Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick is one of the nice comeback stories emerging from training camp this year. After suffering a knee injury last summer before training camp, Kirkpatrick was forced to miss camp, the preseason and all but five regular season games before his season ended with a knee injury that he struggled to recovery from.
The early reactions for Kirkpatrick this year are positive, breaking up passes and even scoring an interception during Monday's practice. Breaching the starting line-up this year won't be easy with Leon Hall, Terence Newman, Adam Jones and (arguably) Brandon Ghee standing in his way. But when ESPN's Jamison Hensley asked if he'll be ready to start this year, there is "no doubt" said the second-year cornerback.
"No doubt," he said. "It's not going to be on me to make that call. But I'll be ready. It won't be because of me not being ready. I will be ready. I'm just playing my role."
When he's not making plays on the field, or standing around Mike Zimmer, Leon Hall, and Terence Newman, Kirkpatrick is pacing on the sidelines, like an anxious predator.
His best play came Saturday when he leaped in the air and broke up a deep pass intended for Ryan Whalen. "It was mind-blowing a little bit because nobody expected him to get there and he got there," receiver Mohamed Sanu said.
Due to his coming out party and his red-shirt rookie season, it's almost like the Bengals received another first-round pick this year. This might be one of the strongest cornerback rosters that the Bengals have had during the Marvin Lewis era. Well, close to it at least.