2024 NFL Draft: Kool-Aid McKinstry could be a star in the Arizona Cardinals defensive system

The Crimson Tide cornerback looks like he would be a great fit for the Arizona Cardinals.

2024 NFL Draft: Kool-Aid McKinstry could be a star in the Arizona Cardinals defensive system

Over the next couple of weeks, leading up to the 2024 NFL Draft we will take a look at close to 30 prospects to know.

Within that, we will use the excellent work of Dane Brugler, who has just released his “The Beast” 2024 NFL Draft Guide. I highly recommend taking a peek and signing up for The Athletic if only to get Dane’s guide.

It is always an exhaustive work, and he should be commended.

With that said, we will go in order of Dane’s Big Board and use his final analysis as the wrap up of each prospect.

Next up is another intriguing cornerback prospect, that could fit with what the Arizona Cardinals need in Kool-Aid McKinstry.

Dane’s Take:

A three-year starter at Alabama, McKinstry lined up primarily at right outside cornerback in former head coach Nick Saban’s scheme (99.1 percent of his snaps came out wide). After starting for Saban as a freshman and leading the SEC in passes defended as a sophomore, his production was cut in half in 2023 —but so were his targets (from 80 to 39), and his tape was incrementally better each of the last three seasons.

A pure boundary cornerback, McKinstry looks the part of what Jonathan Gannon and Nick Rallis are looking for in their cornerbacks. 5-11 and 200lbs, and his testing numbers actually were better than expected after coming back from a Jones Fracture in his foot.

Although he lacks sudden twitch in his movements, McKinstry plays with a confident and controlled demeanor. NFL scouts say that both LSU receivers in this draft class (Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas Jr.) have called McKinstry the best cornerback they faced in college. He raises the degree of difficulty for completions with his length and ability to play through the hands of receivers.

McKinstry had an incredible career, and was always the top cornerback for the Tide, which is why seeing their other cornerback rising up to the top guy is interesting. McKinstry had 16 passes defensed and an interception last year, and had seven passes defensed this year in his All-American campaign.

Overall, McKinstry doesn’t play with high-level speed or aggression, but he is a long, smooth athlete with the football IQ that should translate quickly to an NFL field. His game reminds me of James Bradberry’s, and he will compete for starting reps as a rookie.

While Bradberry is a little bigger, he played incredible in Gannon’s defense in his one season with the Eagles and Gannon. And I see what Dane’s vision is and why so many see McKinstry as a great fit in the 27-35 range in this draft.

Next up… Zach Frazier.

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