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Potential Patriots: Sergio Kindle

03.26.10 at 3:05 pm ET
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Each Friday leading up to next month’€™s NFL Draft, WEEI.com will focus on one player the Patriots could be targeting with the 22nd overall pick. Here are the draft prospects that have been put in the spotlight thus far:

Clemson DE/OLB Ricky Sapp

Michigan DE/OLB Brandon Graham

Penn State DT Jared Odrick

The defensive trend continues this week with Texas DE/OLB Sergio Kindle, who, like Sapp and Graham, would serve as a pass-rushing outside linebacker in the Patriots’ 3-4.

THE NUMBERS

Combine height: 6-foot-2 7/8

Combine weight: 250 pounds

40-yard dash time: 4.71

Bench reps: 25

Best season: 2008 (45 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, 10 sacks).

THE CASE

Kindle is versatile and experienced, including a junior year in which he played outside linebacker extensively before playing on the line as a senior. He has very similar measurables to Sapp, though he’s an inch shorter and therefore a little more than two inches below the Belichick Line of 6-foot-5. Still, Kindle has good speed for his size and hits hard, both of which assets were on display in the National Championship this year in which he recorded 2.5 sacks. His skill set should put him on a different level than the likes of Graham and Sean Weatherspoon, but it will almost certainly be more complicated than that.

Off-field issues are a huge issue with Kindle. His mother, who was reportedly a drug addict, disappeared when he was young, and it’s unfortunately that Kindle has had behavior issues since. His run-ins with the law include a DUI in 2007 and driving and texting leading to him hitting an apartment building 2009.  Whichever problems Kindle has had off the field don’t seem to accompany him on game day, however, as his intensity on the field has never been in question. On talent alone Kindle should be a Top 15 pick, but he could very well be available to the Patriots due to teams concerned with his criminal record.

THE PROOF

WHAT HE’S SAID

On potentially playing outside linebacker:

“That’€™s where I started. That’€™s the position that I played coming into college. I played it in 2008. It’€™s just the best for me that I learned how to play defensive end. I played defensive end this year and it makes me a little bit more versatile for whatever team takes me.”

On former teammate and 2009 first-round pick Brian Orakpo (as told to the Dallas Morning News):

“I want them to think of me as Orakpo, if not better. I hope he didn’t hear that. But you know, I learned a lot from Orakpo. He taught me half of the things I know about defensive end because I’m not a natural defensive end. I tried to give him pointers at linebacker. I guess he’s got it down now.”

WHAT THEY’VE SAID

Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN Draft Analyst:

“Kindle has proved surprisingly effective against the run despite questions about his size. But he has a long frame, could add some weight and has great value as a pass-rusher.”

Calvin Walker, brother of Sergio Kindle (as told to the New York Times):

‘€œWe used to always wonder, ‘€˜Where’€™s our mom?’€™ and things like that. We’€™re still trying to find her. We haven’€™t found her yet. We’€™ve been looking for years and never found her.’€

Read More: 2010 NFL Draft, Sergio Kindle,
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