Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick is showing his leadership assisting rookie secondary members in OTA workouts.
As the Cincinnati Bengals finish up their OTA workouts, veteran cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick has shown his leadership in the secondary group. Helping rookie cornerbacks including fifth-round pick Darius Phillips is a part of that leadership. Kirkpatrick, 28-years-old, finds himself being the oldest member of the secondary group and has taken on the role to help younger players reach their full potential.
Another veteran that has taken the younger players under his wing is safety George Iloka. Both veterans are sharing the veteran knowledge with the younger group and transition to the NFL level. Kirkpatrick helped Phillips as he came off the field where he struggled to backpedal and keep his leverage giving up an easy completion. Before he could reach the sideline where he would wait for his next shot, Kirkpatrick had some words to share with him.
"“He told me to keep my head up and make sure to stay outside because on that route we would have inside help,” Phillips said. “On my next play, I stayed outside on a double move and got a pass deflection.”"
Kirkpatrick has become a leader in that secondary group throughout OTA’s as this was not the first time he advised a young player. Even while on the sideline with an undisclosed injury on Tuesday, Kirkpatrick was still there giving tips after plays. He feels that he is in a position to help coach these younger guys up and be that leader on the back end of the defense.
"“I’m in a different position now,” Kirkpatrick said. “I’m one of the oldest guys in the DB room. I’m just trying to fulfill the leadership role that I’ve worked to earn. If I see guys lacking in certain areas, it’s my job to make sure they’re up to speed.”"
Just after the Bengals selected cornerback Davontae Harris with their first fifth-round pick, Kirkpatrick reached out to him. Before they even officially met, Harris says that he felt that he already knew Dre and thought that he was someone he could confide in from a learning standpoint. Kirkpatrick still has plenty of years left to play, but says that he would like to coach when he does have to hang up the cleats.
"“I plan on playing a lot longer, and who knows what I’ll be thinking when I’m done,” he said. “Maybe after you play the game for a long time, you might lose interest in staying around it after you’re done. But as of right now, yeah, coaching is something I would love to do.”"
It’s great to see the veterans taking the young rookies under their wing and reaching out right away. Kirkpatrick had a down year after suffering numerous injuries just a season ago that has fans already wanting him gone. Not only does he feel that he has something to prove this year and step up his game, but he is taking the time to better the overall group in the secondary instead of just his own game.
Cincinnati went after playmakers on the defensive side of the ball during the 2018 NFL Draft grabbing guys that love to make a play on the ball. After only 14 total forced turnovers last season, new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin is emphasizing turnovers this season. It’s great to see the veterans taking the time to be leaders in the locker room and help coach the young players in practice.