Mychal Kendricks should develop rapidly alongside DeMeco Ryans in the Philadelphia Eagles‘ linebacking corps. The second-year linebacker out of Cal has much to prove in 2013 after a rookie season that featured its share of growing pains.
After starting off his rookie season strong during the first three weeks of the 2012 campaign, the rookie second-rounder tailed off markedly and would finish 42nd out of 43 qualifying 4-3 outside linebackers in Pro Football Focus grading. However, it’s hard to hold every young player on this squad to task after the way Philly unraveled during the final days of theAndy Reidregime.
Kendricks has the talent to both knife through blocks and cover tight ends at strongside backer — or inside where he should play a fair amount in 2013 — and has the entire offseason to mull over his 955 pro snaps and improve.
“It’s already easier,” said Kendricks during mini-camps, via PhillyMag.com. “It’s crazy, knowing the formations and knowing the count without even having to look. “Everything slows down the second year. It’s crazy, I can’t explain it.”
Kendricks can also get after the quarterback, though that went largely untapped under former defensive coordinator Todd Bowles last season. His 8.5 sacks at Cal in 2010 showed an impressive ability to generate pressure on the blitz and bring down the quarterback. Yet in 2012, the Eagles had Kendricks rush the passer just 37 times compared to 471 snaps in pass coverage.
New Coach Chip Kelly and more specifically defensive coordinator Bill Davis will probably dream up a more diversified attack for the young linebacker.