Mississippi State linebacker Benardrick McKinney has decided to enter the 2015 draft, forgoing his final year of NCAA eligibility, reports Rand Getlin of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter).
McKinney, a redshirt junior, nearly entered the draft a year ago, tweets Matt Miller of Bleacher Report. The 22-year-old linebacker accumulated 66 tackles in 11 games during his final year at Mississippi State, including 10 in the team’s Orange Bowl loss to Georgia Tech.
Per CBSSports.com, McKinney ranks as the best inside linebacker in the 2015 class by a fairly wide margin, and comes in as the 24th-best prospect overall, making him a probable first-round pick. Todd McShay of ESPN.com has McKinney coming off the board 28th to the Packers in his first mock draft, and offers the following assessment of the young defender:
“He has very good speed and closing burst for his size, and while he isn’t a huge hitter in general, he has the strength to occasionally deliver a big blow. He also flashes upside as a pass-rusher.”