Devon Kennard
Kennard with the New York Giants
No. 59     
Personal information
Date of birth: (1991-06-24) June 24, 1991 (age 29)
Place of birth: Tempe, Arizona
Career information
College: USC
NFL Draft: 2014 / Round: 5 / Pick: 174
No regular season or postseason appearances
Career history
*New York Giants ( 2014 2017)
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
* Second-team All-Pac-12 (2013)
Career NFL statistics as of 2018
Total tackles     244
Sacks     16.5
Forced fumbles     3
Fumble recoveries     3
Interceptions     1

Devon Kennard (born June 24, 1991) is an American football linebacker for the Detroit Lions of the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the New York Giants in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He played college football at USC.

High school careerEdit

As a sophomore in 2006, Kennard recorded 81 tackles and seven quarterback sacks. During his junior year, he had 111 tackles and 24 ½ sacks, helping the Desert Vista Thunder to the Class 5A Division I title game.[1] For his senior year, Kennard was expected to play both fullback and tailback on offense for the Thunder in addition to his defensive duties, until top tailback Marcus Washington, an Arizona State recruit, returned from a stress fracture in his leg.[1]

In Desert Vista's 21–20 victory over Chandler High School, Kennard suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, causing him to miss the rest of the football season.[2] On the season Kennard had 16 carries for 132 yards with five touchdowns. Defensively, he had 18 tackles and 1½ sacks while facing double and triple teams.[3] He played in the 2009 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.[4]

Recruited by over forty schools nationwide, Kennard initially considered Arizona State, California, Florida, Miami, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, UCLA, and USC. He eventually cut his list to California, Texas and USC.[1][5] Kennard attended summer camps with USC following his sophomore and junior seasons in high school, and grew close to USC-commit Matt Barkley.[5][6] At one point, Barkley and Kennard were ranked #1 and #2 for overall prospects in the class of 2009 by He was rated the No. 1 defensive prospect by a CSTV analyst, and the top defensive end by[7][8]

Kennard called the recruiting process "a business," telling his local newspaper, "They're trying to go after good players. They think you're a good player, and that's an honor, but they think somebody else is a good player, too. If you get all caught up, your head is going to get huge. I consider the whole process a business. It's a business on my end and on theirs. They've got to try to get the best players and I've got to try to go to the best program for me."[9] Kennard announced his decision to attend USC at press conference on January 27, 2009.[10]

College careerEdit

In his true freshman year at USC, Kennard began the football season as a backup defensive end, but by midseason was seeing key action primarily in pass rushing situations. He then was moved to strongside linebacker. Appearing in 12 games and starting in five, he had 34 tackles, including 2 for losses, plus 3 deflections, 1 fumble recovery and 1 forced fumble. He made the 2009 Pac-10 All-Freshman first teams by ESPN and Sporting News, and won USC's John McKay Award.

In 2010, Kennard was moved and started at a third position, middle linebacker, where he played in all thirteen games, with games starts, and had 72 tackles, including 7 for losses with 2 sacks. Kennard moved back to defensive end for the 2011 season, where he played in all twelve games, with five starts, and 29 tackles, including 4 for losses (with 2 sacks, one which resulted in a safety). Kennard sat out the 2012 season with a torn chest muscle.

File:Devon Kennard (5648375174).jpg

In 2013, Kennard started all thirteen games at outside linebacker, recording 60 tackles and team-highs of 13.5 tackles for loss, nine sacks, and ten quarterbacks hits. He made the All-Pac-12 Defensive Team and was named a Lott Trophy Finalist.

Professional careerEdit

On December 12, 2013, it was announced that Kennard had accepted his invitation to play in the East-West Shrine Game.[11] On January 18, 2014, Kennard recorded two solo tackles as part of Romeo Crennel's West team that lost 23–13 to the East in the 2014 East-West Shrine Game.[12] Kennard attended the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis and completed all of the combine and positional drills.

30px External video
16px Devon Kennard's NFL Combine Workout

On March 12, 2014, he participated at USC's pro day, but opted to stand on his combine numbers and only performed positional drills. Kennard attended a pre-draft visit with the New York Giants and impressed the coaching staff with his intelligence. At the conclusion of the pre-draft process, Kennard was projected to be a fifth or sixth round pick by NFL draft experts and scouts. He was ranked the 17th best outside linebacker prospect in the draft by and was ranked the 26th best linebacker by Scouts Inc.[13][14]

Pre-draft measureables
Ht WtArm lengthHand size 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP
6 ft 3 in 249 lb31 ⅜ in9 ⅜ in 4.70 s 1.64 s 2.73 s 4.32 s 7.25 s 30 in 9 ft 5 in 23 reps

New York GiantsEdit

The New York Giants selected Kennard in the fifth round (174th overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft. Kennard was the 24th linebacker drafted in 2014 and one of three players from USC.[15][16][17]

“He made a great impression. He played multiple positions. He’s a tough hard-nosed football player. He was great on the board. He was great on that. He really convinced the coaches he was really a sharp football player.”[18]

Tom Coughlin

New York Giants' head coach (2014)

(On drafting Devon Kennard)


On May 19, 2014, the New York Giants signed Kennard to a four-year, $2.36 million contract that includes a signing bonus of $144,560.[19]

Throughout training camp, Kennard competed against Mark Herzlich to be the backup middle linebacker, but also worked out at outside linebacker.[20][21] Head coach Tom Coughlin named Kennard a backup outside linebacker to begin the season in 2014, behind starters Jameel McClain and Jacquian Williams.[22]

He made his professional regular season debut in the New York Giants' season-opening 35–14 loss at the Detroit Lions. Kennard was inactive for the next three games (Weeks 2–4) due to a hamstring injury.[23] In Week 11, Kennard earned his first career start after Jacquian Williams sustained a concussion the previous week. Kennard finished the Giants' 16–10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers with a season-high nine combined tackles. He remained the starter after Williams was placed on injured reserve.[24] On November 30, 2014, Kennard recorded three combined tackles and a season-high two sacks during a 25–24 loss at the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 13. Kennard made his first career sack on Jaguars' quarterback Blake Bortles for a nine-yard loss in the third quarter.[25] The following week, Kennard recorded six solo tackles and tied his season-high of two sacks in the Giants' 36–7 win at the Tennessee Titans in Week 14. He made both his sacks on Titans' quarterback Zach Mettenberger.[26] Kennard was inactive in the Giants' Week 17 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles after sustaining a toe the previous week.[27] He finished his rookie season in 2014 with 43 combined tackles (35 solo), 4.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, and a pass deflection in 12 games and six starts.[28][29]


On January 7, 2015, the New York Giants fired defensive coordinator Perry Fewell after the defense ranked 29th in the league in 2015.[30] On January 15, 2015, the New York Giants hired the Baltimore Ravens' former secondary coach Steve Spagnuolo to be their new defensive coordinator.[31]

During training camp in 2015, Kennard competed to be a starting outside linebacker against Mark Herzlich, J. T. Thomas, and Jonathan Casillas.[32][33] Head coach Tom Coughlin named Kennard the starting strongside linebacker to begin the regular season, alongside J.T. Thomas and starting middle linebacker Jon Beason.[34]

30px External video
16px Devon Kennard's first career interception

In Week 2, he collected a season-high ten combined tackles (seven solo) and deflected a pass during a 24–20 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.[35] On October 4, 2015, Kennard made five combined tackles, deflected two passes, and made his first career interception in the Giants' 24–10 win at the Buffalo Bills in Week 4. Kennard made his first career interception off a pass by Bills' quarterback Tyrod Taylor, that was originally intended for tight end Charles Clay, in the first quarter. He missed two games (Weeks 5–6) due to a hamstring injury he suffered in Week 4.[36] In Week 12, he tied his season-high of ten combined tackles (five solo) in a 20–14 loss at the Washington Redskins. He missed four games (Weeks 13–16) due injuries to his foot and hamstring. On December 28, 2015, the New York Giants officially placed Kennard on season-ending injured reserve due injuries to his foot and hamstring.[37] Kennard finished the season with 58 combined tackles (37 solo), four pass deflections, and one interception in nine games and nine starts.[38][29]


On January 5, 2016, New York Giants' head coach Tom Coughlin announced his resignation as head coach.[39] On January 14, 2016, the New York Giants promoted offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo to head coach.[40]

Kennard entered training camp slated as a starting outside linebacker.[41] Head coach Ben McAdoo as named him the starting strongside linebacker, alongside Jonathan Casillas and starting middle linebacker Kelvin Sheppard.[42] In Week 5, he collected a season-high seven combined tackles during a 23–16 loss at the Green Bay Packers.[43] Kennard recorded 61 combined tackles (40 solo), one sack, one pass defensed, and a forced fumble in 16 games and nine starts.[29]

The New York Giants finished second in the NFC East with an 11–5 record and earned a wildcard berth. On January 8, 2017, Kennard appeared in his first career playoff game and made two combined tackles as the Giants lost 38–13 at the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Wildcard Game.[43]


Kennard returned as the starting strongside linebacker in 2017. He started alongside Jonathan Casillas and starting middle linebacker B. J. Goodson. in Week 7, he collected a season-high five combined tackles during a 24–7 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Kennard was inactive for the Giants' Week 10 loss at the San Francisco 49ers due to a quadriceps injury.[44] On December 4, 2017, the New York Giants fired head coach Ben McAdoo after they began the season with a 2–10 record.[45] Kennard finished the 2017 NFL season with 41 combined tackles (24 solo), four sacks, and two pass deflections in 15 games and 11 starts.[29]

Detroit LionsEdit

On March 15, 2018, the Detroit Lions signed Kennard to a three-year, $17.25 million contract that includes $8.50 million guaranteed and a signing bonus of $5.25 million.[19]

Kennard entered training camp slated as a starting outside linebacker. Head coach Matt Patricia named Kennard the starting outside linebacker to begin the regular season, alongside Christian Jones and starting middle linebacker Jarrad Davis.[46] On September 9, 2018, Kennard was voted team captain by his teammates.[47][48]

On September 16, 2018, Kennard recorded four combined tackles and made two sacks on 49ers' quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo during a 30–27 loss at the San Francisco 49ers in Week 2.[49]

Personal lifeEdit

Kennard received his bachelor's degree in communication at USC in the spring of 2012 and is working on a master's degree in communication management. He maintained the team's highest GPA. Kennard made the 2011 Pac-12 All-Academic second team and 2010 Pac-10 All-Academic second team. He and 15 of his USC teammates spent 5 days in Haiti in the spring of 2012 building homes and assisting those in need. He was selected to be one of USC's representatives at the 2011 APPLE (Athletic Prevention Programming and Leadership Education) Conference in Austin, Tex., designed to promote student-athlete health and wellness. Kennard is the son of Derek Kennard, who played in the National Football League with the Arizona Cardinals, the New Orleans Saints and the Dallas Cowboys, helping the latter to win Super Bowl XXX.[50] The elder Kennard, a native of Stockton, California, attended the University of Nevada, Reno.[50]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Obert, Richard (December 17, 2008). "ASU appears to be off Kennard's list".
  2. CBS Feature: ‘Number Two High School Recruit Out for the Season’ at YouTube
  3. Skoda, Jason P.; Obert, Richard (September 23, 2008). "D. Vista star Kennard out for season". The Arizona Republic.
  4. "Kennard receives All-American honor".
  5. 5.0 5.1 Biggins, Greg (August 12, 2008). "Barkley selling USC to recruits".
  6. Schrader, Scott (June 12, 2007). "Rising Junior competes at USC". Retrieved December 28, 2008.
  7. Trojans score No. 1 defensive end Devon Kennard,, Inc., January 27, 2009, Accessed January 28, 2009.
  8. Simmons, Rusty (August 17, 2010). "Cal's Davis wasn't letting go of the Axe for anyone". The San Francisco Chronicle.
  9. Casey, Ryan (September 2, 2008). "DV's Kennard larger than life". Ahwatukee Foothills News.
  10. Obert, Richard (January 27, 2009). "Kennard commits to USC". The Arizona Republic.
  11. "Devon Kennard Accepts Invitation to East-West Shrine Game". December 13, 2013. Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  12. "Shrine Game Stats". Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  13. "Devon Kennard, DS #17 OLB, Southern California". Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  14. "NFL Devon Kennard -ESPN". Retrieved September 28, 2018.
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  21. Valentine, Ed (May 27, 2014). "Rookie Spotlight: Devon Kennard learning multiple positions". Retrieved September 28, 2018.
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  23. "Arian Foster inactive vs Giants". September 21, 2014. Retrieved September 28, 2018.
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  26. "NFL Game Center: Week 14-2014: New York Giants at Tennessee Titans". Retrieved September 28, 2018.
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  28. Valentine, Ed (July 1, 2015). "Giants 90-man roster breakdown: How good can Devon Kennard be?". Retrieved January 2, 2016.
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 29.3 "NFL Player stats: Devon Kennard (career)". Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  30. "Giants fire defensive coordinator Perry Fewell". Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  31. "Giants hire Steve Spagnuolo as new defensive coordinator". January 15, 2015. Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  32. "Mark Herzlich back with Giants". Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  33. " New York Giants Depth Chart: 07/02/2015". Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  34. " New York Giants Depth Chart: 09/01/2015". Retrieved September 28, 2018.
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  36. "Devon Kennard hamstring injury a concern for Giants". October 7, 2015. Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  37. Eisen, Michael (December 28, 2015). "Upon Further Review: Offense struggles vs. Vikings". Retrieved January 2, 2016.
  38. Alper, Josh (December 29, 2015). "Giants place Devon Kennard on injured reserve". Retrieved January 2, 2016.
  39. "Ex-Giants head coach Tom Coughlin: I’m too young to retire". Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  40. "New York Giants hire Ben McAdoo as head coach". Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  41. "Giants position preview: Lots of competition at linebacker". Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  42. "New York Giants' unofficial depth chart as 2016 season is set to begin". September 5, 2016. Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  43. 43.0 43.1 "NFL Player stats: Devon Kennard (2016)". Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  44. "Giants' Devon Kennard: Will sit out Sunday". November 10, 2017. Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  45. "New York Giants fire coach Ben McAdoo after 2-10 start". December 4, 2017. Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  46. Schlitt, Erik (September 5, 2018). "Observations of the Lions unofficial depth chart". Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  47. Twentyman, Tim (March 15, 2018). "Lions make linebacker an early priority in free agency".
  48. Alper, Josh (March 13, 2018). "Devon Kennard expected to sign with Lions".
  49. "NFL Player stats: Devon Kennard (2018)". Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  50. 50.0 50.1 Tyers, Tim (July 30, 2008). "Kennard's dad assists with recruiters". The Arizona Republic.

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