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What the signing of LB Eric Kendricks means for the Chargers

By Alex Katson,

2023-03-15
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The Chargers made their only external move of the day late on Monday, securing a homecoming for former Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks.

Kendricks, who turned 31 in February, was a cap casualty for a Minnesota team embracing a youth movement at multiple positions. After cutting Kendricks on March 6, the Vikings also moved on from wide receiver Adam Thielen and cornerback Cameron Dantzler Sr. to prepare for the opening of free agency.

While he’s never quite matched the level of play that garnered 2019 All-Pro honors, Kendricks is a reliable tackler whose lowest single-season combined tackle number of 92 came as a rookie in 2015. Over the last two seasons, the UCLA product had over 130 combined tackles, culminating in a career high of 143 in 2021. He’s also stayed relatively healthy in his career, playing in double-digit games in each of his eight NFL seasons to date.

Schematically, Kendricks is a bit of an odd fit for the Chargers. While he still had over 130 tackles last season, his play was noticeably a step below his usual standard. It was his first experience with a Vic Fangio-style defense under since-fired coordinator Ed Donatell. The Chargers run a similar defense under Brandon Staley. Still, the 31-year-old brings spot-drop experience as a zone defender and is a sure tackler in the run game, the latter point of which is especially salient for a Chargers team that struggled to bring opposing ball carriers to the ground.

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