Gregg Williams liked linebacker Mychal Kendricks so much coming out of college he wanted to draft him.
So it goes without saying the Browns defensive coordinator was pleased was when Cleveland's front office signed the former Eagles standout earlier this month, giving one of the team’s most talented position groups another proven veteran.
“It’s kind of the circle of life. I wanted to draft him when he was coming out, but we did not get him picked soon enough at the other place that I was at,” said Williams, who has followed Kendricks’ career ever since Philadelphia selected him in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
“This is going to be fun to have a chance to coach him this time around.”
Kendricks, who spent the previous six seasons with the Eagles, gives the Browns’ already-impressive unit of linebackers, at the very least, additional depth and experience. While the Browns return starters Christian Kirksey, Jamie Collins and Joe Schobert, Cleveland’s coaching staff has made clear there’s no such thing as having too many good players — especially for a team coming off a winless season.
“He’s a great addition to the mix. I don’t think that you could have enough good players,” Williams said. “I think that he fits in perfectly here. One of the things that we do here – this staff will be better about this than they were last year because I kind of caught a couple of them off guard – is every player has to play more than one position. That’s how we have the flexibility of the ‘next man up’ during the season and how you play the next best athlete, not the next best on the depth chart. It is the next best athlete.”
“With our alignment sometimes, that guy does get in the middle. You’ll see that, all of a sudden, if you just drew it up there, Christian Kirksey is there and Joe Schobert is outside of him or Joe Schobert is now standing at a defensive end position or something like that as we move around. In terms of a home position, that’s where he will initially start out,” Blake Williams said.
Like his father, Blake, who was the Rams’ defensive coordinator and linebackers coach in 2012, said he’s long been a fan of Kendricks.
“I wanted to draft him badly in 2012 at the Rams. When we first got in there, we were in the market to draft a linebacker,” Blake Williams said. “I spent a ton of time with him when he was coming out through that process. Have always kind of kept up with him a little bit. Followed his career, watched his career.”
Now, he’s excited to coach him in Cleveland.