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Draft Prospect Profile: Mississippi State LB Benardrick McKinney



His frame and his willingness to grapple with offensive linemen when needed -- and dodge them near the line of scrimmage -- suits a 3-4 defense with a smaller nose tackle perfectly. Near the line of scrimmage, McKinney is usually on the attack.

Before the snap, McKinney is capable of setting the defense, leaning on his background as a high-school quarterback to get everyone aligned. But to handle that kind of role in the NFL, he'd have to become an every-down linebacker, since two-down 'backers don't usually get the helmet with the radio receiver.

That means his coverage ability must improve -- and he acknowledged that to the media at the Combine.

McKinney's game speed in the open field isn't as fast as the solid Combine numbers that he put up. But if he can channel his workout results into his NFL play, he could grow as a coverage linebacker, particularly against tight ends, when he can use his height and his 33-inch arms to deflect some passes downfield.


The question on McKinney is whether his speed and quickness will allow him to be an every-down linebacker in the 3-4, although his 40 time, quickness and lateral agility numbers were promising from his Combine workouts.

If he does play every down, he could see occasional use as a pass rusher. he has the size -- and, based on his workout numbers, the raw speed -- to be a solid supplemental pass rusher from the inside for a team that wants to get aggressive in its blitzing. He said at the Combine that he saw some work at defensive end in practice for Mississippi State last summer, although that's something that would be a limited option, at best.


Weight:246 pounds
Arm:33 inches (T-8th among 34 Combine LBs)
Hand:9 inches (T-30th among 34 Combine LBs)
Bench Press:16 repetitions (T-28th among 29 Combine LBs)
40-yard dash:4.66 seconds (10th among 29 Combine LBs)
Vertical jump:40.5 inches (2nd among 28 Combine LBs)
Broad jump:10 feet, 1 inch (T-5th among 28 Combine LBs)
Three-cone drill:7.21 seconds (T-11th among 22 Combine LBs)
Short shuttle:4.27 seconds (T-9th among 23 Combine LBs)

PROJECTION:Late Round 1 to early Round 2.

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