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 Leon Hall, Terence Newman and Adam Jones all having 7+ years of wear & tear. Kirkpatrick has all of the skills to be one of the top corners in the league one day.
He plays football like a warrior, using his entire body to deliver devastating hits, and gives it his all to wrap up and hang on for dear-life 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 rookie third-rounder Shawn Williams currently projected to take over at strong safety.
A setback in his rookie year should not cause a player to be labeled a bust, but unfortunately, many are already jumping the gun to call Kirkpatrick that. While it is too early to make that judgement, how he plays this year after a full training camp and whether he can stay healthy for a full season will go along way in determining what kind of career Dre will have in Cincinnati.