With the 2016 NFL Draft coming up, Kendricks discussed the things he’s learned from his time in the league in hopes of passing down those lessons to players who are now going through a similar process. Read what the linebacker had to say about his journey.
On What To Expect From The Draft
“I would say not to expect too much of anything going into the draft because the way the draft works is that anything can happen with teams, decisions and even with your own expectations. You can get thrown for a loop. Just ride the wave and take it for what it is. Once you get in the league, let your impression be felt. Take full opportunity of the change that’s given. For those who don’t get drafted, going into the league is going to be a hard road but it’s one that’s been done before. Some of the best players are in that same position and they’ve exceeded expectations.”
On His Emotions During Draft Weekend
“Draft weekend I was nervous. It was nerve-wracking not knowing where I fell in other people’s eyes and what they thought of me, even with a good performance at the Combine. I talked to people who had been in the league prior to that and I understood going into it that anything could happen. When I fell out of the first round, I was really, really sad and depressed. I thought that I was never going to get drafted, but I had six other rounds to go. It just didn’t seem that way. Just stay calm and don’t get overly excited because once you get to the league, everyone is on the same playing field. Getting drafted is one thing, but being in the league and making your impression in the NFL and staying in the league and becoming everything you want to be in the league is a whole other thing. Just get through the first process and when you get to that second process, take full advantage.”
“It is a tough road entering the NFL. There’s a lot of pressure situations that you feel that you have a responsibility for that you really don’t control, but as a young guy, a young man, it’s kind of hard to understand that. I feel like with all the linebackers that you study as a player, you see where you can fit in. You have to understand yourself before you understand others. When you understand what hasn’t been done, that’s what you should try and do. You should try and set the bar and try to do things that haven’t been done before. That’s what I’m trying to do. Whether I achieve that or not, just know that that’s what I’m trying to do. They should definitely try to innovate and separate themselves in the league.”
On How To Become A Leader
“I think being able to shut my mouth and listen was a big thing. You’ve got to be able to listen before you can respond. A good listener makes a good leader, someone who is willing to listen and take in constructive criticisms and ask a lot of questions. Now I’ve gained enough knowledge to pass that down to the ones below me and that’s how it works. There are still times when I’m confused and still drawn back by the way that real business can be run, which is how the NFL is run. I still reach out for help. I still don’t have all the answers, but there’s nothing like going through the experience to gain experience. You can prepare all you want, but you won’t be a complete person until you go through the experience.”