Kendrick Norton Jr., DL
School: Miami | Conference: ACC
College Experience: Jr | Age: 20?
Height / Weight: 6-3 / 312 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 5th Round
NFL Comparison: Davon Godchaux
Kendrick Norton surprised the Miami coaching staff with his decision to declare early for the draft. Norton along with his teammate R.J. McIntosh were the core of the Miami defensive line and it was reported that their draft decisions were tied together as both are close friends and roommates. Norton has had a good couple of seasons as a starter primarily played 1 tech in a four-man front at Miami but also played over the Center in the team’s other defensive packages. Norton has a decent get off when the ball is snapped and somewhat consistently demanded double teams by the opposing OL. He plugs gaps and tries to works with his hands to disengage from blocks and further collapse the pocket. The coaches may have been surprised because there is still a lot Norton needs to get a handle on technically. He has good size and strength to be a centerpiece of a defensive front but needs to go a better job of better timing his jump off the snap, consistently getting off blocks, improving leverage and reading the offense. Norton has shown great flashes in his career but will need time and development to become a starter in the middle of a defense. In the meantime, he offers teams solid depth and rotation as a DT that can plug gaps and offer a bit of pass rushing ability.
- Good size and strength for the position, big guy but size is overall well distributed throughout his body.
- Plays with his head up and vision is concentrated in the backfield. When he gets free it can lead to sacks and TFLs
- Excellent motor and effort he keeps working if he doesn't win initially.
- Particularly effective playing 0-tech one on one.
- Initial stance on the line is way too high, needs to get his bottom half lower to help with leverage.
- Movement in space is stiff and limited. Evident on stunts or when he has to change direction in pursuit. Would be TFLs or sacks are lost because of this.
- Limited athleticism is going to limit his production. Right now he’s a disruptor he’s going to need a lot of work to become a playmaker.
Let’s see his work:
Thinking about blocking DT Kendrick Norton Jr. with your Center? Don't. pic.twitter.com/LepAdcvcjF— Kyle Crabbs (@NDTScouting) January 10, 2018
Without Kendrick Norton, the Canes have nobody on the 2018 depth chart who can turn an opponent's leg into a guitar. pic.twitter.com/lCWadC7dYH— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) January 8, 2018
How He Would Fit On The Redskins
The top end talent and depth at the DL position is thin this year and while I’m all for the Redskins selecting a top DL in the 1st or 2nd rounds I think drafting a developmental player like Norton later in the draft would be a smart move. As we found out last year the Redskins need depth at the DL position more specifically at the DT/NT position. It would be wise for the Redskins to pick up a player who can rotate in and out of the position and provide support for the line immediately while still honing their skills. Norton has the physical tools to play both DT/NT in both base schemes he needs help with some technical fundamentals which I think a coach like Tomsula can provide in addition to teaching him how to read the run better. The Redskins need a player that can provide some push over the top in the middle of the defense - it’s what Norton is good at. I think Norton has a good amount of upside and has the potential to be groomed into a potential starter. Having watched this kid at Miami he never quite lived up to his recruitment status but he did get better and had more impact each year he played and grew a lot in Manny Diaz’s defense. I think his best days are ahead of him if he lands on the right team.