The Cincinnati Bengals selected Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick with their 17th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
The Cincinnati Bengals drafted Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick with their 17th overall pick in the 2012 draft. Unfortunately, he would not become a contributor in his rookie season due to head coach Marvin Lewis coaching of not giving his rookies opportunities in their first year and a variety of injuries.
Kirkpatrick would wait till 2015 to get his first real season of starting opposite cornerback Adam Jones. While he had a rocky start to his first season as a starter for the Bengals, he would go on to have the best season of his career.
His last season working with now Denver Broncos head coach Vance Joseph amounted to 70 tackles and 16 passes defended. Unfortunately, the young corner would go without a single interception in his first season as a starter after back to back seasons of grabbing three in limited games.
He followed in 2016 with another 3 interceptions and 10 pass deflections proving to be one of the league’s most reliable cornerbacks. According to Pro Football Focus, Kirkpatrick finished his 2016 campaign as the eighth-lowest yards per cover snap allowed for cornerbacks.
The Bengals rewarded Kirkpatrick by signing him to a five-year, $52.5 million deal in the offseason before the 2017 season. In an offseason where the Cincinnati lost key contributors on the offensive line like Kevin Zeitler and Andrew Whitworth, the extension of Kirkpatrick helped ease the pain for Bengals fans. The team also lost a playmaker wide receiver, Marvin Jones.
Kirkpatrick suffered a down season in 2017 to put it nicely as he battled numerous nagging injuries keeping him from being fully healthy for the entire season. Coming into camps with a broken hand that happened while at home and sustaining more injuries as the season went on. He struggled with penalties costing the team big yards in some key situations as he tried to keep up with receivers.
After an offseason of getting back to full health, Kirkpatrick has shown optimism about the Bengals moves this offseason including new cornerbacks coach Daronte Jones who worked with Vance Joseph. Tag that along with new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin who is looking to bring many changes to this Bengals defense and Kirkpatrick is ready to start the new season on a better foot…or hand.
Many fans are already calling the move to sign Kirkpatrick to an extension last offseason a big mistake. While cornerbacks William Jackson III and Darqueze Dennard had breakout seasons, this league is all about what have you done for me lately. Kirkpatrick will have to prove to the team and the fans that he can get back to his 2016 self and back to a reliable corner in this new defense. If he succeeds, the team could be looking at a great secondary group.