Before the NFL has even officially announced that he (or any other underclassmen) has been granted early eligibility into the 2012 draft, Alabama cornerback 'Dre Kirkpatrick has given scouts reason to question his maturity.
Kirkpatrick, NFLDraftScout.com's No. 2 rated cornerback and 10th rated player overall for the 2012 draft, and former Alabama player Chris Rodgers were arrested early in the morning hours yesterday in Palmetto, Florida after driving down the wrong side of a road. Rodgers was driving but police believed that both players were under the influence of marijuana and when they searched the car they found 7.9 grams of the drug. Rodgers told police that the marijuana was his. Kirkpatrick was charged with a misdemeanor for possession and had to pay a $120 fine before being released.
It is rare that a cornerback with zero interceptions gains All-American accolades but that is precisely what Kirkpatrick accomplished in 2011 for the Crimson Tide. Though he didn't register a pass theft, Kirkpatrick's physical coverage and run support made him one of the most feared cornerbacks in the country and a virtual lock for the first round.
The arrest -- to date Kirkpatrick's only known legal entanglement -- isn't likely to push his draft stock down much. It does, however, pose a signficant red flag for teams.
Kirkpatrick was projected to be the seventh overall pick (Jacksonville Jaguars) of my current 1st round mock draft. If you'll pardon the pun, my fellow NFLDraftScout.com analyst Dane Brugler has the Alabama cornerback going even higher.