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Former Alabama defensive back Dre Kirkpatrick has made a name for himself in the NFL in the short time since he left the Capstone.

During his time in the NFL Kirkpatrick has racked up 56 tackles and six interceptions in his first three years in the NFL. Last season Kirkpatrick had the best game of his career when he intercepted Peyton Manning twice and returned one for a touchdown.

Performances like that didn’t just happen by luck for Kirkpatrick, he worked hard throughout his entire football career to get where he is today.

During his time in Tuscaloosa Kirkpatrick had 66 tackles and nine interceptions. Kirkpatrick averaged three interceptions per season from 2009-2011. Kirkpatrick also had one fumble returned for a touchdown while in Tuscaloosa.

Kirkpatrick was selected 17th overall in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. In his first season Kirkpatrick played in only five games and had four tackles.

After his rookie campaign many question if Kirkpatrick was worth the high pick that the Bengals used to select him. Kirkpatrick silenced all of his doubters with a breakout second year in Cincinnati.

Kirkpatrick played in 14 games and had 23 tackles, one sack and three interceptions returning to the same form that he had in Tuscaloosa. Kirkpatrick followed up that tremendous season with another great year in 2014 in which he had 20 tackles and three more interceptions.

Kirkpatrick has risen up the depth chart and now is a featured defensive back in Cincinnati. He is now also playing the role of mentor to 2014 first round pick Darqueze Dennard. Dennard like Kirkpatrick was a star while in college at Michigan State and is projected to become another key corner for the Bengals.

Kirkpatrick’s job is to teach the young corner all he can so he can improve and move up the depth chart just as Dre did. Kirkpatrick has proven that ever since his rookie season that opposing quarterback must always know where he’s at on the field at all times.

Ivan L. White is a contributor for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @ilwhite1

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