Draft 2022 – Pick #5: Derion Kendrick, CB, Georgia

Player Bio
Kendrick came to Clemson as a top-five receiver prospect nationally and top 30 overall recruit. The South Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior played quarterback his final two years at South Pointe High School, which won four straight state titles while Kendrick was there. He lined up as a reserve receiver in 15 games as a true freshman (15-210-14.0 receiving; 5-36-7.2 rushing) while the team won a national title before moving to cornerback the following spring. His play as a rookie at the position was so good that ACC coaches named him second-team all-conference (44 tackles, three for loss, two interceptions, one returned for a score, five pass breakups). Kendrick was a first-team all-league selection as a junior, leading the Tigers with six pass breakups in nine games (also 17 tackles, one interception, eight starts). However, he missed three games that season for various reasons, including disciplinary. He was dismissed from Clemson in February 2021 for what was termed repeated violations of team rules. He was arrested in March 2021 for unlawful gun and marijuana possession (charges were later expunged after a pre-trial intervention program). Kendrick transferred to Georgia, where he garnered second-team All-SEC honors (41 tackles, two for loss, three pass breakups) and led the national champions with four interceptions in 15 starts. He was named the Orange Bowl Defensive MVP after intercepting two passes to help the Bulldogs win their semifinal matchup with Michigan. — by Chad Reuter

By Lance Zierlein
NFL Analyst
Draft Projection
Round 6
NFL Comparison
Darius Phillips

Cornerback with four years of playoff experience and two national titles under his belt. Kendrick has played against some of the best wideouts in the game but has a history of struggling in some of those matchups. He lacks speed and strength to stay outside but his quickness and route recognition should help him move inside as a nickel. He’s athletic and capable underneath with excellent ball skills but can be exploited by long speed and needs safety help in those matchups. He’s unreliable as a tackler, but concerns over character and maturity appear to be a bigger issue for him. Talent and those concerns need to be weighed, but Kendrick has CB3/CB4 potential in the right scheme.

  • Has played in scheme-diverse defenses.
  • Experienced in multiple seasons of high-leverage football.
  • Slide and weave footwork matching the release.
  • Eliminates excess space between himself and the target.
  • Former wideout with good pattern recognition.
  • Short-area twitch to hound route breaks.
  • Plays into route angles.
  • Excellent awareness with soft hands to take it away.
  • Had two interceptions versus Michigan in national semifinal win.
  • Kick return talent over his first two years at Clemson.
  • Arrested in March 2021 on drug and gun charges that were later expunged.
  • Dismissed from Clemson prior to 2021 spring practices.
  • Picked on by LSU and Ohio State in playoff matchups.
  • Unable to keep pace with downfield speed.
  • Could get big-boyed by possession receivers.
  • Loses physical battle when tackling after catch.
  • Stays glued to blocking wideouts in run support.

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