Mississippi State LB Benardrick McKinney declaring for the NFL Draft per report


Mississippi State inside linebacker will forgo his senior season and declare for the 2015 NFL Draft, according to a report from Rend Gatlin of Yahoo Sports.  Potentially the top off ball linebacker in the 2015 draft, McKinney offers a unique combination of size and athleticism.  McKinney was a big part of a breakout season for the Bulldogs as they were the #1 team in the country for much of the season before losing three of their last four, including against Alabama, Ole Miss and then Georgia Tech in their bowl game.

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Listed at 6’5″ 249lbs, McKinney is an increasingly rare breed as most players with his athleticism and length are moved to a pass rushing position, whether it be defensive end or outside linebacker.  While McKinney offers a substantial amount of upside as a true Mike that can cover ground, he needs to continue to refine his technique at the next level.

The discussion could come down to the upside of a player like McKinney as opposed to a smaller, but more finished product in a player like Eric Kendricks of UCLA to be the top off ball linebacker in the class.  McKinney can further improve his prospects by testing well and continuing to make teams what he can become with the proper development.