Kirkpatrick “absolutely” is on the radar this week, ahead of Thursday’s start to the NFL draft, as “the desire for a corner remains,” per Fisher.
A standout collegiate performer, Kirkpatrick was a two-time National Champion and two-time second-team All-SEC selection at Alabama, for whom he tallied 91 tackles, 16 pass breakups and three interceptions across 38 career games.
The Cincinnati Bengals made Kirkpatrick the No. 17 overall selection in 2012. He was solid if unspectacular over eight seasons, totaling 302 combined tackles, 65 PBUs, 10 INTs, and two defensive touchdowns. He hasn’t notched a pick since 2017 nor lasted a full 16-game campaign since 2016.
Cincinnati deemed the injury-plagued Kirkpatrick expendable this offseason. He was released on March 31, after the club splurged for his replacement, former Vikings first-round CB Trae Waynes, who landed a three-year, $42 million contract.
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Potential Fit with Cowboys
The Cowboys are looking to bolster a 2020 depth chart impacted by the free-agent departure of Byron Jones — a depth chart that’s the sum of its parts. The back end, in general, was a major of emphasis as Dallas inked ex-Ravens CB Maurice Canady and former Packers star safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, the successor to Jeff Heath.
Kirkpatrick has the size (6-2) and ball skills to succeed in coordinator Mike Nolan’s system. He’d join a group that includes Canady, Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis and Anthony Brown.
New defensive back coaches Maurice Linguist and Al Harris, hired by new head coach Mike McCarthy, will earn their paychecks this coming season. Collective work is certainly cut out for them.
If Dallas Passes on Kirkpatrick …
It probably means they got their prized rookie, whoever that is. The Cowboys, owner of the No. 17 overall choice, have met, interviewed or been linked to a variety of blue-chip corners, such as Florida’s C.J. Henderson, LSU’s Kristian Fulton, Alabama’s Trevon Diggs, and Clemson’s A.J. Terrell.
“In the secondary we got Canady, and we’ll certainly look to improve (at cornerback),” Cowboys VP Stephen Jones said in a recent radio interview, possibly alluding to the draft.
Considering the club should double up at the position, adding 30-year-old Kirkpatrick might prove to be overkill. He appears more of a fallback than a prioritization, a Plan D rather than a plan A. Although, it never hurts to bring aboard experience.
In a related development (of sorts), the Cowboys are exploring a trade for a veteran slot wide receiver ahead of the draft, according to Fisher, who named Arizona’s Christian Kirk and San Francisco’s Marquise Goodwin as potential targets. This, like the Kirkpatrick revelation, seems contingent on how the draft ultimately shakes out.
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