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- Position: Linebacker (LB)
- Class: Junior (redshirt)
- College: Mississippi State
- Ht/Wt: 6'4", 246 pounds
Benardrick McKinney is a big linebacker with underrated athleticism who doesn't have a stand-out skill yet. While he holds up against linemen in the running game, he can still get better at disengaging from blocks. McKinney needs to square up his feet to generate more power. He isn't great as an extra blitzing man, but can line up as an edge rusher and get some success.
McKinney processes plays well, and when he can see the play he usually makes a good decision on where to go. He's not the fastest at changing direction; a shifty tight end will get open against him pretty well. McKinney was mostly used for zone coverage as a middle linebacker, and he didn't do much man coverage. He's frequently in on plays, and is a hard-hitting tackler, but needs to tighten up his pass coverage.
I like McKinney as a future NFL starter at linebacker. He flashed good athleticism at the Combine, has size to work with, and his game is already fairly solid. The biggest challenge facing him is if he can provide enough value in the passing game to be a three-down linebacker. Until his coverage skills improve, I'd grade him in the late second, early third round as a future starting NFL player.