Buccaneers Bring in Projected First-Round Cornerback for Visit

Kool-Aid McKinstry

Getty All-American Alabama cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in the middle of their Top 30 visits with prospects for the upcoming 2024 NFL draft, including a high-profile cornerback projected to go in the first round.

According to Bleacher Report NFL insider Jordan Schulz, the Buccaneers brought Alabama cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry to Tampa for an in-person visit on April 3.

McKinstry was the headliner of a flurry of defensive players visiting the Buccaneers in recent days, according to a list compiled by The Pewter Report.

Michigan cornerback Mike Sainristil, Air Force safety Trey Taylor and Clemson linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Jr. all also reportedly made their way to Tampa.

Kool-Aid McKinstry Projected Late First, Early Second Round

McKinstry’s given name is Ga’Quincy McKinstry — his grandmother gave him the “Kool-Aid” nickname when he was a baby because his smile reminded her of the Kool-Aid Man. He signed an NIL deal with Kool-Aid before his freshman season in 2021.

In three seasons at Alabama, McKinstry was a three-year starter and two-time first-team All-SEC selection in 2022 and 2023. He was named a first-team Associated Press All-American in 2023.

McKinstry was listed at 6-foot-1 and 180 pounds on Alabama’s roster but measured in at 5-foot-11 and 199 pounds at the NFL combine, where a Jones fracture was discovered in McKinstry’s right foot during medical evaluations.

Two weeks after the combine, McKinstry ran the 40-yard dash in 4.47 seconds with a broken foot and registered a 34.5-inch vertical leap at Alabama’s pro day. The plan is to have McKinstry have surgery on the foot and be ready for training camp and the season.

“McKinstry is more of a pure cover man than a playmaker, but his poise, intelligence and athleticism should lead him toward becoming a good outside corner with scheme versatility,” wrote NFL analyst Lance Zierlein.

The latest PFF mock draft from Brad Spielberger has McKinstry slotted to the Detroit Lions in the first round at No. 29 overall. ESPN’s Field Yates has McKinstry dropping to the Atlanta Falcons in the second round at No. 43 overall in his latest two-round mock draft.

What Does Buccaneers Secondary Look Like Right Now?

The Buccaneers are likely in the market for a cornerback after trading starter Carlton Davis III and a pair of sixth-round picks to the Lions in exchange for a 2024 third-round pick.

Tampa Bay seems strong at the safety positions after a stellar offseason. NFL All-Pro free safety Antoine Winfield Jr. has been given the franchise tag for 2024 and the Buccaneers brought back strong safety Jordan Whitehead on a two-year, $9 million contract via free agency.

Whitehead played his first four seasons with Tampa Bay and won a Super Bowl in 2020 before spending the last two seasons with the New York Jets.

“Whitehead is a tenacious downhill hitter and can cover the slot, as well as disrupt the run in the box,” wrote Buccaneers staff writer Brianna Dix. “He has the athletic ability to stay with tight ends in coverage and he possesses lethal closing burst. Whitehead plays with tenaciousness and will help fortify the Bucs’ secondary once again.”

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