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Mike Zimmer extremely impressed by Dre Kirkpatrick

Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer had his expectations for Dre Kirkpatrick's return. It just so happened that Kirkpatrick blew away Zimmer's expectations.

Joe Robbins

With his rookie season blanketed under the red-shirt description, Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick is finally healthy. Not only is he practicing every day during training camp, the second-year cornerback is impressing everyone. From the coaching staff to the opposing receivers that he covers every day.

"Dre is looking good," Mohamed Sanu told Dan Hoard with "He’s big, physical, strong, fast, and he’s so rangy that it’s hard to get away from him sometimes. He looks healthy and explosive and he’s going to be really good for us this year."

Even more impressed is defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer.

"He's done really well – much better than I anticipated he would," Zimmer told Dan Hoard at "He has long arms, he understands concepts now, and he's buying in to coaching."

"He's improved so much from where he was last year before he got hurt. I figured that he'd start out kind of slow because he hadn't done much because of the knee. I figured that he would be a lot further behind than what he is."

Don't expect Kirkpatrick to be the starting cornerback opposite of Leon Hall. That's Terence Newman's job to lose. But the aging cornerback will eventually have to give way to the future. And Kirkpatrick has said on multiple occasions that he intends to take it as he continues to develop.

"I had such high expectations for myself being the first pick for the Bengals that I felt like I let everybody down," said Kirkpatrick. "But God gave me another opportunity and I'm just trying to make the best of it.

"I have so much to prove. I just want it so bad and I'm going to be ready no matter what. I'm doing everything in my power to understand the game better, be in position, and eliminate my mental errors."