Sergio Kindle is an awesome talent but has yet to get on the field because of a fractured skull he suffered in July of 2010. Kindle was projected as the best 3-4 outside linebacker in the 2010 draft but fell to the second round because of character issues.
Like many Ravens fans, I was elated when the Ravens picked Kindle. He has a great first step and plays with a high motor and level of passion the Ravens covet in their players.
What is really interesting about Kindle being drafted is that Rob Gronkowski went one pick before Kindle to the New England Patriots. The Patriots and Ravens shared needs in that draft. They both needed outside linebackers and tight ends. If the Patriots had passed on Gronkowski and picked Kindle instead, I believe Gronkowski would be a Raven. The Ravens later addressed their tight end need when they drafted Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta in the fourth and fifth rounds respectively.
It is amazing to me that Kindle has remained on the roster for so long. I believe that teams like the Patriots would have cut Kindle a long time ago because of the mystery surrounding his injury, his inability to get on the field, and his struggles learning the playbook.
The Ravens have shown a lot of faith in Kindle for keeping him on the active roster for two years. They must envision him making a sizeable impact for the Ravens in the years to come.
Kindle does have a great opportunity to make an impact this season. With the injury to Terrell Suggs, Kindle could have an opportunity to win the starting outside linebacker position. He will have to compete with Paul Kruger and Courtney UpShaw, the projected starters for this upcoming season.
Even with Paul Kruger and Courtney UpShaw, I believe Kindle has an advantage over Kruger for the starting job. He has more athletic ability and in my opinion, is better at stopping the run then Kruger.
Now, how could I say that if Kindle hasn’t gotten any playing time? If you look at his college career, Kindle played a very similar role as Suggs does for the Ravens. They moved Kindle around at Texas so he was never in the same spot all the time. Kindle was also a monster when it came to stopping the run. Kindle registered 34 tackles for loss in three years at Texas contrasting to Kruger who only registered ten and a half.
If Kindle does not get the starting linebacker job, he can still make an impact on special teams and in pass rushing situations.
Kindle will have a lot of competition this summer. According to reports, Kindle has learned the playbook, which was one of his biggest obstacles. I think Kindle will make an impact this year. No one is really expecting him to which means he wont be double teamed if he comes in for passing downs.
I think Kindle is up for the challenge this year and will have five or more sacks in limited playing time.