and be sure to check back later for more reports to come!