|| | College: Alabama|
There was never a doubt that the ever-confident Kirkpatrick could talk the talk, a natural ability he was not bashful about displaying on and off the field since high school. But what makes him special -- albeit even more irritating to opponents -- is Kirkpatrick can back it up with his play.
Only question is, will he?
There are plenty of game tapes that show Kirkpatrick has all the athletic ability, instincts and tenacity to be a great cornerback. Scouts need to watch the tapes because statistics don't tell Kirkpatrick's story. In three seasons he had only three interceptions -- all in 2010 -- but his strength is in how he plays the man more than how he plays the ball.
He denies receivers. He denies them a clean release. He denies them to get separation. And he denies them an opportunity to get the ball. He is physical to the extreme, both in coverage and coming up on run support, where he is perhaps too much of a hitter and not enough of a wrap-up tackler.
"We play a lot of man and zone and off coverage," Kirkpatrick said of Alabama's scheme. "The main thing we really play is man and bump and run but my zone skills I'm happy where I'm at with them."
However, some scouts are concerned about reports that Alabama coach Nick Saban worked to keep Kirkpatrick motivated and there was an arrest, and a dropped charge, involving possession of marijuana only days after Kirkpatrick declared for the 2011 draft. As usual, Kirkpatrick had the last word, via twitter: "For those who doubted: NO CHARGES FILED against me for the marijuana bust in Florida."
"It was me being in the wrong place at the wrong time," Kirkpatrick said at the Scouting Combine. "The guy that left the marijuana in the car turned himself in and didn't want to put me in a bad situation. He signed an affidavit saying that I was unaware of the marijuana being in the car and I was unaware of it."
Man Coverage: Possesses prototypical size and strength combination to lock down NFL receivers on the outside. Long arms and attitude give him a chance to be very good in press role. Plays with natural bend and fair foot quickness in his backpedal. Hips are fluid for his size, opens them up quickly out of pedal to keep inside position while running down the sideline. Recovery speed from double-moves and pick plays is more than adequate, does not give much ground trailing on crossing routes. Can be overaggressive landing his punch in press, giving up inside position, losing his balance, or even falling down.
Zone Coverage: Mainly used in man, but flashes playmaking ability in zones, as well. Uses his size and length to close and wrap effectively after the catch. Reads quarterback when playing off, baits him to make the underneath throw then closes to make the interception or a big hit to dislodge ball from receiver. Uses length to knock away touch passes behind him and in front of the safety.
Ball Skills: Strong enough to win jump balls down the sideline or 50-50 balls over the middle. Good hand-eye coordination to knock away passes in front of receivers with off hand. Does not find the ball quickly when receiver turns to look, overruns plays too regularly. Gambles on interceptions instead of securing the tackle.
Run Support: Very physical outside, pushes aside smaller wideouts easily and does not back down from confrontations with larger players. Willing to add himself to piles. Good hustle and chase downfield to help teammates. Typically keeps outside leverage but will get aggressive, leaving the sideline vulnerable. Needs to consistently break down and keep his feet outside or NFL backs will evade him.
Tackling: Flashes pure strength to stop receivers and running backs in their tracks on the outside, should get stronger over time. Likes to throw his shoulder into receivers to force them out of bounds. Resorts to duck-and-swipe when unnecessary, which may work against college ballcarriers but will cause problems at the next level. Used on corner blitzes due to size/speed combination, forces a lot of quick throws. Willing to go for the strip, especially if ballcarrier already engaged. Negates special teams gunners on punts, stays with them with effort, physicality and speed.
Intangibles: Well-liked teammate who got the nickname "Swag" for his quiet but confident demeanor; referred to Texas as not having "swagger" during his college announcement press conference. Likes to talk on the field to teammates and get the crowd involved when at home. Praised for his strong will and work ethic. Won the team's Bart Starr Most Improved Player Award in the spring of 2011.
Kirkpatrick developed into a shut-down corner and a leader in the Crimson Tide secondary a first-team All-American by the FWAA, CBSsports.com and Pro Football Weekly second-team Associated Press All-American second-team All-SEC by both the AP and the league coaches has 26 tackles with 23 solo stops while defenses continue to throw away from him also has a nine pass breakups returned a blocked field goal 55 yards for a touchdown has two forced fumbles and two tackles for loss (-4 yards) part of a defense that leads the nation in pass defense (116.3 ypg) and pass efficiency defense (83.9) two-time Defensive Player of the Week by the UA coaching staff. Kent State: Did not have a pass completed in his direction and broke up three passes as the Golden Flashes could only manage 98 passing yards on while completing only 42.5 percent of their passes. Penn State: Forced two Nittany Lions' fumbles while making two solo tackles and breaking up one pass in the 27-11 road win over No. 23 Penn State Defensive Player of the Week by the UA coaching staff.
North Texas: Made one solo tackle and broke up a pass as the Mean Green completed only 41.9 percent of their passes. Arkansas: Matched his season and career best with three pass breakups had a season-high six tackles -- all solo had two devastating hits that upended Arkansas receivers recorded his first tackle for loss of the season (-3 yards) helped limit the Hogs to over 150 yards below their season average throwing the football and 291 yards below their total offense average. Florida: Had three solo tackles as Alabama beat the Gators 38-10. Vanderbilt: Made two solo stops and helped limt the Commodores to just 149 passing yards. Mississippi: Made four total tackles with three solo stops had his first assisted tackle of the year helped limit the Rebels to just 113 yards passing named the Special Teams Player of the Week by the UA coaching staff.
Tennessee: Had just one tackle with the Volunteers not testing his side of the field helped limit UT to just 63 passing yards and 15 yards of total offense in a 37-6 win. LSU: Recorded four tackles as the Crimson Tide limited the top-ranked Tigers to just 91 yards passing. Mississippi State: Made one solo tackle as the Tide limited the Bulldogs to just 131 total yards while posting a 18.8 third-down conversion percentage. Georgia Southern: Made two solo tackles as the Tide held the Eagles to just 39 yards passing returned a blocked field goal 55 yards for a score. Auburn: Broke up and deflected the only ball thrown in his direction helped the Crimson Tide limit the Tigers to just 44 yards through three quarters and 140 total yards.
Kirkpatrick developed into a starter at cornerback and became a standout for the Crimson Tide defense finished with 53 tackles on the season to rank fourth on the team in his first year as a starter had seven pass breakups, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and made three interceptions that he returned for 30 yards had four tackles for loss from his cornerback position and was tied for second in interceptions. San Jose State: Made his first career start against the Spartans and made two solo tackles and broke up a pass as Alabama limited SJSU to 175 total yards, including 86 in the air. Penn State: Logged a career-best five tackles and a pass breakup in a win over the Nittany Lions. Duke: Registered his first career interception in the win made two solo tackles and one assisted for three total tackles also recorded his first tackle for loss, dropping a Blue Devil ball carrier for a loss of two yards. Arkansas: His fourth quarter interception sealed the Crimson Tide's comeback win registered a career-best nine tackles, including seven solo tackles made a tackle for loss (-5 yards). Florida: Made five tackles with four solo stops his second quarter interception set up a Marquis Maze to Michael Williams touchdown pass had a tackle for loss for the third straight game, this time for a loss of eight yards forced his first career fumble. South Carolina: Had four solo tackles in a 35-21 loss to the Gamecocks -- the first loss for UA during Kirkpatrick's time at the Capstone. Mississippi: Led the team with seven solo tackles broke up one pass and recorded a tackle for loss of -2 yards in the Crimson Tide's 23-10 win over Mississippi. Tennessee: Totaled four tackles with three solo stops broke up one pass as the Tide limited the Volunteers to just 156 passing yards and no scores through the air. LSU: Registered five total tackles with two solo stops broke up one pass. Mississippi State: Made two tackles, including one solo stop as the Tide limited the No. 17 Bulldogs to just 150 yards passing. Georgia State: Made one tackle and broke up a pass as the Tide surrendered just 74 yards passing in a 63-7 win over the Panthers. Auburn: Recorded three total tackles with two solo stops against the Tigers recovered his first fumble of the season and broke up one pass as the Tide limited AU to 324 total yards. Michigan State: Made three solo stops in a 49-7 victory in the Capital One Bowl against the Spartans helped the Tide limit MSU to 171 yards and seven points also recorded the first quarterback hurry of his career.
Kirkpatrick played in 12 games as a true freshman, finding time on special teams and in the defensive backfield as a reserve finished with eight tackles, including six on special teams. FIU : Earned his first career playing time in a Crimson Tide uniform did not record any statistics, but was a demon on the punt team and the punt coverage team earned special teams player of the week honors from the UA coaching staff. North Texas: Came off the bench and recorded his first career tackle in a Crimson Tide uniform. Arkansas: Came off the bench and recorded a career-best two tackles in his first SEC action. Kentucky: Played but did not record any statistics. Mississippi: Saw extensively on special teams, but did not have a tackle.
South Carolina: Tied a career-high with two tackles, both coming on special teams. Tennessee: Tallied one solo tackle on special teams. Mississippi State: Came off the bench to assist on one tackle on special teams. Chattanooga: Came off the bench and found time on special teams but did not record a tackle. Auburn: Played on special teams but did not record any statistics. Florida: Saw action on special teams but did not tally any statistics. Texas: Recorded one assisted tackle in the Crimson Tide's victory over the Longhorns in the Citi BCS National Championship Game.
Agility tests: Combine: 4.51 seconds in 40-yard dash; 35-inch vertical jump; 10-foot broad jump (did not take part in bench press, shuttle or 3-cone drills).
Dre Kirkpatrick is rated as one of the top overall players in the 2009 recruiting class the No. 4 overall recruit in the nation in the ESPNU150 and the No. 11 player in the Rivals100 a Parade All-American USA Today All-American U.S. Army All-American EA Sports First-Team All-American a SuperPrep All-American, Elite 50 player and No. 7 defensive back listed as the country's No. 1 cornerback by ESPNU and Rivals.com rated as the No. 5 cornerback by Scout.com Rivals.com also ranks Kirkpatrick as the No. 2 player in Alabama and the fifth-fastest cornerback with the fifth-best cover skills consensus five-star recruit SuperPrep lists him as the No. 2 player in Alabama No. 2 on the Mobile Press-Register's Elite 18 and No. 3 in the Press-Register's Super Southeast 120 12th nationally by Tom Lemming's Prep Football while garnering All-America honors from Lemming as well a member of the Alabama Sports Writers Association's Super 12 team and a first-team All-State selection by the ASWA and the Birmingham News.
Rated No. 2 on The Birmingham News Super Senior list the ASWA 2008 Back of the Year a two-time All-State player after first earning recognition as a junior in 2007 member of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Super Southern 100 on the Orlando Sentinel All-Southern team played in the Alabama/Mississippi All-Star Game recorded 80 tackles with six interceptions and 15 pass breakups as a senior notched 58 tackles as six picks as a junior had 55 stops and five interceptions as a sophomore in 2006 coached by Joe Billingsley chose Alabama over Texas, Florida, LSU, Southern California, Miami (Fla.), Florida State, Auburn, Tennessee and Michigan.