Coming out of college, Kirkpatrick was receiving a lot of good reviews as one of the best cornerbacks to enter the draft. He played very well for Alabama and was regarded as one of the best physical defenders in the draft. He excels with his feet as he can break in and out of routes with receivers.
His fluidity in his hips allows him to stick close to his man and allow very little separation between the two. In Alabama, he played numerous times with just man to man coverage and held his own. Kirkpatrick can be relied upon to take away the effectiveness of tall receivers and cover them well.
Kirkpatrick has received some negative criticism some fans, but he really is not deserving of such. In preseason, he played extremely well when given the chance, stay on receivers and not allowing much separation. However, he did struggle in the preseason game against Dez Bryant.
Kirkpatrick also covered Calvin Johnson on a touchdown throw; although Kirkpatrick actually allowed little separation and was stuck on Megatron. The issue was Kirkpatrick did not turn his head, or he could have had an interception or deflect the pass.
He was also beat deep for a touchdown pass to Josh Gordon, although actually was right on his hips.