Sep 20, 2014; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs linebacker Benardrick McKinney (50) tackles LSU Tigers running back Kenny Hilliard (27) during the third quarter of a game at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
#1 Bernardrick McKinney, Linebacker, Mississippi State
McKinney could be described as an “all-arounder” at the linebacker positions. He can play inside and on the strong side of either 7-man front. The former Bulldog is fast (4.66 forty), is HUGE (6’4″, 245 lbs) and explosive (40″ vertical leap). Given his size, he should excel as a run-thumper in the middle of a defense who sheds blocks to take down ball-carriers.
Despite the formidable intangibles, he does not. McKinney has trouble navigating through traffic and shedding blocks. 16 bench press reps (numbers of a slot receiver) at the NFL Combine undermine a major weakness: a lack of upper body strength. This flaw kept the prospect from making more plays in college, once engaged he could not rid himself of blockers. I disagree with the assessment of McKinney as a late first-rounder. His limited agility will keep him from staying on the field for passing downs. Therefore, I project McKinney to be a solid contributor at the next level but would not select him before the late second round.