Rookie Rundown: WR Christian Kirk, Texas A&M

Rookie Rundown: WR Christian Kirk, Texas A&M

Rookie Analysis

Rookie Rundown: WR Christian Kirk, Texas A&M

(C. Morgan Engel, USA TODAY Sports)

Texas A&M wide receiver Christian Kirk could be the most well-rounded player among his positional mates in the 2018 NFL Draft. He brings a tough-guy brand of football to the pros. There is not much he is unable to do, and certainly nothing he’s unwilling to try.

Height: 5-foot-10
Weight: 200 pounds
40 time: 4.47 seconds

A highly recruited prep star in Arizona, Kirk migrated to College Station, Texas, and immediately made a mark on the Aggies. In his freshman year, Kirk posted his only 1,000-yard campaign and chipped in eight total touchdowns. His all-around game created a multitude of ways to find the ball in his hands, whether it be via receiving, rushing or punt returns. Built like a running back, Kirk established himself as one of the most dangerous players in the nation.

Christian Kirk stats (2015-17)

YEAR
REC
YDS
AVG
LNG
TD
2015
80
1009
12.6
66
7
2016
83
928
11.2
69
9
2017
71
919
12.9
81
10

As a junior, he led the Aggies once again in receptions (71) and finished with a personal-best 10 receiving scores in 2017. There really isn’t much left to prove by returning for a senior year, so off to the NFL he heads.

Pros

  • Plus skills as a route-runner — dangerous on intermediate routes requiring lateral action (breaking, whip and rub plays)
  • Thick-bodied, strong build allows him to break tackles and withstand hits from playing in the slot
  • Remarkable concentration, particularly impressive in traffic
  • Dynamic ability as a special teams returner
  • Natural hands as a receiver
  • Sudden transitions as a route-runner creates mismatches and big plays with the ball in his hands
  • Highly competitive and coachable
  • Plays with multiple gears and accelerates in a hurry
  • A quick study — excelled as a freshman, leading the team with 80 receptions in 2015. Consistently productive year after year

Cons

  • Small catch radius
  • Vertical ability capped by lack of length and explosiveness
  • Plays quicker than fast, limiting his overall utilization potential
  • May be resigned to playing a niche role in the NFL

Fantasy outlook

Kirk will find a home within the first three rounds, and it’s likely he comes off of the board in the top 64 selections. Where he lands is pivotal in determining his fantasy worth. Some players transcend systems, but Kirk’s game is tailored to a slot role in an offense with a focus on underneath and crossing routes.

His immediate impact is predicated on where he goes more than anything. We’ve seen Kirk explode as a freshman, which bodes well for his first-year prospects in the NFL. However, it is a different game, a distinction that deserves respect.

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Kirk’s game reminds of Golden Tate, Josh Reed and Sterling Shepard, to name a few. Being limited to a slot role in the NFL typically makes a player second or third in the pecking order. We have seen statistical stars from the slot, so don’t think being one-dimensional in this regard is a fantasy death sentence.

Kirk’s skills could be utilized by the Denver Broncos, Buffalo Bills, Indianapolis Colts, Oakland Raiders, Green Bay Packers, Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots.

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