Rookie Spotlight: Christian Kirk, Texas A&M University
Height: 5’ 11’’ (unofficial)
Weight: 201 lbs (unofficial)
40 yard dash: 4.45 (unofficial)
NFL Comparison: Steve Smith, Odell Beckham Jr.
– extremely fast, but also solidly built
– elusive runner
– great lateral agility
– able to utilize broken plays for big gains
– premier kick-returner
– explosive and powerful in tight spaces
– dynamic route-runner in and out of the slot
– doesn’t always catch the ball cleanly
Scouting Notes: Christian Kirk isn’t your prototypical NFL receiver. In fact, he, much like fellow 2018 WR star prospect James Washington, often looks more like a running back with the ball in his hands – stout and powerful, with the ability to break tackles. Kirk has speed for days, in short bursts on the line of scrimmage and in the open field. If he has a lane, he’s probably not going to get caught, and he has enough lateral agility to get extra yardage even if he has defenders in front of him. He’s a playmaker in the truest sense – he can turn broken plays into scoring plays with his elusive maneuvers and explosive movements in and out of cuts. He can run a reverse just as well as he can run a 9-route, and he’s adept at catching the ball and not losing speed or momentum.
Yes, Kirk is undersized when you compare him to most of the premier receivers in the NFL, but his solid build gives would-be tacklers just as many fits as a few more inches in height would. Still, it’s yet to be seen if he’ll be able to separate in the pros like he did at Texas A&M, though his elite speed should serve him well.
As a blocker, Kirk is effective enough, though he doesn’t pack a wallop like fellow smallish receiver Heinz Ward did when he was playing. Kirk does enough to slow down defenders though, and that’s all that he’s going to be asked to do for the most part. .
Kirk’s hands are solid, though he doesn’t always catch the ball cleanly, too often catching the ball into his body. This might have something to do with the inaccuracy of his quarterback at A&M, in which case this fact might actually be a boon, and he really just has a knack for pulling in poorly thrown or otherwise uncatchable balls.
Fantasy Outlook: There are bigger and more polished receivers in this year’s draft, but few excite me like Kirk does when he steps on the field. You just get the feeling that he can break away for a big gain at any moment. His usefulness as a kick-returner just boosts his already high stock up even higher – he’s likely to be the second or maybe even first receiver taken in the draft, and I think he’s well deserving of it. Because Kirk can be used all over the field and in the kicking game, he’s likely to see NFL action early and often, regardless of what team he ends up on. He was able to carve out a major role in a crowded and talented A&M receiving corps from day one, and he shouldn’t have trouble doing the same in the pros.
Kirk should be among your top 5 dynasty picks this season and a mid-round consideration for standard formats, as he’s going to be an impact player in year one of his likely to be illustrious NFL career.
Served as an offensive captain, starting in all 12 games … Named First Team All-SEC as all-purpose and return specialist and tabbed as a Second Team All-SEC wide receiver … racked up 730 receiving yards on 58 catches with seven touchdowns … returned 21 kicks for 480 and a touchdown … returned eight punts for 175 yards and a touchdown … averaged 117.7 all-purpose yards per game … is the only SEC player to return both a punt and kickoff for a touchdown this season … active FBS career leader in punt return average at 22.8 … named SEC Special Teams Player of the Week after returning a kickoff for 100 yards against Arkansas … also made five catches for 110 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner in OT against the Razorbacks … hauled in four catches for 120 yards with a touchdown and returned a punt 90 yards for a score against New Mexico … made seven catches for 78 yards and a touchdown at LSU … recorded touchdown receptions against Nicholls, Louisiana and Alabama.