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.
Cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry, an Alabama Crimson Tide junior five-star recruit
6’1″ in height and 195 pounds in weight
History: 247 Sports rated Kool-Aid McKinstry, better known by his real name Ga’Quincy McKinstry, a five-star recruit and the top cornerback prospect heading into college. 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.
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.
McKinstry played 812 defensive snaps in his sophomore season (2022) and started all 13 of Alabama’s games. Along with 15 passes defensed, he produced 35 tackles and one interception. His completion percentage of just 46% and passer rating of just 57.9, which ranks second among starting cornerbacks in the SEC, were both achieved.
McKinstry started for Alabama in all 14 games in 2023, including the Rose Bowl in the NCAA playoffs. In 848 defensive snaps, he produced 32 tackles, two stops for a loss, and seven interceptions. He gave up a 48% completion percentage and a 73.1 passer rating.
848 Total snaps
482 Coverage snaps
32 Total Tackles
NFL Combine/Pro Day:
All-SEC first team (2023)
All-SEC second team (2022)
Run Defense- 86/100
- The most obvious positive trait when you watch McKinstry’s tape is his athleticism. He has great speed, agility and explosiveness.
- Long arms and amazing length to go up and high-point the ball to make a play.
- An elite lateral mover and a natural at staying in-phase.
- Very oily and loose hips
- Elite foot quickness which helps him in man coverage.
- Very good route recognition.
- Willing to come down and throw himself at the ball carrier on run defense.
- Has experience as a returner and performed at a high level.
- 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 an elite athlete that is lockdown when in press man. He has the speed and quickness to play as a slot corner but he has the skills to play at outside cornerback from day one. His strength can sometimes be a detriment when in run defense as he struggles to get off blocks when coming down to make a tackle or on screen plays.
He’s not yet a complete player. He needs to improve his technique, mostly on deep passes where he can give up the play or get caught being to handsy leading to flags.
McKinstry is a versatile defender where teams have the option to play him where they see fit. He’s also versatile in what scheme he can play, this gives him huge upside. Overall, McKinstry is one of the top starting cornerbacks in this year’s draft and will look to take a starting role in his rookie year.
Marshon Lattimore, New Orleans
(Consensus ranking based on the average ranking from 90 major scoring services)