Derion Kendrick played on one of college football's most stout defenses last season at Georgia, which held opponents to an FBS-low 4.16 yards per play and accounted for eight of the record-setting 15 players from the program drafted this year.
Now, he joins a stalwart NFL defense led by All-Pros Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey and Bobby Wagner, and he couldn't think of a better way to begin his NFL career.
"What it means to me is, you've got guys that's gonna lay the foundation," Kendrick said during a video conference with local media Monday. "They know what it's like to reach that level, and I'm sure they want to reach it again. So I just want to sit behind them, take it all in, take all the notes that I need to, get all the reps that I need to, whether it's workouts, film, whatever it may be. Just follow behind them guys until I'm in their shoes."
Kendrick is already familiar with Ramsey from afar, having modeled his game after him and seeing him having an impact on the league at such a young age. He said having an example like Ramsey to learn from will be beneficial.
"That's one guy that I look at every day, just model my game after, just because of his attitude, swagger, aggressiveness, always gotta get to the ball," Kendrick said. "It's going to be great playing with guys like that. It's going to motivate you to make sure you get to the top."
A Second-team All-SEC selection after posting 41 tackles, three pass breakups and a team-leading four interceptions in 15 starts for the national-champion Bulldogs, Kendrick earned Orange Bowl Defensive MVP after intercepting two passes in Georgia's win over Michigan in the College Football Playoff semifinals.
He said he describes his game as a "smart, aggressive guy on the field."
"Very smart player, that's what I would put first," Kendrick said. "And then just instinctive, natural ability."
With Ramsey, other talented defensive backs, and of course Donald and Wagner to learn from, Kendrick is ready to get to work.
"It's going to be great," Kendrick said.
Take a look at photos of newly drafted Los Angeles Rams defensive back Derion Kendrick from his time at Georgia.