The transfer portal has become an increasingly popular way for college football players to increase their NFL Draft stock. Whether by finding more playing time or stepping up a level, the portal has helped players increase their exposure. While this may be true for Louisville safety Kenderick Duncan in the 2022 NFL Draft, it isn’t the first time he’s made a change to further his football future. Duncan’s scouting report examines his journey to the NFL Draft and the skill set that makes him a potential NFL player.
Kenderick Duncan NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Safety
- School: Louisville
- Current Year: Redshirt senior
- Height: 6’3″
- Weight: 225 pounds
Kenderick Duncan Scouting Report
When Duncan arrived at Louisville from Georgia Southern, he was considered a depth piece who could impact the Cardinals’ defense. Those aren’t my words, they’re those of Louisville head coach Scott Satterfield. However, that is exactly what Duncan could bring to an NFL team as a prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Although the Louisville safety likely won’t be considered near the top of a class that features prolific playmakers like Notre Dame’s Kyle Hamilton, his scouting report shows that Duncan has the ability to make an impact for a defense at the next level.
One of the key areas of this is Duncan’s versatility in the secondary. During his college football career for Georgia Southern and Louisville, he has occupied several alignments. In addition to playing as a free safety and in the box, Duncan has also seen snaps as a slot and outside cornerback.
Furthermore, he has the ability to play both single-high and split-field safety.
Speed, physicality, football intelligence
One of the reasons that Duncan has been able to achieve such versatility is his athletic profile. Without being an impressive athlete, it’s impossible to be successful, particularly as a single-high safety. Duncan has the range to cover all areas of the field from any alignment. His speed is also apparent coming downhill into the alley. He covers a lot of ground quickly.
In addition to his play speed, Duncan has been successful in multiple alignments because of his physicality. He isn’t afraid to confront any man in the alley. He’s willing and able in that regard. Furthermore, he demonstrated his physicality both at the catch point and during the route in coverage. That physicality was evident in his Louisville debut against Ole Miss, as he routinely stopped receivers’ and running backs’ forward progress.
While his speed and physicality are impressive, Duncan has been able to achieve success in his career due to his football intelligence. He’s adept at reading the game, and he does an excellent job of helping his teammates make pre-snap adjustments. Duncan’s football intelligence allows him to be in the right place at the right time to make a play on the ball.
In addition to his physical attributes, football intelligence, and versatility, Duncan also possesses special-teams experience that should help him find the field early in his career.
Areas for improvement
As a result of the above characteristics, Duncan could hear his name called on Day 2 of the 2022 NFL Draft. However, it is more likely that he is considered an early Day 3 pick. There are some limiting factors to his scouting report and some areas for improvement.
One of the biggest areas for improvement is as a tackler. While Duncan displays physicality and technique when tackling, there is a high level of inconsistency. In the games studied, there were multiple examples of him resorting to ankle tackles. Furthermore, there were several instances of him taking incorrect angles. Both issues resulted in him missing tackles and giving up additional yardage.
Although the Louisville safety displays impressive play speed, he isn’t an overly smooth athlete. As a result, his change of direction can be slower than you’d like to see. While he has the play speed to recover, that lack of change-of-direction ability could be exposed more in the NFL than it is in college.
While Duncan has been healthy this season, his medical history may pose a red flag for NFL teams. He required offseason hip surgery, which meant he missed time at the start of the 2020 season. That same issue caused him to miss time at the end of the season as well. It may not prove to be a problem, but it is something to consider.
Kenderick Duncan Player Profile
When Duncan decided to transfer from Georgia Southern to Louisville, the safety bet on himself that he could further his football career at a higher level. It’s the same bet that he’s been making since he was a high school footballer for Stockbridge High School.
The son of a former Jacksonville State player, Duncan had a football in his hand from a young age — quite literally. For most of his early football journey, he was a quarterback and a decent one at that. During his high school career, he flashed a good arm and football intelligence.
Furthermore, in Stockbridge’s Wing-T offense, he was a genuine dual-threat player. According to his Hudl profile, Duncan registered a 4.58-second 40-yard dash in high school. His abilities as a quarterback even attracted collegiate interest from Georgia Tech and Tulsa. However, as a junior, he made the switch to safety that would come to define his football journey.
His football intelligence and athletic ability immediately transitioned to the Stockbridge secondary. Duncan went from being the quarterback to the quarterback of the defense as a junior. However, a return to the offense as a senior meant that most of his defensive exposure was limited to a single season.
The result of positional uncertainty was an underwhelming recruiting profile. Despite the offers at quarterback, Duncan wanted to continue his journey on the defensive side of the ball. He was a two-star recruit, the 196th safety in the 2017 class, and although there was interest from Duke, his only offer (according to 247 Sports) came from Georgia Southern.
Duncan’s college football career
Unsurprisingly given his relative inexperience, Duncan redshirted his first season for Georgia Southern. However, he hit the ground running in 2018, making four starts in 13 games. The versatile playmaker made an impression on defense and special teams, tallying 39 total tackles.
Duncan began to establish himself with a monster game against Appalachian State. In addition to securing a first career interception, he demonstrated his physicality with 5 tackles and a forced fumble. He followed up with another interception in the next game against Louisiana-Monroe.
Appalachian State would feel his wrath again during the 2019 season. He tallied a career-high 11 tackles against the Mountaineers, with a pass breakup thrown in for good measure. Duncan’s 79 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 8 pass breakups, and 2 interceptions helped earn him second-team All-Sun Belt honors. His performances on the national stage helped enhance his reputation. Duncan secured an interception against Minnesota and tallied 8 tackles in the Cure Bowl against Liberty.
Despite offseason hip surgery limiting his availability in 2020, Duncan earned first-team All-Sun Belt recognition. In just five starts, he tallied 29 tackles and 5 pass breakups. Furthermore, Duncan bolstered his résumé with interceptions against Texas State and Georgia State. Although he earned honors and national attention, Duncan decided to enter the transfer portal following the season rather than declare for the NFL Draft.
Duncan transfers to Louisville for the 2021 college football season
He quickly found a new home. Duncan fit the mold of what Louisville was looking for in a versatile playmaker, as Satterfield alluded to on his arrival.
“Kenderick is a big, physical player who will be a great addition to our secondary,” Satterfield said. “We were looking to add depth, and Kenderick is the type of player who can make an impact on our defense.”
While Duncan fit the mold for the program, the Cardinals provided the right environment for a kid playing football outside of his home state of Georgia for the first time.
“After talking to coach Satterfield, it made me feel that if I come to Louisville, I’ll be at home,” Duncan said. “I don’t have to feel out of place. I won’t feel like a random kid. They treated me like I was part of the family.”
Duncan fit into the team immediately after impressing during spring practice. He debuted in the season opener against Ole Miss, logging a team-high 10 tackles, including a tackle for loss and a sack. Furthermore, he demonstrated his playmaking skill with an interception against Virginia.
He ended the season with 76 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, 4 pass breakups, and 1 interception. Although he failed to replicate his first-team accolades from 2020, Duncan earned an honorable mention for the All-ACC team. Having proven himself with a step up to the Power Five level, Duncan can expect to hear his name called in the 2022 NFL Draft.