Could Dre Kirkpatrick Be The Breakout Player Detroit Needs?

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Could The Detroit Lions Pull Another Player From The Cincinnati Bengals?

Dre Kirkpatrick hasn’t had it easy through this point in his career so far. After becoming a first round pick out of Alabama, he sat the bench as the Bengals generally do with young corners, and also dealt with injuries most of his first three seasons. Through the last two years though, Kirkpatrick has shown significant growth and an intriguing size/skill combination. Living in the shadow of Terrance Newman, Leon Hall, and Adam Jones has clearly refined his technique and improved his decision making. To this point he hasn’t shown lockdown ability, but he’s been able to hold his own as an OK number one. While he’s been a bit of a disappointment for the Bengals, moving him to Detroit at the right dollar value could make him a very nice deal as the Lions number two corner.

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What Does Dre Kirkpatrick Bring To The Table?

Kirkpatrick plays both zone and man scheme’s proficiently, grading out as last year’s best go route corner. He excels by using his deceptive speed to stick with receivers, or cover a wide zone to sucker a QB into a throw. He then utilizes his huge wingspan to break up passes and get at the ball. In a #2 role playing with an over the top safety, Kirkpatrick could afford to take a few more chances which would allow him to capitalize more on his solid ball skills and increase his rate of generating turnovers. While he has a lean frame, which leads to issues in tackling, run support and physicality at times, he’s developed a much improved body awareness and positioning technique. That allows him to stop the reception while working outside the range of the opposing receiver or he works timing to dive in at the last moment and disrupt the ball. If he continues to build off of last year and avoid mental lapses he will be an asset to whoever picks him up.

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Why Might Dre Kirkpatrick Be Available?

While Adam Jones, Kirkpatrick’s counterpart, has faced some legal trouble recently the Bengals still have a clear succession plan in place at cornerback. First rounder Darqueze Dennardin 2014, 2015 fourth rounder Josh Shaw, and 2016 first rounder William Jackson III provide the Bengals with an absurd amount of talent. They could easily wave goodbye to both Kirkpatrick and Jones this offseason and still have a phenomenal cornerback group. Knowing Cincinnati they would probably just go ahead and draft yet another corner early to fill the perceived “hole”. On top of this it has been reported that the Bengals intend to be “frugal” with their own free agents. That will make signing players like Kirkpatrick, who should get a fairly substantial deal, that much more unlikely. If they truly believe in their young talent they don’t need to spend the kind of money it will take to keep Kirkpatrick in tiger stripes.

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Bottom Line On Dre Kirkpatrick

There are two keys to a Lions-Kirkpatrick union this offseason: consistency and dollar value. He will need to ensure he continues to grow as a player from the 2015 campaign and not revert back to his prior seasons of mistakes. Kirkpatrick from 2015 is a significant value to any team that targets him. If he’s going to turn back into a pumpkin leading to blown coverages and a ton of penalty flags though this deal simply isn’t going to work out. On the other hand he also needs to be in the right price range. The Kirkpatrick sweet spot is around $6-$7 million a year as a strong number two corner on a 4-5 year deal. That puts him firmly inside the second tier of the cornerback market, as in reality his best fit is as a number two guy. If team’s start offering him first tier cornerback money in the $10 million plus range then it’s time to move on. Not only would that be a poor investment, it’s simply not viable with Darius Slay making the money he does on the other side. At the end of the day Kirkpatrick, so long as he continues his upward trajectory. would make for a very nice compliment to Darius Slay in Detroit’s secondary.

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About the Author

Adam Ostermeier
Adam Ostermeier is a staff writer for From Toronto, Ontario, Canada, he has been a fan of the Lions for close to a decade and has a wide range of knowledge and experience with numerous sports. Watch for him on the reddit or send him a tweet, he will answer any of your questions and try not to be smug to the best of his ability.