There's a long way to go, and competition is still the name of the game, but it sure sounds like Mychal Kendricks is going to be the Eagles' SAM linebacker in 2011. Kendricks, arrived in Philadelphia for the first time Saturday and spilled the beans on the Eagles' expectations for their second-round pick.
"Their plans for me are to play SAM linebacker, cover the tight end, come down and cover in space," said Kendricks in his introductory press conference.
But don't confuse those plans, which head coach Andy Reid first disclosed after the team drafted Kendricks with the 46th overall pick, for any sort of hand-out. On the contrary, Kendricks plans to prove himself from the get-go.
"This is something that I have to earn," Kendricks told Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro. "I've always been at the bottom. I've always been blue collar. I've always been overlooked. I've always been the underdog. That's just how I'd rather have it.
"I don't ever want to be given anything. I've never been given anything. It tastes better and it's more sweet when you're not given anything and you go and you take it.
For Kendricks, the question has often been about his size. At 5-11, 249, Kendricks will be considered undersized for the SAM linebacker position, but he's been dealing with those doubters for a long time.
"The way I see it is, linemen can't touch me, running backs can't see me," said Kendricks. "It works out for me fine. For every one big step that a tight end takes, I'm taking two, so I'm tight on his hip. My cuts are a lot cleaner, my cuts are a lot tighter. That's how I feel and that's how I approach my game. That's how I handle my business."
The 2011 Pac-12 Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year, Kendricks is also notably strong against the run. He explained why.
"I'm strong at the point of attack," he said. "I run my feet, look at what I'm hitting and I give maximum effort. So I think those things combined make a good football player and a good tackler. I'm not always trying to get the big hit, I'm trying to get the guy down. It's a game of inches. I don't need the crowd to be ooh'd and aah'd, even though that's nice and we all want that, but at the end of the day I'm trying to get them down first and foremost."
Kendricks, who admitted that he didn't know much about the Eagles organization before the draft, echoed the feelings of many Eagles fans once he had a chance to scope out his new team.
"I've heard that it's a great organization, great team to play for, and I'm going to have a lot of fun," he said. "It's a great fit."
Make sure to follow us on Twitter @EaglesInsider.