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Scouting Jets safety Derrick Kindred

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NFL: Preseason-Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

With the regular season just around the corner, we’re going to take a look at some more of the Jets’ offseason acquisitions, continuing today with Derrick Kindred.

Kindred is a 25-year old safety who was a fourth round pick out of TCU in 2016. He has started 17 games in three seasons, all with the Cleveland Browns. Kindred, who has also spent time with the Colts, has 148 tackles and two interceptions in his career so far.

Background

Kindred was a running back and safety in high school and originally committed to UTSA before changing his mind at the last minute and opting to attend TCU.

Having started just four games in his first two seasons, Kindred became a full-time starter as a junior in 2014 and was named as an honorable mention all-Big 12 selection after racking up 75 tackles and four interceptions.

He was then selected as a first team all-Big 12 selection in his senior year, after recording a career high 86 tackles and two interceptions. He ended his career with 229 tackles, 15 passes defensed and eight interceptions.

Kindred put together a solid performance at the scouting combine and ended up being drafted in the fourth round by the Browns. After a solid camp and preseason he was named as the third safety and got a chance to start five games due to injuries. He ended up with 46 tackles and five passes defensed.

In 2017, he had his best season as he started 10 games and registered a career high 57 tackles and seven passes defensed. He also made his first career interception.

However, in 2018, Kindred regressed. He made just two starts, recording 45 tackles and one interception. He was waived in April and claimed by the Colts, but they waived him just over a week ago.

Kindred already made his debut for the Jets on Saturday night and was credited with two tackles against Atlanta off the bench.

Now let’s take a look at what Kindred brings to the table, divided into categories.

Measurables/Athleticism

Kindred is only 5’10” so he’s pretty short for a safety but he has decent size and average length.

He put together some nice numbers at the scouting combine with a 4.50 40-yard dash, 17 bench press reps and good numbers in the vertical and broad jump. However, his agility numbers were below average.

Usage

Kindred has good versatility because he’s played both free and strong safety and as an extra linebacker. He’s also routinely matched up with opponents in the slot and sometimes out wide.

As a rookie he played more as a deep safety, but over the next two seasons, he’s played more in the box. Something the Browns often did with him over the past two years was to get him to creep up to the edge on the line of scrimmage.

Run defense

Arguably the main attribute that Kindred brings to the table is his ability to help out in run support. He already showcased those abilities with the Jets when he stuffed two runs in a row in his first game. The first was as he lined up in the slot and crashed down to make the stop, whereas the other came as he was lined up in the box.

Kindred will also come up in run support when he’s lined up deeper and covers a lot of ground in pursuit. He graded out well against the run in 2017, but poorly last season. He has 10 tackles for loss in his career and all 10 were in 2017.

Coverage skills

Kindred has been picked on quite a bit in coverage over the past few years. During his career he’s given up a catch rate of over 75 percent in coverage and has been beaten for nine touchdowns. Quarterbacks have a rating of almost 140 when targeting him and he’s given up a lot of big plays.

In man-to-man coverage, he’ll often be matched up with tight ends and he’s quick enough to stay with them and can break well on the ball.

However, bigger tight ends can also be too physical for him at times, both in terms of using their size to box him out or by creating natural separation when running routes against him.

Ball skills

Kindred had some good numbers in college with 15 passes defensed and eight interceptions. Since coming into the NFL he’s made some plays on the ball with 13 pass break-ups but only two interceptions, both of which came on passes that deflected up into the air while he was in center field.

He has just one penalty for illegal contact in his career and none for holding or pass interference.

Tackling

Missed tackles have been an issue for Kindred at the NFL level as he’s had 10 or more in each of his three seasons. His Browns coaches stated that making tackles in space was one area he needed to work on.

Kindred’s technique is lacking at times, as he’ll lunge at his man while not being balanced or having a solid base. As a result he often gets driven back while making the stop.

He’ll make big hits sometimes and will often try to strip the ball away at the end of the play, which he’s done successfully on a few occasions.

Blitzing

As noted, Kindred will often creep up to the edge before the snap and, while he’ll usually bail out and drop into coverage, he will blitz from time to time and has generated pressure at a decent rate when he did that.

He doesn’t have a sack in NFL regular season action and didn’t have one in college either, but he did make this play in a preseason game.

Special teams

Kindred has been a productive special teamer contributing on every unit. He’s rarely been employed as a gunner or vice, but has covered kicks well with nine special teams tackles in his career, including six last season.

He has two special teams penalties in his career, one of which was for running into the kicker.

Kindred returned two kick-offs for touchdowns in high school but has no return game experience at the college or pro level. However, he did recover an onside kick to set up a TCU touchdown once.

Instincts/Intelligence

Kindred’s instincts would appear to be his main weakness based on his film. While he’s played a lot of different roles, he has been error prone.

As a deep safety, he’s often out of position or late getting across in coverage support, which is probably why he’s been playing more in the box lately.

However, he has issues in the box too. He’ll often bite on play action and there was a play in a 2017 game where he was responsible for the back out of the backfield and instead rushed the quarterback, leading to an easy 61-yard touchdown.

He was also involved in a coverage mix-up with the Jets on Saturday night. As both slot receivers break off their route near the goal line, Parry Nickerson has to pick up the outside slot receiver but Kindred is too slow coming up to pick up the inside slot receiver and the Jets got lucky because a better pass would have led to an easy score.

Kindred also has two pre-snap penalties in his career, one of which saw him line up in the neutral zone on 4th-and-short.

Attitude

Nothing sums up Kindred’s attitude better than his senior year at TCU where he played the entire season with a broken collarbone. After the accident happened in practice, Kindred had the choice to either have season-ending surgery or play through the pain with extra padding and modify his tackling technique to protect it.

He opted for the latter and started all 13 games, saying that he did this to set an example for the younger players on the team. Clearly he brings good toughness and leadership to the table.

On the other hand, this play doesn’t portray Kindred in a positive light. He’s lined up as the slot receiver near the top of the screen but barely moves. That’s got to be either a complete lapse of focus or effort.

Injuries

While the collarbone injury was his only serious issue in college and didn’t actually lead to him missing any time, he has had a few injuries at the NFL level. His rookie year ended when he broke his ankle in December and his 2017 season also ended in December due to a wrist injury.

Scheme Fit

Kindred was reunited with Gregg Williams when the Jets claimed him, so there’s obviously some level of trust there, although he went from being a full-time starter to only starting two games in the two years playing for Williams.

Under Williams, Kindred made the transition from free safety to strong safety, so that will probably be his main role as he tries to make the Jets’ roster. Kindred should at least be comfortable within Williams’ system.

Conclusions

Kindred’s chances of making the team seem to have improved with Brandon Bryant suffering what appears to be a concussion in Saturday night’s game. Kindred should get more reps to show what he’s capable of against the Eagles on Thursday night.

He seems to be a player who Gregg Williams has some faith in and his versatility makes him the kind of player who is useful to retain on your roster as a reserve.

Kindred’s main competition for a roster spot is Doug Middleton and Godwin Igwebuike. If the Jets opt to keep five safeties and don’t claim one, he has a good chance of being on the 53. Practice squad is a definite possibility too, of course.