PROS: Has good speed and closing burst on the ball. Is a good athlete that moves well in space. Can make plays in pursuit and does a nice job wrapping up as a tackler there, using his superior strength. Can play with his hand on or off the ground. Shows a nice first step as a pass rusher, flashing burst and ability to turn the corner. Has a nice bull rush off the edge. Has a nice motor as a pass rusher. Uses long arms to get leverage and can hold the point of attack.
CONS: Has a limited repetoire of pass rush moves, and overly relies on edge speed and bull rush to beat blocker. Doesn't really make plays at the point of attack, and struggles to get off blocks and shed blockers, even when working against tight ends. Can get engulfed by blockers at the point of attack and really struggles when double teamed. Has a limited role in coverage. At times can be hesitant and lacks a killer instinct when coming off the corner. Limits how many plays he can make in the backside pursuit. Doesn't consistently play with great recognition and can get caught out of position when playing contain on the edge.
OVERVIEW: Kindle is a very talented athlete, but is somewhat raw and inconsistent. He has the tools to be a top playmaker. He played with his hand off the ground more the past two years in Texas hybrid 3-4 scheme, but was used in both roles at end and linebacker to take advantage of matchups. Had his best season as a senior with career high 70 tackles, 22 for loss, and 4 pass breakups. Also forced 2 fumbles. Sack total dropped from 10 sacks as a junior to 5.5 as a senior. Had some minor injury and off-field issues. Most recently suffered a concussion after suffering a car accident in June 2009. MIssed 3 games in 2007 due to suspension from DUI arrest. And missed a few games in his first two years because of a bum ankle and right knee.
NFL FORECAST: Kindle projects best in a 3-4 scheme that will allow him to get upfield as a pass rusher. While he is a capable pass rusher when he puts his hand on the ground, he is not going to be as effective in the pros because of how fairly one-dimensional he is. He could be a nice situational pass rusher at end for a 4-3 team. There is some hope to play him as a hybrid guy like Brian Orakpo did in Washington this past year. But he's not as good a pass rusher with his hand on the ground as Orakpo is/was, so don't go expecting double digit sacks but is more likely to get 3-5 sacks in such a role. He doesn't appear to be a very instinctual player that is able to make plays more because of his athleticism. So there is boom/bust potential with him. Although I imagine if teams limit his responsibilities outside being a situational pass rusher early on, then I think he can be developed. He's athletic enough to be able to match up in coverage against the tight end and backs, but I think he's a work in progress there because of how very little he had to do at Texas, as they wanted him to get upfield. And he's not a great run defender at the point of attack, and was continually dominated at the point of attack by Alabama's Colin Peek in the championship game. Peek isn't exactly a great blocker, and there are much better ones in the pros, so that is a major concern to me. I think there is a possibility that in a few years we're talking about him the same way we talk about Vernon Gholston, and that makes me weary. But if he does live up to his potential, then I could easily see a player on par with a Joey Porter in his prime.
ATL FORECAST: Kindle would likely be used in the hybrid role that Orakpo played last year, working as a lineabcker on running downs, and then moving down to end as a pass rusher. He can play that role, but he wouldn't excel in that role. As an end, he would help the rotation, but he wouldn't be a good enough pass rusher to consistently put Abraham or Biermann on the bench. I'm not even convinced he would get more reps there than Sidbury. And while his upside at linebacker is certainly higher than Nicholas, it remains to be seen if he is mentally prepared to defend the run. I think he could be fine there even if it's because he's just getting by off his athleticism. He's such a good athlete that I think he wouldn't be a significant drop-off from Nicholas on first and second down. So there is a fairly good chance he could start as a rookie as the Falcons try to get faster, and more athletic. I'm not sure he would earn the job in a fair battle, but he could win it because the coaches want to develop him by the trial by fire method. The issue with Kindle is whether he has the ability to make significant improvements down the road. He'll definitely be pushed hard by the coaches, but there's a decent possibility that people are waiting around for him to become a consistent, impact player many years down the line.
VALUE: He's got first round talent, but I'm skeptical enough about his instincts that makes me reluctant to draft him there unless I was a 3-4 team picking in the twenties that could afford to develop him for at least a year. Otherwise, I'd take him in the second round.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
POINT OF ATTACK: 2.0
PASS RUSH: 4.0
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.