What if I were to tell you that the New York Giants have a player on defense capable of rushing the passer, covering tight ends, and stuffing the run. You’d probably say, “well, we actually have a few of those!” And you’d be 100 percent right, because the Giants have a stacked defense this year.
But, there is one player who really deserves to claim the ‘darkhorse’ name, and that’s Devon Kennard. Going into his fourth-season in the NFL, Kennard has suffered an unfortunate case of the injury bug throughout his career.
Despite his unfortunate injury history, his presence on the field is felt and he consistently brings the fire. His versatility and multi-dimensional style of play gives him an edge over normal linebackers.
His ability to hold his own on the line and rush the passer is extremely helpful in blitz packages, but rushing the passer isn’t his only strength as he often shoots the gap stuffing runs as well.
Kennard’s stats have been consistent over the course of his three-year career. In 2015, he managed 37 solo tackles and 21 assisted in nine games. In 2016, he racked up similar numbers with 40 total tackles and 21 assisted.
Overall, his production is an asset and his versatility promotes a healthy defensive scheme with low predictability. For 2017, I have Kennard climbing the ranks and getting significant playing time.
Ultimately it comes down to avoiding injury, and if he can escape the injury bug he will have a dominant darkhorse campaign.