June 23, 2024

We continue our analysis of draft prospects that the Dallas Cowboys might be interested in for the 2024 NFL Draft. Today, we’ll be examining Alabama cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry.

As the top cornerback prospect entering college, Kool-Aid McKinstry—better known by his real name, Ga’Quincy McKinstry—had a five-star recruit rating from 247 Sports. He therefore received 27 offers before deciding to play for Alabama, his local team because he was from Birmingham and lived about 50 miles from the university.

Kool-Aid McKinstry - Football - University of Alabama Athletics

When McKinstry was born, his grandmother gave him the moniker “Kool-Aid.” McKinstry said she believed his smile looked like the Kool-Aid Man. Upon beginning his high school football career, McKinstry adopted the moniker Kool-Aid, and the moniker stuck.

He took part in 11 games in 2021 as a freshman. By the time Alabama made it to bowl season and the playoffs, he had moved up from being a rotational player to a starting position. In 479 snaps of action, he recorded 26 tackles (including one for a loss), one sack, and one interception.

In his sophomore year, McKinstry started all 13 games for Alabama in 2022 and totaled 848 defensive snaps. He made 35 tackles, one interception, and fifteen passes defensed. He allowed a completion rate of only 46% and a passer rating allowed of only 57.9, which was second-best in the SEC among starting cornerbacks. In 2023, McKinstry started all 14 games for Alabama, including the Rose Bowl in the college football playoffs.

Upon viewing McKinstry’s tape, his athleticism is the most apparent asset. He possesses exceptional speed, agility, and explosiveness; long arms and remarkable length to go up and high-point the ball to make a play; exceptional lateral movement and a natural ability to stay in phase; very oily and loose hips; elite foot quickness that aids in man coverage; excellent route recognition; willingness to come down and throw himself at the ball carrier on run defense; and a high level of experience as a returner.

Struggles to reroute receivers at times. Most common theme to this problem is his feet placement and depth of positioning. Can be inconsistent as a tackler, but he did get better in his junior year. Will lose track of the ball on deep passes. Faster receivers stack him vertically at times. He’s able to get away with it in college and recover, but at the NFL level this could pose a problem. Has moments of hesitation to turn the burners on.

Kool-Aid McKinstry is a talented athlete who can be a press man. He can play as an outside cornerback right away, but he can also play as a slot corner. His strength can be a liability in run defense because he can’t always get off blocks when coming down to make a play or on screen plays. He still needs to work on his technique, especially on deep passes where he can give up the play or get caught being too handsy, which can result in a flag. Despite this, McKinstry is a versatile defender who can be used in a variety of offenses.

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