For the next few days or so, I’m going to reach out to some of the collegiate blogs on bloguin.com to ask about some of the prospects who may fall to the Bills at the #10 spot in the draft. For now, it is a Q&A with Ell from Bama Sports Report, to discuss Dre Kirkpatrick. Be sure to take this information and pass it on as your own when talking draft with your friends.
1) What are the strengths and weaknesses?
Kirkpatrick is the prototypical shut down corner. He’s big, rangy, has great instincts and a mean streak. Like all good corners, confidence is not a weakness for Dre. He is, however, different from most other corner prospects in his ability to step up and play the run. He’s a very physical back who’s not afraid to hit. On the weakness side of the coin, he does not have elite straight line speed. However, to paraphrase Nick Saban at Alabama’s Pro Day, when a guy goes out and plays 3 years in the SEC and his speed doesn’t hamper him one bit, he’s probably not going to be OK with regards to speed. His hands/ball skills are also a bit of a question mark. After his freshman year, it was rare to see a ball thrown to his side of the field.
2) Can he start from day 1?
Kirkpatrick is probably a day one starter somewhere on the defense. Can he be the number one corner from day one? Probably not. He is, however, set up for an easy transition. Nick Saban’s defense is an NFL style defense, and his Bama players (and the LSU ones before them) have excelled early on in the NFL. Kirkpatrick didn’t start at top corner his first season at Alabama – he was used as a nickel/dime back that season. But to even get on the field for Nick Saban, you have to have a good head on your shoulders. He certainly possesses an above average football IQ.
3) What was the best game you saw him play?
Kirkpatrick’s best game is hard to pinpoint. He wasn’t a guy who generated interception after interception. He’s just a guy who took the other team’s number one receiver totally out of the game. It’s sometimes said that the less the announcers call a defensive back’s name, the better game he’s having, and that’s certainly true of Dre as often as not.
4) Would it be a reach if the Bills picked him at 10?
He’s probably a bit of a stretch that early. He has the skills to improve pretty much any defense, but his value isn’t as high as say a Trent Richardson. He is an impact player – just probably not a top 10 player.
5) What type of leader is he? Anything off the field you can tell us that would be interesting?
Kirkpatrick has been an exceptionally confident guy from day one, but he’s always been more of a lead by example on the field guy, as opposed to a guy who gets in other guys’ faces and gets folks fired up. That being said, he does come from a culture of winning. He was on championship level teams in high school, and in three years at Alabama, the Tide won two national championships and lost four total games. Sometimes having a guy like that around can really help others reach their championship potential. However, on the flip side of that, a few weeks after the BCS Championship Game, Dre was arrested for possession of marijuana in Florida. The charges were later dropped, and it clearly was a small amount of drugs, but it has to be considered when talking about leadership off the field.
All told, he’s an outstanding player with long term Pro-Bowl potential. His only downsides are the off-the-field red flag (a small one at that), and his lack of top end speed. He’d be a fine addition to any NFL team in need of a guy who can shut down the other guy’s top receiver.
And that’s pretty much every NFL team.