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First Round Pick Dre Kirkpatrick Talks Draft, Bengals’ Future

By C. Trent Rosecrans · May 1st, 2012 · Sports
drePhoto: Bengals.com
The Bengals did exactly what they were expected to do in the first round of the NFL draft on April 26 — take a cornerback and an offensive guard, even if the names were different than expected. Last Thursday, cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick of Alabama and Wisconsin guard Kevin Zeitler became the newest Bengals. On Friday, CityBeat spoke with Kirkpatrick, who was taken with the 17th overall pick.

CityBeat: So, what was your draft night like?
Dre Kirkpatrick
: I was in New York — it was a very exciting moment. I was pretty much just waiting for my name. I wasn’t trying to get caught up in where I went, where I was going. I was playing with my little boy, interacting with my family. I just wanted to hear my name — that was the most important thing.

CB: Did it go quickly or slowly? On TV it seemed pretty quick.
: Man, to me, that was the fastest draft. Three teams had already picked before one team even presented their pick. Everything was very fast. 

CB: Did you know two or three picks before they announced that you were coming to Cincinnati?
: I knew because the camera had already come on me and they were two picks away from the Bengals, so ... I saw that phone light up and knew that area code.

CB: You visited Cincinnati before the draft — what were you looking for?
: I wanted to know if I fit here — is the locker room going to be happy with me? Like I said, I want to be on the field with guys that want me on the field. I don’t want to be on the field because the coach puts me out there on the field and my peers, my teammates, don’t want me there. That’s the most important thing, and we’ll find out.

CB: You’ve probably been dreaming about this weekend for most of your life.

Has any of it caught you by surprise or has it been as you expected?
: Everything’s been a surprise because I’ve never been drafted. I thought about being drafted all my life, but now that it’s here, it’s a blessing. Everything’s exciting right now.

CB: Any idea how many Twitter followers (@DreKirkSWAG) you’ve picked up?
: I ain’t even look at my Twitter. My Twitter, my text messages ... we’ll do that later on. We’ll check that out later on.

CB: Did Coach Nick Saban have any parting words of wisdom?
: He told me to stay focused, that he’ll still be there in my corner. He always tells us, “If you mess up, I’m still going to spank that ass.” He’s going to be Coach Saban. He’s going to be daddy. He’s a person I wouldn’t want to leave my corner.

CB: When you look and see six cornerbacks on this team that were taken in the first round (Kirkpatrick, Jason Allen, Nate Clements, Leon Hall, Adam Jones, Terrence Newman) are on this roster, are you excited that there’s that kind of talent and experience around you?
: Yeah, it’s a great positive. They’ve been there, they’ve been through adversity that I’ll have to go through. I’m just happy I have someone who will be able to show me how to work my way out of it.

CB: Your dad was here today, what did he mean to you growing up?
: He is my role model. He’s someone that I’d love to be like when I get older. Because he’s a humble guy, he’s never told me anything wrong. He’s going to make sure what’s best for me is best for me.

CB: Any interest in following in his footsteps as a minister?
: You can’t just say you want to be a minister. That’s got to be a calling. If I get that call, I’ll be a minister.

CB: You only gave up one touchdown in college — to Florida — how much did that bother you at the time and what did you learn from it?
: At the time, I didn’t think anything else about it. But after the game it bothered me, because I don’t like getting beat. I have that pride in myself — I don’t like to get beat. It’s something I had to work on and I got it right.

CB: Have you talked much with your friend Trent Richardson, who is now a rival with the Browns, since you were both drafted?
: We’ve talked. It’s going to be great (to play him twice a year). I have to man up — as I told him, we’re not on the same team no more.

CB: Right, you said something about a contract? What’s the contract?
: We had a contract … that if we see each other coming, you just give a nice little bump and go on about your business. Now it’s going to be the other way around because the Bengals have put me here to make that play. Now I’ve got to man up and he’s got to man up and be the best we can be.

CONTACT C. TRENT ROSECRANS: letters@citybeat.com, ctrent@cnati.com or on Twitter @ctrent



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