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Meet the Prospect: Kool-Aid McKinstry

Name: Kool-Aid McKinstry

Position: Cornerback

School: Alabama

Ht/Wt: 5-11, 199

40-yard dash: 4.47 seconds (pro day)

Bench: Did not bench

Vertical: 34.5 inches (pro day)

Broad: 10-foot-1 (pro day)

3-cone: Did not run

20-yard shuttle: Did not run

View photos of NFL prospect Kool-Aid McKinstry.

How he fits: McKinstry was a three-year starter at Alabama. Starting as a true freshman at that program doesn't happen a lot. McKinstry has the physical tools, and is also smart and plays with discipline.

He gave up 19 receptions on 39 targets this past season for just 205 yards and one touchdown. He's very smooth in coverage and is equally as good in zone coverage as he is in man. He's not a super aggressive tackler in the run game, but that's something he'll learn quickly he needs to add to his game at the NFL level.

Some draft analysts questioned his long speed and he answered those questions by running in the mid-4.4s in the 40 at Alabama's pro day last week. He ran that time despite having a Jones fracture in his foot that was surgically repaired last Friday after Alabama's pro day. He's expected to make a full recovery and be ready for training camp. He also showed some punt return ability in college, averaging 11.9 yards per return on 35 attempts the last two seasons.

The Lions traded for veteran cornerback Carlton Davis III, signed veteran Amik Robertson in free agency and re-signed Emmanuel Moseley this offseason, but with the release of Cam Sutton Detroit's depth at cornerback is put into question a little bit. It certainly seems reasonable to think Lions general manager Brad Holmes could bolster the position in the first two days of the NFL Draft with one of their first three picks.

Key observations: McKinstry was selected as a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, presented each year to the nation's top defensive back, and was also named a semifinalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, which honors college football's best in character and performance.

What they had to say about him: "After starting for Nick Saban as a freshman and leading the SEC in passes defended as a sophomore, McKinstry's production fell by half in 2023 – but so did his targets (from 80 in 2022 to 39). Although he lacks sudden twitch in his movements, he plays with a confident and controlled demeanor.

"Malik Nabers supposedly has been telling NFL scouts that McKinstry was the best cornerback he faced in college. McKinstry raises the degree of difficulty for completions with his length and ability to play through the hands of receivers. His game is reminiscent of James Bradberry's." - Dane Brugler, The Athletic

Go behind the scenes with the Detroit Lions during 2024 free agency.

How he stacks up: Brugler lists McKinstry as his No. 29 overall prospect. analyst Bucky Brooks lists McKinstry as the fourth best cornerback available in the draft behind teammate Terrion Arnold, Quinyon Mitchell (Toledo) and Nate Wiggins (Clemson). McKinstry is the No. 42 overall player on NFL draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah's latest Top 50 prospects ranking, but Jeremiah said that if McKinstry ran fast at his pro day, which he did, 'it could really boost his stock.'

ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. ranks McKinstry No. 8 at the cornerback position in this draft. ESPN's Jordan Reid has McKinstry as his No. 24 overall prospect in the draft, and ESPN insider Field Yates ranks McKinstry as his No. 42 overall prospect.

What he had to say: "Just me being able to play man and not being afraid to get in one face and to challenge them at the line of scrimmage and being able to run with guys and cut them off and make plays down the field, make plays when they're shorter routes," McKinstry said at the Combine when asked about his best traits as they translate to NFL.

"I feel like I can fit into any scheme as a cornerback. I feel like if I went to a team that played man, they would be getting the same player that would have the same production."

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