Prospect profile: Sergio Kindle, OLB, Texas

Sporting News’ Pro Football War Room has hundreds of player evaluations in preparation for the 2010 NFL draft. Here is a capsule look at prospect Sergio Kindle.

With a little more size, Kindle could play with his hand on the ground.
With a little more size, Kindle could play with his hand on the ground.

NFL position: OLB/DE
Height: 6-2 7/8
Weight: 250
40 time: 4.70
Current projection: First-round pick
NFL comparison: Brian Cushing, Texans

Against inside run: Is an instinctive defender who sniffs out inside runs and has a knack for being around the ball. Moves easily through traffic because of quickness, agility and balance. Shows the strength to take on and defeat tight end blocks and burst inside to make the tackle. Flashes the strength to take on offensive line run blocks at the point of attack, but struggles to consistently shed those blockers. Having played mostly defensive end, lacks experience from an upright position. Grade: 7.5

Against outside run: Is productive playing perimeter runs, and will be better playing from linebacker alignment. Shows good instincts and smarts to carry out containment responsibilities; can make the open-field tackle even if the play does come back to him. Is strong and productive taking on tight end run blocks, maintaining outside position, defeating the block and making tackle. On runs away, stays at home and then shows the acceleration and speed to chase down ballcarriers. Grade: 8.5

Blitz/coverage: Is an explosive pass rusher from defensive end alignment with the explosiveness off the snap to turn the corner and close quickly to the QB. Shows the athleticism and strength to be even more dangerous from upright alignment. Is quick and smooth dropping into pass coverage, can flip hips to change directions easily and has a burst to close on receivers to deliver hard hits. Reaches the flat quickly to blow up screen passes. Lacks experience in man-to-man coverage, but shows the athleticism and speed to produce with experience. Grade: 8.0

Instincts: Is a natural who consistently reads plays quickly and correctly to play faster than timed speed would suggest. Does not get fooled by misdirection or trick plays or play-action passes. Always carries out containment assignments/responsibilities. Consistently anticipates the snap count to be first defender moving. Grade: 8.0

Pursuit/tackling: Shows the instincts, athleticism, speed and closing ability to make big plays in pursuit. On runs away, maintains backside responsibilities and then attacks full speed. Bends knees and drives up into ball carriers to make good open-field tackles. Stays under control, and does not miss tackles. Grade: 8.5

Bottom line: Kindle is a tremendous athlete who makes game-changing plays. He fits best as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme, but he also shows the natural explosiveness, speed and pass-rush skills to be a good defensive end in a 4-3 scheme if able to bulk up 15 to 20 pounds. He also could play outside linebacker in a 4-3 scheme, a la the Redskins’ Brian Orakpo. Kindle’s athleticism, competitiveness and violent hitting ability remind us a lot of the Texans’ Brian Cushing.

For more than 550 player scouting reports from Russ Lande and his team of former NFL scouts — plus updated mock draft, Super 99 rankings and more — go to warroom.sportingnews.com.

Sporting News’ Pro Football War Room has hundreds of player evaluations in preparation for the 2010 NFL draft. Here is a capsule look at prospect Sergio Kindle.

With a little more size, Kindle could play with his hand on the ground.
With a little more size, Kindle could play with his hand on the ground.

NFL position: OLB/DE
Height: 6-2 7/8
Weight: 250
40 time: 4.70
Current projection: First-round pick
NFL comparison: Brian Cushing, Texans

Against inside run: Is an instinctive defender who sniffs out inside runs and has a knack for being around the ball. Moves easily through traffic because of quickness, agility and balance. Shows the strength to take on and defeat tight end blocks and burst inside to make the tackle. Flashes the strength to take on offensive line run blocks at the point of attack, but struggles to consistently shed those blockers. Having played mostly defensive end, lacks experience from an upright position. Grade: 7.5

Against outside run: Is productive playing perimeter runs, and will be better playing from linebacker alignment. Shows good instincts and smarts to carry out containment responsibilities; can make the open-field tackle even if the play does come back to him. Is strong and productive taking on tight end run blocks, maintaining outside position, defeating the block and making tackle. On runs away, stays at home and then shows the acceleration and speed to chase down ballcarriers. Grade: 8.5

Blitz/coverage: Is an explosive pass rusher from defensive end alignment with the explosiveness off the snap to turn the corner and close quickly to the QB. Shows the athleticism and strength to be even more dangerous from upright alignment. Is quick and smooth dropping into pass coverage, can flip hips to change directions easily and has a burst to close on receivers to deliver hard hits. Reaches the flat quickly to blow up screen passes. Lacks experience in man-to-man coverage, but shows the athleticism and speed to produce with experience. Grade: 8.0

Instincts: Is a natural who consistently reads plays quickly and correctly to play faster than timed speed would suggest. Does not get fooled by misdirection or trick plays or play-action passes. Always carries out containment assignments/responsibilities. Consistently anticipates the snap count to be first defender moving. Grade: 8.0

Pursuit/tackling: Shows the instincts, athleticism, speed and closing ability to make big plays in pursuit. On runs away, maintains backside responsibilities and then attacks full speed. Bends knees and drives up into ball carriers to make good open-field tackles. Stays under control, and does not miss tackles. Grade: 8.5

Bottom line: Kindle is a tremendous athlete who makes game-changing plays. He fits best as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme, but he also shows the natural explosiveness, speed and pass-rush skills to be a good defensive end in a 4-3 scheme if able to bulk up 15 to 20 pounds. He also could play outside linebacker in a 4-3 scheme, a la the Redskins’ Brian Orakpo. Kindle’s athleticism, competitiveness and violent hitting ability remind us a lot of the Texans’ Brian Cushing.

For more than 550 player scouting reports from Russ Lande and his team of former NFL scouts — plus updated mock draft, Super 99 rankings and more — go to warroom.sportingnews.com.

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