Blogging The Boys will begin taking a look at some of the NFL Draft prospects that will be in the 2018 NFL Draft class. Some weeks, we will look at potential targets that will be within the Cowboys’ expected draft range. Others, we will highlight some of the elite members of the class.
Another week, another draft prospect to familiarize yourself with here at BTB!
In recent weeks, we have looked at weapons to add to Dak Prescott’s arsenal, most recently USC wide receiver Deontay Burnett and Memphis wideout Anthony Miller. The passing game needs a boost, so it wouldn’t be a shock if the Cowboys opt to give Dak another target in the first round or so. Last week, on the defensvie side, we took a look at the Washington Huskies’ big defensive tackle Vita Vea. The Cowboys will have a variety of options they can choose from once draft time arrives.
This week, we move back to the offensive side of the ball. While Alabama Crimson Tide receiver Calvin Ridley is widely considered the draft class’ top wideout, there are many others that can make a big impact for whichever team they are drafted to as well. Burnett, Miller, and Cam Sutton are just a few that come to mind.
Today, we’ll look at one of the draft’s best receivers, returners, and explosive playmakers: Texas A&M do-it-all athlete Christian Kirk.
Christian Kirk — wide receiver, Texas A&M Aggies
Christian Kirk entered the collegiate ranks after putting together a crazily impressive prep career in Arizona. Kirk inked with Texas A&M over just about every program in the country, as the five-star prospect wanted to play in Kevin Sumlin’s spread offensive in the Lone Star State. Now, Kirk enters the 2018 NFL Draft as one of the more intriguing players in his draft class.
Because he arrived in College Station with a lot of hype, Kirk was expected to produce early and often for the Aggies during his debut season on the collegiate level — and boy, did he. As a freshman, Kirk played in all 13 games and caught 80 balls for a whopping 1,009 yards and seven touchdowns. He averaged nearly 13 yards per reception and was clearly the Aggies’ go-to threat during his first season on campus. Not impressive enough? Kirk also handled return duties, returning 20 kicks for 385 yards and 14 punts for 341 yards and two scores. Kirk was selected to the SEC’s first team all-conference at the All-Purpose spot.
Kirk continued his impressive success in year two. The dynamic athlete became more of a focal point for opposing defensive game plans; still, though, Kirk caught three more passes than he did in his freshman season, recorded 928 yards, and found the end zone nine times from the wideout position. He also averaged more than eleven yards per reception in 13 games. As a punt returner, Kirk totaled 282 yards and three touchdowns on 13 returns in 2016.
The All-American finished his collegiate career in impressive fashion in 2017. He caught 71 passes for 919 yards and a career-high 10 touchdowns, along with a career-high 12.9 yards per reception. No matter how much defensive coordinators planned to take him out of games, Kirk always found a way to beat them. Kirk returned another touchdown in his punt return duties during his junior season just for good measure. He went out with a bang in his final game for the Aggies — catching 13 passes for 189 yards and three touchdowns in a wild 55-52 loss to the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. Kirk was definitely a special player during his electrifying Texas A&M career.
Now, the big-play threat looks towards the NFL. He will likely be a day one or two pick and will instantly give his new team a player that is a threat to score from anywhere on the field. But how will the slot transition to the NFL? Here is what Walter Football has to say about the former Texas A&M star. Baby Beckham?
The passing-driven nature of the NFL makes a weapon like Kirk in demand for pro offenses. Some scouting sources told me that during his freshman season Kirk immediately jumped out to them as being a special player and their nickname for Kirk was “Baby Beckham” in reference to Odell Beckham Jr.
What team sources love about Kirk is his raw speed and explosiveness. He is very fast and a threat to take any touch into the end zone. Kirk is dynamic as a deep receiver to stretch the field vertically while providing a serious home-run weapon to his offense. His raw speed makes him a huge challenge for cornerbacks to run with him. The lightning-fast Kirk can just bolt past a cornerback and safety deep down the field even when the defense knows he is going to push them vertically. Even on short receptions, Kirk is dangerous as he is the kind of receiver who can take a quick slant all the way down the field to the end zone.
I’m not sure he is an Odell clone (but then again, who is?), but Kirk certainly resembles traits of the former LSU phenom. Kirk has the speed to fly by defensive backs, the IQ to find open areas in a zone defense, and the home-run ability to turn a five-yard catch into an explosive touchdown. His ability to be a playmaker in the return game also adds value to his stock.
The one issue (for the Cowboys) in drafting Kirk is that he may be too similar to two players already on the roster: Cole Beasley and Ryan Switzer, who Dallas selected in the fourth round just last year. Both Bease and Switz handle return duties and we saw a little bit of what Switz can do from the slot in the season finale versus the Eagles. Would the Cowboys want to spend a premium pick on a player that is similar to those? If it was up to me, yes.
Why? Well other than his explosive ability and good character, Kirk is the ideal guy for a “Dak-friendly” offense. We have heard the term “Dak-friendly” a lot lately, signaling that the front office and coaching staff want to build its offense around what Dak Prescott does best. Well, a player that would help Dak significantly would be Kirk. His playmaking ability in the slot would give Dak a a go-to target and give a Cowboys a big-play maker on the offense, something that would benefit Dez Bryant and Ezekiel Elliott.
Will the Cowboys take Kirk? I have no idea. I’m not sure the Cowboys take him at 19 (especially if a guy like Calvin Ridley or even Roquan Smith is still on the board), and he may be picked before their second selection; however, everything is fluid in this draft process, so who knows?
I don’t about you, but I think Christian Kirk wearing The Star would be a lot of fun.
Catch up with our previous installments below!