First Impressions: CB Dre Kirkpatrick's return

Joe Robbins

Bengals CB Dre Kirkpatrick is coming off an injury that basically wiped out his rookie season. How has he looked at training camp? We ask our crew that's been at training camp.

Spending months on the sidelines during his red-shirt rookie season, cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick is ready to prove himself. The aggressive cornerback intends to be ready as the team's starter opposite of Leon Hall when that day comes. But for now the second-year defensive back, playing roughly as the team's fourth and fifth cornerback on the training camp depth chart, is starting from scratch with a humbled perspective.

And he's off to a good start, making plays during training camp but most importantly developing as a first-round cornerback. And when he's not on the field, he's pacing on the sidelines, eager to get back on the field.

"The pacing was something that stood out to me simply because his teammates were focused on what was happening on the field," Andrew Miller, one of our training camp correspondents said. "Brennen (Warner) alluded to the fact that Kirkpatrick was getting involved in conversation with (defensive coordinator Mike) Zimmer and the other cornerbacks on Monday. That's good to hear because I wasn't sure if he was just anxious to prove himself on the field or if he truly had difficulty paying attention to his team during practice. I really think he's trying to make up for lost time as quickly as possible."

"I think the pacing just shows how badly he wants to be on the field," said Warner, another one of our corespondents. "He's very confident in his abilities as a corner and he plays with a lot of aggression. He builds momentum by making plays and getting pass break ups. That's why he's called Swagger."

On the field, Kirkpatrick has been an impressive contributor.

"It's clear that he's playing hard when he's out there," writes Miller. "I can see the urgency he's placing on every play. Even if his man didn't get a pass, he was clearly criticizing himself on the field if he felt he wasn't doing what he needed to do. He broke up a play while covering Ryan Whalen on Saturday. He seemed to focus even more after that play."

"Really, really impressed," writes Warner. "He's gotten better at looking back and playing the ball too. He used to just stick to the receiver's hips and not play the ball. Athletically, he's very quick, fast, and long. The sky is the limit for him if he can stay healthy. Right now, he's the fourth or fifth corner on the team (behind Hall, Jones, Newman, and tied with Ghee). Just goes to show how stacked our CB position is right now."

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