2015 NFL Draft Profile: Benardrick McKinney, ILB, Mississippi State


Sep 20, 2014; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs linebacker

Benardrick McKinney

(50) tackles LSU Tigers running back

Terrence Magee

(18) during the second half of a game at Tiger Stadium. Mississippi State defeated LSU 34-29. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Combine has come and gone. The draft is still several weeks away. In the meantime, the top college prospects show their skills at their Pro days. Scouts, coaches, and general managers alike, come out to the various schools to take a closer look at the prospects they may be interested in. They watch them go through drills, maybe put them through some of their own, and generally use it like a second interview for a job. The Combine is the initial screening, the Pro days help weed out the candidates.

More from Jets News

We are going to start looking at prospects that have a Jets presence at their Pro day. The first one we are going to look at comes from our friend Rich Cimini:

Jets DC Kacy Rodgers attended Mississippi State pro day today. Their top prospect is ILB Benardrick McKinney, projected as 2nd rounder.

— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) March 4, 2015

If the player is good enough for Kacy Rodgers, he is good enough for us, so let’s take a look at Benardrick McKinney from Mississippi State.

Next: College Career

Sep 21, 2013; Starkville, MS, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs linebacker Benardrick McKinney (50) prepares for the play during the game against the Troy Trojans at Davis Wade Stadium. Mississippi State won 62-7. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

As always, we start with the college stats. Let’s take a look at how Benardrick McKinney performed while at Mississippi State:

Defense & Fumbles

Averaging over 80 tackles per season is not to shabby for McKinney.  Yes, his tackles did drop off from his freshman to sophomore season, but his TFL’s went up.  McKinney spent more time in the offense’s backfield as he got older, which is a sign of a very actively tackler at the next level.  He broke up eight passes in his college career, showing an ability to drop into coverage well.

Next: NFL Combine

Feb 20, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; (Editors note: Caption correction) Mississippi State linebacker Benardrick McKinney speaks to the media at the 2015 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

More from The Jet Press

At the NFL Combine, Benardrick McKinney measured at 6’4″, and weighed 246 pounds. His arms measured at 33 inches, and his hands nine inches. He ran the forty in 4.66 seconds, and led the position in the vertical jump with a whopping 40.5 inches. Here is his analysis from his draft profile:

STRENGTHS: Tall, proportionally built inside linebacker with ability to play outside. Has thick, powerful legs. Good straight-line speed to chase. True take-on linebacker who can meet linemen head-on or beat them to the spot and leverage his gap with above average play strength. Scrapes and stalks while using length and powerful hands to keep himself free and clear of blockers. Steps into hole and fires into running back, finishing with wrap-up tackle. Able to run downfield in seam with tight ends. Aware of cutback lanes and rarely runs himself out of the play. Shows very good attention to assignment. Seems to have a nose for the play and is frequently in the mix. Has value on special teams and as a blitzer. Has adequate football intelligence.

WEAKNESSES: Plays high and is lacking suddenness. High center of gravity causes clunky change of direction in space. Foot quickness in tight quarters is below average and limiting. Instincts against run are there, but tends to fight his feet and marginal agility. Has trouble clearing the trash near his feet and labors against cut blocks, losing lateral momentum. Potential liability against the pass. Looks stiff when asked to cover in space and gives away too much separation to routes in his area in zone coverage.

Next: Video and Final Thoughts

There is a lot to like here with Benardrick McKinney. He seems very comfortable floating into pass coverage, as well as coming up to stop the run. He tracks the ball well, and is often around the ball carrier. He rarely gets redirected out of the play. McKinney doesn’t give up on the play, showing quite the high motor.

I do see where McKinney plays “high”. He does stand quite tall, and you can see on the tape that he is vulnerable to cut blocks. When there are guys around his feet, McKinney has a tough time getting by in order to get to the ball carrier. This does have to improve, but I believe, based on the little sampling, that McKinney can get there.

I don’t know if Benardrick McKinney is high second round level, but he is certainly worthy of a look by the New York Jets.

Next: Please Say No to Darrelle Revis