When Dre does finally get into the lineup consistently next year, he’ll be an injection of youth into the Bengals secondary that will be badly needed with Nate Clements, Terence Newman, and Adam Jones becoming free agents. Kirkpatrick has all of the skills to be one of the top corners in the league one day.
He’s a warrior who uses his entire body to deliver a heavy hit and wraps up well to bring down his opponents. He also knows how to lower his head and put his helmet into the ball to jar it loose. He has great speed, size and instincts and shouldn’t have any trouble adjusting to an NFL playbook.
During his college career he amassed 87 tackles, 16 pass breakups, 3 forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, 6 tackles for a loss, a blocked field goal (returned for a 55-yard touchdown), and 3 interceptions. If it doesn’t workout at cornerback, he clearly has all of the necessary tools to become a good NFL strong safety, something the Bengals will need with Chris Crocker aging (he’ll be 33 in March).