2022 NFL Draft: Does Derion Kendrick Belong In Round 1 Conversation?

Bulldogs CB Derion Kendrick. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Bulldogs CB Derion Kendrick. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

Could Georgia corner Derion Kendrick be the latest in the loaded class that is the 2022 NFL Draft to enter first round discussion?

It’s been a long journey for Georgia CB Derion Kendrick. He originally was brought to Clemson to be a wide receiver and got to watch his school secure a national title back in 2018. He made the switch to corner for the 2019 season, and amassed two interceptions and 11 pass breakups in two seasons there. After an odd situation with Clemson, Dabo Swinney, and their staff, Kendrick was dismissed and had to look for another program.

Georgia came calling with open arms, and it’s been quite a season for Kendrick. In 13 regular season games, Kendrick had two interceptions and three pass breakups, nothing overly exciting. But, it’s how much more comfortable he has looked at Georgia that has the draft world buzzing.

Kendrick has done a ton of press-bail technique, opening up quickly after the snap to work in what many call “half-man” or “side saddle” technique, with his hips open to the center of the field. He’s been smooth working in his transitions and has also succeed in some off-man coverage as well. Kendrick has been a physical player at the line when asked to press and stays physical throughout route stems and at the top.

His experience as a receiver has certainly helped him with route recognition and how to read receivers throughout their routes. Kendrick is a plus tracker when the ball is in the air as well, and is good at turning around to locate.

Derion Kendrick has continued that play in the playoff, picking off two passes against Michigan with good instincts and tracking skills. While the front seven has been the story, Kendrick has helped anchor the back end. He’s got plenty to prove down at the Senior Bowl, and carries some off-field baggage to have teams inquiring, but his play on the field could warrant first round discussion in the 2022 NFL Draft. In a loaded corner class, Kendrick can still shine.