Scouting Report: Obviously, when you see Kindle you have no doubt you are looking at an elite athlete. He's got an incredible physique and I saw that with confidence in my manhood. He's a superb athlete. Kindle has made the transition from linebacker to that "Buck" DE spot, and it's caused a significant drop in statistics. Clearly he's out of position, and will need to move back to be strictly a linebacker in the NFL. Kindle's strength is good but his quickness and burst are better. But when he's working with his hand on the ground, he loses something in his technique especially against the run. When he is able to get penetration he's able to chase and tackle the ball carrier and is surprisingly a very good tackler. Even though he's not been able to accumulate a ton of sacks, he's still able to generate a lot of pressure on the quarterback, and actually does a better job getting in the backfield on run plays from the Buck position. I think if you want to see more about where Kindle can be in the NFL, you have to look at him in 2008 rather than 2009.
Draft Status: I had Kindle rated very high going into the season. As in a top 10 pick, but the move to DE, to try and replace Brian Orakpo hasn't been a successful experiment. How high he ends up being drafted will depend on a couple of things. First, how committed is he to playing DE at the next level. I think his future is as a 3-4 rush OLB, and with the number of 3-4 base defenses, there should be a spot for him in the first two rounds. The next factor for him will be his offseason. There is a chance that Kindle is going to measure off the charts in his workouts. If he does, you know a team will fall in love with him (Al Davis anyone?), he could then find himself in the bottom of the first round/top of the 2nd round. A far cry from where he was at the start of the season.
Final Analysis: Let me explain that I think Kindle is the same player he was last season. But a year out of position has hurt his stock, but not his skills. I think a lot of people assumed Kindle would flourish at end, and in some aspects like TFLs and total tackles he did well but his sacks dropped and that's what his money maker is. Standing up, his first step is tremendous, and he can certainly be a double digit sack guy in the NFL from the rush OLB. And his instincts for finding the ball carrier and bringing him down is also promising. But here's a few things I see Kindle needs to do. He's got to work better in a phone booth. In space he's awesome, but in tight quarters, he struggles. He's got to maintain his conditioning. Can't be sucking for breath if you want to be an every down player. He has to get stronger in his upper body if he's going to beat tackles on a consistent basis. And he's got to do a better job working through the play on pass plays. A lot of his pressures could have been sacks if he's worked the back that picked him up. Instead he eases up, still gets pressure, but misses the sack. On the other side, he's solid in coverage and an exceptional tackler.
Reminds me of: Shaun Phillips, LB San Diego Chargers. Similar physical types and athleticism. Both struggle with strength and effort and are up and down with their play.
Red Flags: Off-field, Character
Scouting Report written by Curt Popejoy