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Kool-Aid McKinstry 2024 NFL Draft Profile

Kool-Aid McKinstry
Kool-Aid McKinstry goes under the microscope for the 2024 NFL Draft Profile series. Read more inside the post! (Gary Cosby Jr.-Tuscaloosa News / USA TODAY NETWORK)

Kool-Aid McKinstry 2024 NFL Draft Profile

Kool-Aid McKinstry has a really cool name, but how good of a football player is he really? That’s why you’re here so I’m just going to get on with it. Here is your 2024 NFL Draft Profile on the Alabama cornerback.

Ga’Quincy “Kool-Aid” McKinstry was a monster recruit coming out of high school. The Pinson, Alabama native was a five star recruit in high school and was the number one rated cornerback in the 2021 class. Number one player in the state of Alabama too. Also played basketball in high school and was no slouch. A true two-sport athlete. Helped his team win a state title in football and played both sides of the ball amassing big stats as a receiver too. McKinstry won MVP of the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star, ASWA’s Mr. Football, MaxPreps Alabama High School Football Player of the Year, and AL.com Birmingham Male Athlete of the Year.

Got on the field right away as a freshman for Alabama. Three year starter and the Crimson Tide left him on an island. The Kool-Aid man was tasked with covering the opposing team’s number one every single week. All-SEC freshman in year one. Year two really established himself as a dude. His 2022 season was electric and held opposing quarterbacks to a 59.0 QB rating when targetted. Took a small step back in 2023 but also was dealing with a Jones fracture in his foot.

McKinstry is truly a four down player. The minute you draft this player, he likely becomes your best return man over night. It’s a matter of if you want to use him in that role. Especially if you’re taking him in the first round. The Tide did not use him that way in 2023 but they got him plenty of looks in 2022. Kool-Aid man averaged 15.8 yards per punt return in 2022. Just an insane number.

Wouldn’t say that McKinstry is a burner but he’s more than fast enough. With the Jones fracture, we unfortunately don’t have Combine information, but this is a rare player that I probably don’t need it. Probably would have came in the 4.45 range. You don’t ask players who are slow to return punts. You don’t ask players who are slow to be put on man-on-man islands.

Checks in at nearly 6-foot, 199. More importantly, Kool-Aid man has great length. 32 inch arms for a cornerback is fantastic. Does have small hands but he’s so good at catching the ball that I’m not sure it’s a concern. Not as a DB. Plus, he’s really good at deflecting passing and using his hands. That 2022 season he had 15 pass breakups. Wish he had more than two career interceptions but during the latter stages of his college career teams stopped throwing the ball to his side of the field and decided they would rather pick on Terrion Arnold.

Thought he looked bored at times last year. Call it the Derek Stingley effect. Got caught sleeping a few times from inactivity and got beat. That’s really the only knock you can have on the guy. A pure outside corner that plays a lot of man-on-man. I’m quite sure he can play zone but he wasn’t asked to do it a ton. Most of the time it was just Kool-Aid man you take care of your side of the field and we’ll figure out the rest. What I like most about him is he’s twitched up and quick short area. Beautiful recovery speed and mirrors the receiver well. Short area he’s a rare athlete and just makes plays you deem as impossible.

The thing with McKinstry is that I can see him transitioning into a free safety later in his career. He has the potential to become a ballhawk. More importantly, he plays with physicality. Maybe not a sure fire tackler but he gets in there and makes his presence known. Has been really clutch as a blitzer when called upon too. Just a guy you can call upon in multiple situations. If you want Kool-Aid man to track a tight end, he can do it.

I have a first round grade on Kool-Aid McKinstry and believe he is THE best cornerback in the 2024 NFL Draft. The biggest mistake some of these people continue to make is overthinking the room. Get rid of the draft politics and boil it down to its core. McKinstry has been thought of as a gem in the high school ranks and was a total playmaker at Alabama in the heart of SEC land. He’s been their top corner and return man. He should be treated like that by the rest of the NFL Draft community.

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