When the Bengals drafted Dre Kirkpatrick in the first round of the 2012 draft, he was expected to inject youth into an aging cornerback corps with Leon Hall coming off of an Achilles injury.
The Bengals picked another corner in the first round this year and the arrival of Darqueze Dennard is again seen as an attempt to bring down the age of the cornerbacks with Hall coming off of an Achilles injury. While the maxim says that you can never have enough cornerbacks, doubling down on first-round picks could be construed as a disappointing development for Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick doesn’t feel that way, though.
“I actually was telling them that we needed a corner,” Kirkpatrick said, via the Cincinnati Enquirer. “A guy that can come in and learn because we obviously know that some of the guys are up in age and they don’t have that long to be here, but while they’re here they’ll make the best out of it. I was happy we got a corner.”
The Bengals may have still taken a corner if Kirkpatrick had done more in his first two seasons, but he didn’t make it all that tough a decision. Kirkpatrick didn’t see much playing time until Hall was injured last year and didn’t make much of an impression once his snaps did go up, leaving the Bengals unsure if he was overwhelmed or still catching up after losing most of his first two offseasons to injury.
He wouldn’t be the first corner to make a slow transition to the professional ranks and he’s still 24, so it would be unwise to totally write him off. The first two years created doubt, though, and that’s one of the reasons that Dennard landed in Cincinnati.