Let me start off by saying this is in no means intended to be a scouting report or an in depth analysis of Kirkpatrick because that'd be a waste of time since we've all (presumably) read countless reports on him to date. This is just something I've been pondering and figured I'd post it for all (if any) who care to take interest in it. If, at all, I'm completely wrong with my line of thinking feel free to let me know how you feel.
Not too long ago at the beginning of the Cowboys offseason (yes the very beginning, during the playoffs) I was a huge proponent of drafting a CB in round 1. Of course I had dreams of Claiborne initially, but those died fast because, well, reality set in. I then zeroed in on Dre Kirkpatrick, I loved his size and his aggressiveness. He was my favorite pick for the Cowboys up until the Carr signing. Post Carr signing Mark Barron (who was always number 2 on my wish list) edged ahead of him for obvious reasons. Dre only dropped to number 2 however, because you can never have too many CBs and I also fancied the possibility of the FS swap.
After reading the front page post on Dre K this morning I began thinking about Dre K and the fact that he could very well play Corner or Safety effectively. This led me to another train of thought. Why does he have to play either or? If he is as good a corner as is believed converting him full time to safety makes no sense. So why not just let him battle it out with the league's best wideouts every snap? Well here's why, he's not a complete shutdown corner. Not to say he won't become one, but he isn't, yet, and most corners struggle early in the NFL anyway. Besides, in Carr and Jenkins we have two good man cover corners to play on the outside every week.
Ok so then the FS switch seems to be a valid argument especially considering his size and his physicality, right? I don't think so, well not completely at least. I do love the idea of him roaming around deep center since he's so good in zone, I'd be exited to know he was manning the position. I have a different thought though. This is where Rob Ryan comes in play. It's been well advertised that Rob likes versatile aggressive players that can be lined up all over the field and play multiple roles and I think Kirkpatrik fits this perfectly.
Suppose we are facing a team with the big tall receivers and maybe Jenkins is having a tough time, so we mix it up and have Dre K cover him a bit to take away the receiver's height advantage. Also suppose he is the designated CB on taller receivers in the red zone were his, not all world, straight line speed can't be exposed but his height would be a great asset.
In another situation a TE could be killing us over the middle and again Dre's size and toughness would make a better match so have him kick in to Safety to cover the TE, since they are getting too fast for most LBs, and leave Sensy or Poole roaming the back end. From this position he'd be in excellent position to also help in run support since he enjoys the physical nature of the game and he is a willing takler. He'd also be in prime position to blitz seeing as that Ryan does send his DBs after the QB at a fairly decent rate.
If Ryan likes the way Carr, Jenkins and Scandrick are holding up against the wideouts and we aren't struggling against any TEs we could take advantage of his strengths in zone and drop him back to roam as a FS. I believe he'd grab more Ints as a FS because he looks like he does a good job diagnosing plays and I think facing the ball he'd be a beast. Of course if he doesn't pick off or deflect a pass I'd trust him to make a solid tackle all the same.
So that being said I don't see Kirkptrick's value as being just a Corner or a safety and I don't think he should be used in either role solely (at least not in Dallas). I'd love to see Rob Ryan take him and make him a hybrid of the two positions and have him as a wild card that the offense can't plan for because they won't know what to expect on every snap. Imagine once he really gets a grasp of the playbook and Ryan starts moving him around pre-snap, the QB wouldn't know his intentions until the ball is snapped, that could lead to a lot of confusion. I really feel, the more I think about it, that Dre could be one of the better DB's in this league if he is used correctly. If he's drafted as solely a shutdown #1 corner he'll be good, but not as good. What would he do with the faster, quick twitch guys making double moves on him?
So what do you guys think? Does this make sense or is it nutty? Is it something that would take some time considering it's a lot to ask of a rookie? Or is it a good way to actually transition him into the defense, by giving him situational responsibilities (just at various positions), sort of like a situational pas rusher? Could be a bit of both or just a horrible idea all together. Maybe this is just my mind's way of keeping busy for the next week, man I'm going crazy. Anyway, for those that read I hope you enjoyed and I hope it was at least minimally thought provoking.