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Benardrick McKinney | Linebacker

Team: Mississippi State Bulldogs
Ht / Wt:  6'5' / 245

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Texans traded up to select Mississippi State ILB Benardrick McKinney with the No. 43 overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft.
McKinney (6'4/246) made 36 starts at middle linebacker for Mississippi State, piling up 19.5 TFLs, 7.5 sacks, and six fumble recoveries before turning pro. He was a second-team All American in 2014. McKinney showed standout athleticism at the Combine, running 4.66 with a freakish 40 1/2-inch vertical and 10-foot-1 broad jump. McKinney may be too stiff to excel in pass coverage in the NFL, but has drawn comparisons to Dont'a Hightower for his aggressive downhill nature and A-gap blitzing skills. McKinney will indeed play the Hightower role in Romeo Crennel's defense, alongside Brian Cushing at inside linebacker. May 1 - 8:09 PM

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An NFL scout said he could see Mississippi State ILB Benardrick McKinney "filling that Dont'a Hightower role" as a "big ol' guy taking on guards."

"Great kid, great character," a second scout told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "Brandon Spikes wasn't the athlete but same kind of player. Benardrick has to prove he can be impactful on third (down) and sub. Is he going to be Lavonte David or Mychal Kendricks on first and second downs as well as play third down? He's definitely a stud vs. the run." To that point, McKinney had 243 tackles (19½ for loss) in college. "Stiff in coverage," another scout said. "Straight-line fast. First- and second-down thumper. He can take you on."
Apr 30 - 7:31 PM

TFY Draft Insider's Tony Pauline reports that Mississippi State ILB Benardrick McKinney spent "an extensive amount of time the past few days" with the Denver Broncos and Dallas Cowboys.

The analyst previously reported on the Broncos' interest in McKinney. For their part, the Cowboys scheduled a last minute workout with the Bulldog. "Today I’m told if Kevin Johnson is unavailable when the Cowboys are on the clock in round one they will strongly consider either McKinney or Eric Kendricks," Pauline wrote. "I’ve heard so much chatter connecting the Cowboys and McKinney the past three weeks I’ve got to believe where there’s smoke there’s fire."
Apr 29 - 12:43 AM

Pro Football Focus' Mike Renner passed along that "all of our analysts who broke down his games agreed they wouldn't trust [Mississippi State ILB Benardrick McKinney] as anything more than a two-down linebacker."

"That still has value, but not early-round value," Renner wrote. McKinney is a divisive prospect. He boasts elite size (6-foot-4, 246 pounds) and athleticism (4.66 in the 40-yard dash; 40.5-inch vertical leap), but some evaluators say they just don't see those skills all the time on film. This is what they're talking about: "McKinney's 0.81 yards per coverage snap was below the class average of 0.71, and he made a paltry five stops in coverage all season, 66th among inside linebackers (Eric Kendricks led with 28)," Renner wrote. "His biggest problem was bringing down receivers in space, as he had only seven solo tackles in coverage, compared to five missed tackles."
Source: ESPN.com
Apr 26 - 2:39 PM

TFY Draft Insider's Tony Pauline reports the Rams will "target linebackers early in the draft" and "love" Mississippi State ILB Benardrick McKinney.

"The team worked out McKinney last week and came away very impressed," Pauline wrote. "The tenth pick of round one is too early for McKinney which lends many to believe the Rams could trade down in the first round or trade up from the second round to secure McKinney." The 6-foot-4, 245-pounder projects best as an edge rusher or two-down thumper in a 3-4. He recorded 243 total tackles, 7.5 sacks, eight passes defended, and one forced fumble during his MSU career.
Apr 22 - 12:40 AM

Scouts Inc. projects Mississippi State ILB Benardrick McKinney as a 4-3 middle linebacker.

"But he has the size and athleticism to be a strong inside linebacker and even a 3-4 outside linebacker or 4-3 right defensive end," wrote Todd McShay. McKinney will attend the NFL Draft in Chicago, an indication that there's a chance he could go in Round 1 (though we see Round 2 as a more likely possibility). The 6-foot-4, 245-pounder, who boasts an impressive combination of size and athleticism, recorded 243 total tackles, 7.5 sacks, eight passes defended, and one forced fumble during his MSU career.
Apr 18 - 11:37 PM

Miss State LB Benardrick McKinney is visiting the Rams on Tuesday, according to Tony Pauline.

The Rams could use a linebacker like McKinney, as we think their players are the position are some of the more overrated ones in the NFL. McKinney is a no nonsense defender, wanting to play at the line of scrimmage with aggression. However, he can absolutely falter when sucked in on play action and tends to struggle with recovery.
Apr 14 - 10:16 AM

Miss State LB Benardrick McKinney is scheduled to visit the Cowboys, Ravens, Browns, Vikings and Texans, according to Ian Rapoport and Aaron Wilson.

Per Rapoport, McKinney was scheduled to visit the Cowboys on Monday but was sick and rescheduled. We doubt the linebacker is selected in the first round (other than the Panckers), but McKinney offers thumping skills and agility to work through trash. He fits the old school mentality but has success against "new school" systems.
Apr 7 - 12:55 PM

TFY Draft Insider Tony Pauline reports that Mississippi State ILB Benardrick McKinney has received an invitation to attend the NFL Draft in Chicago.

The 6-foot-4, 245-pound McKinney's combination of size and athleticism has gotten the attention of many LB-needy teams drafting in the first two rounds. The Mississippi State prospect was quite busy during his career, racking up 243 total tackles, 7.5 sacks, eight passes defended, and one forced fumble. While McKinney gets knocked for his ability in space, he projects best best as an edge rusher or two-down thumper in a 3-4.
Apr 6 - 3:20 PM

Mississippi State ILB Benardrick McKinney grades out as NFL Media draft analyst Lance Zierlein's No. 2 linebacker.

The analyst compares him to Brian Cushing. McKinney has also been compared to Dont'a Hightower. "Productive, steady performer in the middle with above-average size and length for the position but below-average agility," Zierlein wrote. "McKinney plays within the scheme and finds himself near the play frequently. He plays with strength and has an ability to take on offensive linemen and get downhill to finish his tackles. McKinney looks like an above-average NFL inside linebacker who could become part of a really good defense. He lacks star-making talent, though." McKinney, who recorded 243 total tackles and 7.5 sacks over his college career, has been "drawing strong interest from the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Miami Dolphins, Chicago Bears and New York Jets," TFY Draft Insider's Tony Pauline reported recently. He led MSU in tackles in 2014 and 2013 and was named First Team All-SEC and Second Team All-American in 2014.
Source: NFL.com
Mar 26 - 1:59 AM

Mississippi State ILB Benardrick McKinney is the type of "dedicated player coaches love, although somebody must decide where he will best fit in the NFL -- inside linebacker, outside linebacker or maybe defensive end," noted NFLDraftScout.com's Frank Cooney.

McKinney (6-foot-4 1/8, 246 pounds) ran a 4.66 forty at the combine, though he hoisted up only 16 reps on the bench. "I think I'm a football player. You've got to do those (workouts) to stay healthy and stay on top of your game, but I'm a better football player than a track star," said McKinney. McKinney, who recorded 243 total tackles and 7.5 sacks over his college career, has been "drawing strong interest from the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Miami Dolphins, Chicago Bears and New York Jets," TFY Draft Insider's Tony Pauline reported recently. Concluded Cooney: "He is still improving his ability to diagnose offenses, but McKinney's explosive speed compensates for any milliseconds lost while reading and reacting. Although not a vicious hitter, McKinney fearlessly takes on lead blockers, often creating a play-ending pile even if he doesn't get the tackle."
Source: CBS Sports
Mar 22 - 8:00 PM

Mississippi State ILB Benardrick McKinney is visiting the 49ers, Cowboys, Broncos and Texans, per TFY Draft Insider Tony Pauline.

The 6-foot-4, 245-pound McKinney was quite productive in his time at Mississippi State. McKinney recorded 243 total tackles, 7.5 sacks, eight passes defensed, and one forced fumble during his college career. The Mississippi State prospect has the ideal size and length for the position at the next level, but gets knocked for being a possible liability in the passing game. McKinney shows a nose for the football and possess good speed and athleticism for his size. To improve his stock, McKinney will have to prove to evaluators that he's more than just a two-down thumper.
Mar 17 - 2:54 PM

Miss State LB Benardrick McKinney is visiting the Eagles on Monday and Tuesday, per Tony Pauline.

This counts as one of the Eagles' 30 allotted in-house visits. McKinney's NFL projection is an interesting one. He's an old school thumper at middle linebacker, but might be able to stay on the field as a drop linebacker at the line of scrimmage in an odd man front. He will likely be selected in the top two rounds.
Mar 16 - 10:40 AM

Mississippi State ILB Benardrick McKinney showed "light feet and quick, heavy hands" during pass rush drills at his pro day, according to an NFL scout.

"[Those are] traits that have scouts from 3-4 and 4-3 teams alike intrigued," wrote CBS Sports' Rob Rang. The 6-foot-4, 246-pound McKinney has been "drawing strong interest from the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Miami Dolphins, Chicago Bears and New York Jets," TFY Draft Insider's Tony Pauline reported recently.
Source: CBS Sports
Mar 5 - 9:59 PM

Mississippi State ILB Benardrick McKinney "looked good in pass-rush drills" at Wednesday's pro day, noted TFY Draft Insider Tony Pauline.

The analyst reported earlier that McKinney met with the New York Jets, who reportedly have great interest in the Bulldog prospect and have a potential ILB vacancy with David Harris testing free agency. Connecting the dots a bit more, New York Jets defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers was on hand to watch McKinney's workout. Almost 30 teams in all were represented at the scouting event.
Mar 4 - 9:45 PM