Hartselle Tigers (15-0) 5-A State Champ
Completely agree with Boomer here about Kirkpatrick. He's not what you're looking for if you're in the market for a slot CB who's pure in man coverage. However, he's a beautiful fit for a Cover-2 style defense. He just doesn't quite have the fluidity in his hips to excel in man coverage. However, he's the best tackling CB I've seen since Charles Woodson, which is where he's an entirely different player than Sean Smith. He's a more physical tackler than any safety in this draft other than Mark Barron. Kirkpatrick delivers so much pop when he hits that he creates fumbles, even when he's taking on 260 pound TE's one-on-one in the open field. Probably not a fit for Miami, but he's going to play in the NFL a long time and make some team happy they got him. He's been taught how to pattern-read by Saban, and does it very well. Saban's defense is more complex than most anything he'll be thrown into in the NFL, which can also be detrimental in the pros.... Kareem Jackson, Javier Arenas, and Rashad Johnson will all vouch.
As for the linebackers, the kid who I think could end up as good a pro as any of them is Mychal Kendricks. His instincts are on a level that is superior to most LB's in college outside of Kuechly. Kendricks looks like an ideal "Ted" linebacker inside a 3-4 or any hybrid scheme.... he enjoys the contact and takes on a lot of pulling guards in the hole, can shed and make the tackle. Him and Hightower are the two best blitzing ILB's I've seen, and both are subject to come off the field on 3rd downs in the NFL. The other thing about Kendricks that stands out is that he doesn't get many of his tackles broken by ball carriers. Once he makes contact the ball carrier is going to the ground. Underrated 'backer who'll make a solid pro.