Inside Linebacker #42
Senior, 6’2” 245
Kendell Beckwith is one of the premier linebacker prospects in the NFL draft after he turned down the chance to leave school after his junior season. Beckwith is an experienced player, with over 30 college starts and over 250 career tackles. He is a gifted athlete, combining rare speed and size, with great leadership qualities.
- Team leader
- Gets from cloudy to clear
- Big hitter
Beckwith is the glue that holds LSU’s defense together. His college production for one of the nation’s top units cannot be overstated. He is best when attacking the line of scrimmage to stop the run. Beckwith excels in getting from cloudy to clear, which can be translated as simply as finding a free lane and attacking it. For the most part, he is able to diagnose plays quickly and react accordingly.
Beckwith makes his best plays on interior runs like this, where he can find a lane and fill it quickly. He is special when it comes to downhill pursuit and would be best suited as a run-stuffing, two-down, inside linebacker.
- Rarely gets off blocks
- Poor coverage skills
- Inconsistent technique
- Guesses too often
- Sideline to sideline speed
For the most part I came away disappointed in Beckwith’s tape. For every splash play he makes, there are three or four plays that left me scratching my head. Beckwith is easily blocked due to his inability to use his hands to fight off blockers. If a lineman gets to Beckwith clean, you can forget about him making the play.
He is often found out of position due to his tendency to guess on the play. Beckwith seemed to regress when defending counter and misdirection run concepts, because his first step always goes wherever he saw the lineman go. For a guy as athletic as Beckwith, he doesn’t play nearly as fast as he is. There’s no chance he can cover running backs or tight ends at the next level. His effort this past season is also a question, after he seemed clearly disinterested, and playing in slow-motion more than a few times. Another major issue is how often he is caught flat-footed and standing straight up after the snap.
For whatever reason, Beckwith put his best tape together during his junior season. Whether or not he had an injury that hindered him this year is unknown, but NFL teams are going to do their digging and will figure out what went wrong.
Round Value: Late Two/Early Three
He’s going to need to clean up his technique, which is extremely possible. That beings said, there are some athletic deficiencies that will be problematic against spread out NFL offenses. Beckwith still could find himself sneaking into the second round based on his SEC pedigree and his attractive physical traits.
NFL Comparison: Denzel Perryman
Perryman had a very similar set of skills coming out of Miami, as has proven to be a terrific pick for the Chargers. Beckwith is a better athlete than Perryman, and could have similar success if he is placed into the correct situation.