Derion Kendrick was the third of four secondary players drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in 2022 - but after just two practices he’s making an early impression in training camp.
The Rams have been able to identify players in the later rounds of the draft that are capable of contributing in the secondary - and Kendrick could join a list of Jordan Fuller, Nick Scott, and Robert Rochell.
It wasn’t necessarily a surprise to see Kendrick fall to the sixth round of the draft - at Georgia he played on a defense that featured five players drafted in the first round in 2022 (plus Nakobe Dean who fell to the third round, but was considered a first round talent with injury concerns). It’s possible this historically talented defense concealed the cornerback’s flaws, or perhaps he was just as talented without the name recognition.
One of the biggest knocks on Kendrick’s scouting report was that he seemed to lack the top-end speed to run with NFL receivers down the field, and he failed to answer those concerns during the draft process.
It’s only two days, but Kendrick may be on his way to proving that this was not a fair criticism of his game - he’s been keeping up with one of the fastest receivers on the Rams roster so far in practices: Tutu Atwell.
I asked Nick Scott about some of these battles today and a grin spread across his face re. Derion Kendrick; cited another play he made on a jump ball to Robinson and added that the rookie Kendrick has already come out of his shell. https://t.co/iit3ATnX7p— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) July 25, 2022
While it’s not fair or wise to put too much stock in only a couple of days worth of practices, it’s encouraging to see Kendrick work towards shedding one of his reported weak spots as he transitions to the pro game. It’s important to keep in mind that defenses usually have the upper hand in the early days of camp, and that the preseason will likely be a stronger indication of any material development.
But Les Snead has struck gold in the later rounds of the draft before, and it wouldn’t be surprising to think he’s done it yet again.
Derion Kendrick has impressed during the first two days of Rams training camp, and he’s a name to watch over the coming weeks. Could he carve out a role in the Los Angeles secondary for the 2022 season?
Time will tell.