Analysis around the ‘net for Dre Kirkpatrick

Kirkpatrick is the third first-round corner selected in the Marvin Lewis era.

The Cincinnati Bengals surprised few at No. 17 with their pick of Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick. Though David DeCastro rated higher on most boards and in another position of need, Kirkpatrick was the last of three top-level cornerbacks in this year’s draft class. Kirkpatrick joins Johnathan Joseph (2006) and Leon Hall (2007) as the third corner selected in Round 1 during the Marvin Lewis era. Here’s what people are saying around the Internet about the first player Cincinnati acquired via the Carson Palmer trade.

Bengal Blogger’s take: This is the guy I had mocked to us all along. There were some other players I had hoped to see available or selected at this spot, but corner is just too important to overlook in today’s NFL. I had Kirkpatrick as the No. 2 corner in this year’s draft, only slightly behind Morris Claiborne (No. 6, Dallas) but well ahead of Stephon Gilmore (No. 10, Buffalo). Love his physical play. In the AFC North you need 11 defenders who aren’t afraid to hit and Kirkpatrick definitely doesn’t shy away from contact. Hard to argue with the pick, especially in hindsight after seeing how things unfolded after No. 17.

NFL Gridiron Gab strengths and weaknesses:

• Good instincts
• Physical Player
• Good Ball Recognition
• Really good footwork
• Versatile
• Needs to become bulkier
• Needs to continue to get better at wrapping up
• Needs to become more disciplined
• Does have some durability issues
• Needs to learn to be less physical down field

NFL Network’s Mike Mayock: “They desperately need this young player. Keep in mind that Cincinnati has signed several defensive backs this offseason. They understand that this is an area of concern. They just got themselves the last true first-round cornerback of this draft. Mike Zimmer will get an awful lot out of this kid.”

ESPN’s Todd McShay: “Finding a cornerback in Dre Kirkpatrick, who really is a top-20 talent in terms of his coverage ability and instincts, I think is a good pick … Kirkpatrick comes with a little off-the-field baggage and on the field, he really isn’t a huge playmaker. He has short arms and only had three interceptions the last two years and zero this past season. He’s never going to be a big-time playmaker but he’s strong vs. the run, he’s aggressive, he’s physical, he can press guys and he can play both man-to-man and zone coverages. So I think this is clearly an upgrade for the Bengals secondary.”

CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco: “They have questions about Leon Hall coming off an injury, so I like this pick. He was once considered a potential top-10 pick. I like it.” (Grade: A)

ESPN Scouts, Inc.: “The Bengals have tried this whole offseason to upgrade their secondary that was pretty good a year ago, but there are a lot of questions with age and durability. Their depth is suspect and they just don’t match up well in man-to-man coverage. Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer likes to gamble a lot and bring a variety of blitzes, and he is not afraid to put his corners on an island in man-to-man coverage. Kirkpatrick gives them a chance to probably contribute immediately in their subpackages as a third corner, eventually moving into a starting spot to replace Leon Hall and Nate Clements.”

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