Showcases good awareness in the pass game. Works well in tandem with his guards and consistently keeps his head on a swivel, locates blitzing backers and quickly redirects in order to pick up his man. Again, doesn't generate much of a pop with his punch and can be overwhelmed on contact by strong interior linemen. However, he showcases good lateral agility through contact and in space and has enough athleticism to stick to mirror. Isn't real heavy handed and will allow defenders to fight their way through contact. But works his hands and feel in rhythm, maintaining his balance and can be tough to beat laterally.
Impression: Lacks ideal leverage and power in all areas of his game, but is an above-average athlete with quick hands and good body control when asked to mirror in space. Needs to continue to get stronger, but has the athleticism to fight his way onto a roster as a later round/free agent type kid."
Kirkpatrick saw his first action as a redshirt freshman in 2007, appearing in nine games as a reserve lineman and special teamer. As a sophomore he backed up Blake Schlueter, who was an eventual seventh-round pick for the Denver Broncos. He played in twelve games and again contributed on special teams. Kirkpatrick entered the starting lineup as a junior and had a great season, named second-team All-Mountain West, first-team All-American by Sports Illustrated and a finalist for the Rimington Trophy -- which he won as a senior while also earning first-team all-conference and helping his team finish a perfect 13-0.
The Horned Frogs' rushing offense increased their production after Kirkpatrick took over the starting center spot from Schlueter. He projects to be a late-round draft pick because, with the tools to be a starter at the next level, he is an unfinished project needing time to develop his abilities.
Strengths: Explodes quickly off the ball and gets a good push in the run game. Has good awareness and makes quick decisions. Gets outside quickly and block on sweeps and stretch plays. Effective zone blocker. Holds his ground and is tough to shed. Adept at chipping a down lineman and getting to the second level. Neutralizes targets when blocking downfield, staying square and taking on defenders head-up. Responsible for calling out pre-snap blocking assignments. Shows proper knee-bend. Keeps his head on a swivel, adjusts to find the most dangerous pass rusher. Fights well with his hands to keep linemen in front of him. Good lateral agility and can recover after facing a bull rush.
Weaknesses: Does not show great aggression as a pass blocker. Reaches too much and can lose his balance. Does not churn his legs once engaged. Does not sustain blocks long enough and tends to quit on the play. Can be beat with a good swim move. Does not show proper technique to cut-block, allowing defenders to disrupt the play. Lacks experience pulling. Can be beat off the snap by a strong bull rush because he lacks an elite anchor."
Positive: Tough, explosive center who does the little things well. Quickly gets into blocks, stays square, and shows the ability to adjust. Plays with a nasty attitude, will take out several defenders off a single snap, and works hard until the whistle blows. Explosive at the point, stays square, and seals defenders from the action. Keeps his head on a swivel, effectively quarterbacks the offensive line, and picks up stunts or twists thrown by the opposition. Effective with shotgun snaps.
Negative: Not a dominant run blocker who gets movement at the point of attack. Not light on his feet and marginally effective blocking in motion.
Analysis: Kirkpatrick has flown under the radar in the scouting community the past two seasons. He lacks great upside but gets the most from his abilities and has enough skill to make an NFL roster."
Negatives: Gets too high, rises too quickly and plays too upright... Doesn't play with very good leverage in the running game... Hands get too wide... Hand punch is reasonably quick but lacks any real force... A little awkward in space... Will stop his feet on contact... Slow to reset versus bull rushers... Technique gets sloppy and will try to maul everyone, inconsistent technique... Needs to get stronger... Short arms."
Weaknesses: Plays with inconsistent leverage. Loses his feet on occasion when getting to the second level. Struggles to anchor versus bull rushers. Doesn't possess great lower body strength to drive defenders off the LOS at the POA once he locks onto them.
Projection: Fifth rounder. Kirkpatrick should be a solid backup at the next level and be given the opportunity to develop into a starter."
The success starts with the offensive line and the line goes through Kirkpatrick. Even as a first year starter, Kirkpatrick was one of six finalists for the Rimington Trophy. A year later Kirkpatrick would win the award given to the nation's top center. In 2009 TCU was sixth in the nation -- allowing a mere 0.92 sacks per game -- and it was Kirkpatrick who was calling all of the blocking schemes. The Horned Frogs also set a single season record by tallying 498 points and 5,937 yards of total offense. As a senior Kirkpatrick paved the way for the nation's ninth best total offense and fourth best scoring offense.
Kirkpatrick received plenty of accolades during his two years as a starter. He was named to numerous All-American teams and bringing home the Rimington Trophy is about as good as a center can do. He is not the strongest center in this class, but he may be the smartest on the field and there should only be a few centers who hear their name called before Kirkpatrick."
Jake Kirkpatrick is not a natural Croucher, and he lacks both the Power to Drive in the Run Game, and the Strength to Anchor in the Pass Game.
However, he does bring excellent Lateral Agility to the table and displays good Flanking Speed on Pulls + Traps.
He could very well be a complete failure. But if he can get on a Zone Blocking team and learn to really squat in his Crouch ~ which he flashed some ability to do in the Senior Bowl ~ he could develop into a pretty good Center.
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