2018 NFL Draft Profile: Wide Receiver Christian Kirk
By William Schneiderhan
The 2018 NFL Draft has a pretty interesting, yet unclear wide receiver class. So, let’s take a look at the strengths, weaknesses, and draft day prediction for Texas A&M standout wide receiver Christian Kirk.
Former Aggie, Christian Kirk, has the potential to be one of the most electrifying wide receivers in the 2018 NFL Draft. The reason you may have never heard of Kirk? Since he arrived at Texas A&M, the team has gone 23-16. Not an awful record, but not nearly a strong enough showing to land any big-time bowl games in college football.
But, Kirk still had some eye-popping numbers, even with the team’s struggles. In his three years as an Aggie, he totaled 229 receptions, 2,796 receiving yards and 26 receiving touchdowns. Pretty strong, right? Well, if you’re not sold, take a look at this. Kirk’s numbers beat out Alabama standout Calvin Ridley in every major receiving category.
Kirk isn’t beating Ridley by a landslide, but he still has better numbers than Ridley while playing in the same, dominant conference of the SEC. Why this comparison? Because many believe Ridley to be the best receiver in this year’s draft.
Kirk’s value is also aided by his ability to make game-changing plays as a punt and kick returner. His collegiate career kick return numbers are 44 returns, 936 return yards, and one touchdown. His punt return numbers are 37 returns, 814 yards, and six touchdowns.
Yes, Kirk is a big playmaker that is ready to explode at any given moment. Sound familiar? Maybe like former SEC stud, and current New York Giant Odell Beckham Jr? Yes, this is a very lofty comparison, but Kirk’s size and play-making ability as a receiver and returner can be compared.
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According to NFL.com, Kirk’s biggest strength is his physical frame and strong pass-catching hands. He doesn’t have ideal height, at 5’11”, but that is tall enough to play in the slot.
However, where he lacks in height he makes up in weight. Kirk is very solid for his size, weighing in at 200 pounds. This is why NFL.com says he is well built, and that he has a strong upper and lower body.
Kirk has a natural pass-catching ability, which allows him to make some catches on inaccurate throws. The 21-year old has a dynamic route-running ability as well. He doesn’t shy away from big games either. He is a competitor, but that doesn’t result in him losing his cool.
According to NFL.com, Kirk doesn’t show explosiveness and burst out of his routes, therefore he may struggle to create separation between him and his defender. This is where the Beckham comparison loses some steam.
Another glaring issue is Kirk’s inability to make many athletic catches that aren’t thrown to his general location. This can be seen in his difficulty to evade downfield coverage due to his small size. Kirk also benefited from the offense run at Texas A&M because it featured many short routes and routes designed to get him into space.
DRAFT DAY PREDICTION
Kirk is projected as a second to third round draft pick. But, some mock drafts and websites like WalterFootball.com have him as a top-20 selection. So, Kirk seems to be a first rounder, and he may be a fairly underrated prospect.