Scouting Profile: Wide Receiver Christian Kirk
Christian Kirk, Texas A&M
Weight: 201 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.47 seconds
Vertical: 35.5 inches
Broad Jump: 9’7″
One player you won’t hear too many differing opinions on is Kirk, who is what can be described as a natural slot receiver. He’s not the flashy player that some others may be, but he’s one of the easier prospects to watch and figure out how he fits into the NFL.
While at Texas A&M, Kirk was also used to return kicks, though we don’t know if the team that selects him in the top two rounds will put him at risk. He was extremely consistent in his time throughout college, totaling at least 919 yards in each of his three seasons, though none with more than 1,009 yards. He did go out with a bang in his final game against Wake Forest, racking up 13 receptions for 189 yards and three touchdowns.
Size/Versatility: 2.5 out of 5 stars
He’s not a big guy by any means, but he earns an average grade here because his size is good for the role he’ll play, which is slot receiver. He’s built solidly, not carrying too much weight on any particular part of his body and looks like Golden Tate in a uniform. His versatility is essentially limited to slot work, screens, and even swing routes out of the backfield. Sometimes it’s good to be really good at something, rather than kind of good at a lot of things. Kirk knows what he is, as do NFL teams. He’ll be drafted to play the slot for someone.
Route Running/Ability to Separate: 4.0 out of 5 stars
One of the most admirable parts of Kirk’s game is his stability throughout movements. You’ll almost never see him off balance, something that’s important out of a possession slot receiver. He’s got subtle moves that get separation, but he does need to learn to sell his routes just a bit more. While going through his routes, you rarely see any head or hand gestures that cornerbacks love to bite on. Still, his route-running is something I’d consider a strength, even if it can be refined a bit more.
Speed: 4.0 out of 5 stars
After seeing Kirk spin a 4.47-second 40-yard dash, it turned heads at the NFL Combine, as he wasn’t expected to be that fast. Not that it’s the fastest of all the wide receivers, but when you have someone like him so fluid through their movements, it makes their play-speed even faster. It also explains why we saw him get open deep quite often throughout the season. He doesn’t have a ton of burst out of the hole, as evidenced by his 7.09-second three-cone drill, which was the sixth-slowest time among all wide receivers at the Combine. Still, it’s not going to severely impact him on the field, as his route-running is good enough to make up for the slight lack in acceleration.
Hands: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Kirk has solid hands, let’s be clear about that. However, he gets a slight knock in this category because he doesn’t have much length. He’s not a big target to throw to and has alligator arms. Rather than include that in his size, I thought it should affect his hands grade. It didn’t knock him down too far, though, as Kirk’s one of the more sure-handed wide receivers out of the slot. He knows when to snag the ball out of the air, but also knows when it’s wise to let it come into his body. When a quarterback is throwing the ball to Kirk, he shouldn’t have many worries about drops. Another slight knock is that Kirk will sometimes short-arm balls over the middle while in traffic.
Awareness: 3.5 out of 5 stars
There are pros and cons to this area of his game, as Kirk processes things well from the get-go, like how to successfully evade press coverage, but he also fails to be as aggressive as he should be when a ball is thrown into a 50/50 situation. Kirk adjusts to the ball well while it’s in the air, but I would prefer him to come back and at least contend underthrown balls rather than wait for them to fall into his basket. In between those two areas, Kirk is strong at knowing where to sit in zone coverage. He shows above-average intelligence on the field and it looks as if it comes natural to him.
After the Catch: 3.0 out of 5 stars
Knowing the way Kirk is built, I honestly expected him to be better after the catch. Not that he’s bad, but with his strong upper body, he should be able to break a few more tackles. He’s likely going to line up across from smaller cornerbacks who cover the slot, so it shouldn’t affect him too much. Once in the open field, he’s decisive and rarely hesitates in his movements. Knowing his long-speed, he’s not going to be caught from behind in the open-field any time soon.
Potential Landing Spot
The one spot I thought he may go prior to the Combine was to the Patriots at the end of the second-round as the eventual Julian Edelman replacement. It would be a great landing spot, but I don’t know if he falls that far any more. Of course, they can use their 2.11 pick from the 49ers, but I think they go defense or offensive line there. One of the teams who could snipe him in the middle of the second-round is the Bills, whose wide receiver corps is looking worse and worse by the day. After seeing Kelvin Benjamin have another knee surgery and Zay Jones have a meltdown, the Bills suddenly need a wide receiver extremely bad. Kirk would give their young quarterback (whoever that is) a reliable target over the middle of the field.
There’ve been a lot of Golden Tate comparisons for him, and while I understand the body comp, I think he’s more like Randall Cobb. He can be used in the return game, can be used out of the backfield, and will be lined up in the slot. They’re two players who have clear roles in today’s NFL now that a majority of teams run 3WR sets more than 60 percent of the time. Kirk is a sturdier and better built player than Cobb, though, so we shouldn’t see him hampered by injuries nearly as much as Cobb has been throughout his career. If he lands in an offense that uses him as a possession receiver, he’s going to make his mark in fantasy football.
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Derrius Guice (RB – LSU)
Ronald Jones (RB – USC)
Sony Michel (RB – Georgia)
Nick Chubb (RB – Georgia)
Royce Freeman (RB – Oregon)
Rashaad Penny (RB – San Diego State)
Kerryon Johnson (RB – Auburn)
John Kelly (RB – Tennessee)
Kalen Ballage (RB – Arizona State)
Calvin Ridley (WR – Alabama)
James Washington (WR – Oklahoma State)
Courtland Sutton (WR – Southern Methodist)
Michael Gallup (WR – Colorado State)
D.J. Moore (WR – Maryland)