TUSCALOOSA AL - SEPTEMBER 11: Dre Kirkpatrick #21 of the Alabama Crimson Tide attempts to gain control of a fumble against quarterback Robert Bolden #1 of the Penn State Nittany Lions at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 11 2010 in Tuscaloosa Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Months passed, mock drafts speculated while fans endlessly pondered. Who would the Cincinnati Bengals select with their No. 17 pick -- a pick acquired from the Raiders after the Bengals sent Carson Palmer to Oakland. After every bit of patience applied, the Cincinnati Bengals selected Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick.
With three cornerbacks playing on the final year of their existing deals, along with a rehabilitating Leon Hall and the entire cornerback roster averaging nearly 30 years old, it made sense for the Bengals to acquire the best available cornerback prospect.
Read More: Joe Goodberry's Scouting Report On Dre Kirkpatrick
LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne (No. 5 to Jacksonville) and South Carolina cornerback Stephon Gilmore (No. 10 to Buffalo) were the first cornerbacks selected ahead of Kirkpatrick.
From the Scout Inc. scouting report:
Athletes like Kirkpatrick are able to defy the perception that taller skill players don't have the footwork and agility that shorter players do. Kirkpatrick will thrive initially within a zone scheme, where he can use his burst and length to cover ground and remain active. He is so talented athletically that he could likely be tested early on an island in man coverage and excel, and he possesses the confidence and field presence necessary to take on such a task.
Kirkpatrick has issues that surround all aspects of his prospects and overall value as he enters the draft. He is very thin and some will question his ability to play physically at the next level. Although he has always been advertised as a cornerback, his size and athletic ability could encourage a transition to safety. It remains to be seen if Kirkpatrick can add weight to compete at that position after three years at Alabama where his physical development was minimal.