by J.T. Toth
Photo courtesy of Alabama Athletics.
The NFL Draft talk never ends and we are here at Draft 412 in an effort to keep you ready for the next set of gridiron stars. From today until draft night 2024, we will bring you mocks, profiles, team needs, and everything else related to the 2024 NFL Draft.
Today’s Spotlight - Alabama CB, Kool-Aid McKinstry.
Name- Kool-Aid McKinstry
HT/WT- 6’1” 195 lbs.
Home – Birmingham, AL
His real name is Ga’Quincy McKinstry. He was nicknamed “Kool-Aid” shortly after birth by his grandmother who said his smile reminded her of the Kool-Aid Man. He has since signed an NIL deal with Kool-Aid during his freshman season at Alabama.
A five-star recruit out of Birmingham, McKinstry was named Alabama’s Mr. Football as a senior at Pinson Valley High School. His senior year, he broke up 12 passes and had 2 interceptions which were both returned for touchdowns. On offense, he had 46 receptions for 706 yards and 11 touchdowns. Committed to playing football at Alabama after strongly considering Auburn and LSU.
McKinstry played in every game as a freshman and never looked out of place. He finished the season with 25 tackles and had a sack and an interception. He was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team. McKinstry was a shut-down defender in year two and was named a semi-finalist for the Bednarik Award. Big things are expected of McKinstry in 2023 and he was named a Walter Camp Preseason First-Team All-American.
In 2023, opponents as a whole rarely throw his way so he only seems to have pedestrian numbers for Alabama. In 13 starts he collected 27 tackles and had 7 passes defended. Teams change their game plan against McKinstry.
In today's NFL with ultra-fast wide receivers, a team would be blessed to have a cornerback like McKinstry. With above average height and weight for a corner, McKinstry has the strength and the speed to do whatever it takes to mirror the wide receiver in his route. McKinstry displays the ability to leverage a wide receiver against the sidelines, hence taking away the receiver's route and space. He has smooth hips to help him in and out of breaks. He also has the ability to read the ball and knows where to be to create disruption and has good hands when attacking the football. He’s a good tackler with the right form in wrapping up ball carriers and has recovery skills when closing in on targets.
He can use his hands better to disrupt the receivers off the line of scrimmage but if there is a critique to be offered, he does lack effort at times and will give up on plays that happen on the other side of the field. He will need to improve his tenacity and motor to become a complete player.
Good build for the position
Great at mirroring the opposition
Athletic with good hands
Above average tackler for cornerback
Motor needs to be improved
Gives up on plays too soon.
Bites on play action too often
Tendency to get beat up top at times.
A cornerback with this kind of hype will open up all NFL GM’s eyes. McKinstry can be a #1 cornerback day one and solidify a team's secondary. The NFL got to taste the “Sauce” in 2022 (4th overall) and Draft 412 is sure some team will drink the “Kool-Aid” right around the same time in 2024.
Prediction- Top 10 pick in 2024.