Originally posted on Bleed Black & Gold  |  Last updated 2/4/12

Dre Kirkpatrick is a guy I have not ever had on my radar as I had him at the beginning of the season as a top 10 pick.  He has taken a big hit as of late because he plays better in a zone scheme then in one on one man coverage.  Since he is better in zone and he is 6’3 which is big for a corner some have him projected as a safety in the NFL.  He is falling on draft boards and could fall farther by the time draft day comes around if he does not have a big combine.

This is all to the Steelers benefit.  Kirkpatrick is just the kind of guy that fits the Steelers mold.  He plays zone very well.  He comes up strong in the running game and hits like a truck.  He is very long and can keep his area covered.  He does struggle a bit with the deep ball but in zone coverage that will not be as big of a deal and it is something he can work on with Carnell Lake.  Lake made William Gay look good this year just think what he can do with a top tier talent.

Kirkpatrick has dropped into the 20′s on many boards.  I have him ranked as the 21st best prospect right now.  There are a many good linemen on both sides of the ball in this draft though.  It is not because he is not good it is because these guys are that good.  He is Mike Mayock’s number 5 cornerback behind Claiborne, Dennard, Jenkins and Bruce Johonson.  ESPN ran Mel Kiper’s Ranking across their bottom line and Kiper has him as the 23rd best prospect.

Add to that what happened in last years draft and it is a real possibility that Kirkpatrick could fall to the Steelers.  Last year Prince Amukamara was rated anywhere between 8-15 depending on who you were paying attention to.  He was not supposed to slip past the Lions at 13 if he slipped at all.  He was the number 2 cornerback in the draft.  Amukamara slid all the way down to 19 and was picked by the Giants.  Six spots farther then he was supposed to drop.

If this were to happen you would not hear me complain.  We have needed a great corner for years.  Kirkpatrick is that guy.  He would fit to what we need.  He tackles just like we expect him to.  He could be a real asset to this team.  If he falls just because he is not a man to man guy that only benefits us.  If you would have told me this was possible at the beginning of the season I would have laughed at you.  Now I could be laughing because we get a steal in Kirkpatrick.

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