NFL Mocks breaks down Kirkpatrick’s game into pros and cons:
Kirkpatrick has excellent size for a cornerback to go along with plus length. He also has great strength for a cornerback and is a nightmare for WR if he gets the press on…great instinct….his versatile is best at press coverage, but can play zone coverage because of his plus awareness…Kirkpatrick is an effective blitzer….good tackler…hard hitter…no character concerns…well coached…fluid hips to turn and run with Wide receivers. Reportedly a film rookie junkie…team player
Not elite cornerback speed. Has great speed for his size, but his 40 his generally reported as 4.49, which is not elite, but still pretty fast….as had some shoulder injuries and will have to pass rigorous combine injury testing…doesn’t have the Patrick Peterson-like return ability…has adeqaute balance when adjusting to the ball in the air, but his ball skills are not at an elite level…may struggle with combination WR in the NFL (players with the kind of size/speed ratio he has, but who doesn’t?) He was less than impressive vs Alshon Jeffrey.
Despite the raised cons, I’m only nitpicking. Kirkpatrick is an awesome cornerback prospect.
Player comparison: The easiest comparison is Nnadmi Asmougha formerly of the Raiders, currently of the Eagles because of his similar length and speed and his ability to press wide receivers. He also is a better coverage corner and tackler than he is a ball hawk. Not saying he won’t get his hands on passes, but he’s not Asante Samuel intercepting passes.
He also has a skill set of a player like Terrell Thomas of the New York Giants, though he’s bigger and a more fluid athlete. Thomas is an excellent tackler, has scheme versatility, runs about the same 40 yard dash, is a plus blitzer. Kirkpatrick he has better hips than Terrell Thomas which will allow him to stay with the speedier WR a little more in the N.F.L. But Thomas is a good player in his own right (pro bowl caliber cornerback) and while Kirkpatrick has a higher ceiling he has a similar skill set.
Captain Kirk has seen his stock drop lately due to the rise of CB Stephon Gilmore, who has overtaken him as the draft’s second-best CB prospect. Still, Kirk is a high-level talent who will make any team who selects him in the 1st-round, given they are able to use him properly. His greatest success is as a press corner who can jam receiver and re-route them. If he stands back and plays zone, faster receivers will run by him. With Mike Zimmer coaching him up, he’ll fit perfectly with the Bengals.