When the Cincinnati Bengals selected defensive back Dre Kirkpatrick 17th overall in the 2012 NFL Draft most people thought he would contribute right away. He helped lead Alabama to a National Championship and was accustomed to helping his team win.
Any contribution had to be put on hold for virtually his entire rookie season when Kirkpatrick suffered from various injuries that led to him only playing 43 defensive snaps. He is recovering from a procedure that cleaned out his knee, but he should be healthy for the start of 2013.
Kirkpatrick is a talented player that isn’t afraid to make a big hit. However, in college he struggled in man coverage, and not playing during his rookie season could definitely hurt his chances of having a significant role in 2013.
He is turning his injury-filled rookie campaign into a positive.
“I feel like one of the best things that could have happened to me was for me to sit there and watch,” Kirkpatrick told Bengals.com. “Watch the speed of the game. Watch how guys try to get guys out of their routes. Just go out there and really having a sense of how to attack the game and know how the game is played out there.”
It will be interesting to see if Kirkpatrick can find his way on the field in 2013. The Bengals have re-signed defensive backs Adam Jones and Terence Newman who both made significant contributions in 2012. If Kirkpatrick is expecting to start, he may be out of luck. Both Jones and Newman played well for the Bengals last season and are expected to do the same in 2013.