6’4” 255 lbs. Texas
Strengths: Height, quickness, and pass-rushing ability.
Weaknesses: Coverage ability as a linebacker, size and strength as an end.
With a lot of teams in the NFL running 3-4 defensive fronts, requiring the outside linebackers to get to the quarterback more often, Sergio Kindle should be a hot commodity come draft day. With his reputation as a versatile pass-rusher who shows up for big games, he should find a new home in the NFL fairly quickly.
In 2006 he was arguably the best linebacker coming out of high school and has not disappointed during his time in Austin. In his first two seasons he was not listed as a starter but did receive plenty of playing time, getting 53 tackles, seven of which went for a loss.
Although Texas runs a 4-3 Kindle saw a lot of action behind the line of scrimmage at both defensive end and linebacker, stopping the run on his way to the quarterback. In ’08 he gobbled up 10 sacks and doubled his career tackle with another 53 tackles. He was a First Team Big 12 selection for his efforts and could’ve come out and entered the draft early.
After deciding to come back for his senior season he helped Texas field one of the nation’s best defenses. As a unit they ranked third in the NCAA in total defense (251.1 ypg), first in rushing defense (62.2 ypg), and 23rd in pass defense (188.9 ypg). Personally, Kindle added 62 tackles (18 for a loss), three sacks, four passes defended, two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery to his resume. His efforts again got him All-Conference Honors as well as All-American Honors. In the end the team found itself undefeated, facing an invitation to play Alabama for the BCS Title.
In the national championship game against Alabama Kindle dominated the second half, showing his heart and leadership abilities after the Longhorn’s lost quarterback Colt McCoy to a shoulder injury early and did not return. Kindle ended the game with six tackles, two assists, and 2.5 sacks. His efforts played a huge part in keeping Texas in that game and nearly won it for them down the stretch.
Kindle seems like a prototypical 3-4 outside linebacker. He is tall and rangy, possessing long arms and the quickness to get past tackles on the edge. He is also strong enough to engage blockers and get off them to make a play. His open field tackling is good and he has the ability to punish a ball carrier or passer when he gets a clean shot on them. He reminds some people of a Simeon Rice or Jevon Kearse type of player due to his size and similar abilities.
Kindle hasn’t really displayed good coverage skills and may struggle if asked to cover NFL tight ends and running backs. He doesn’t have great speed or the awareness to get downfield and make plays on the ball. He also could stand to get a little stronger and learn to use a little more leverage when engaging opponents and stuffing running lanes. Scouts will be looking for smoothness and fluidity in his hips during drills on top of a good forty time at the combine. More than 30 reps on the bench would also help put an end to any questions about his strength.
With the right coaching and a scheme that fits his skills, there is no doubt that Kindle could be an All-Pro player. If he has a good showing at the combine he could find himself among the top five players selected in the draft. He is already considered by many to be the best pass rushing linebacker available.
The Cleveland Browns are in need of help rushing the passer on defense and they possess the seventh pick overall. Could Kindle be getting a phone call from Mike Holmgren in the near future?
College Career Stats:
- 107 Solo Tackles
- 44 Assisted Tackles
- 14 Solo Sacks
- 5 Assisted Sacks
- 5 Passes Defended
- 3 Forced Fumbles
- 17 QB Hurries
- 1 Blocked Kick