Q&A: Steelers pre-draft visitor Christian Kirk of Texas A&M
Christian Kirk of Texas A&M is considered one of the top five wide receivers available in the NFL Draft. Projections have Kirk being selected in the second or third round.
Kirk visited the Steelers on Friday for a pre-draft interview. At 5-11, 200 pounds, he has the size to play the slot and was an exceptional punt returner for the Aggies.
Kirk ran the 40-yard dash in 4.47 seconds at the NFL Combine, and he did 20 repetitions on the bench press. Here are some excerpts from his media session with reporters in Indianapolis:
Q: What is your reaction when teams ask if you can play outside in the NFL?
A: I just smile, because I know I can do it. That’s definitely been some of the questions during my formal interviews, if I can do it. I know 100 percent that I can do it. Whenever a coach tells me to do something, I’m going to do it to the best of my ability and I have the confidence I can go outside and win one-on-one, get off of press. At Texas A&M I was asked to play in the slot and that’s what I did. If they were to ask me to play outside, I believe I would’ve thrived there as well.
Q: What are your strengths as a wide receiver?
A: I think I have a combination of it all. Definitely strength to get off of press at the line of scrimmage. Then speed and quickness and smarts. So I know how to set up defenders, set up DBs and how to get into my route, be decisive at the top of my route and create separation. I felt that’s one of the best things I do is be able to create separation and gain yards after the catch.
Q: What could you and the team have done better in college?
A: To be more consistent at times. I thought at times just getting in a groove offensively, we kind of struggled a little bit and there was times just as a morale offensively it just wasn’t there. I felt that we could’ve brought a little more consistently, especially me. At times, I had some uncharacteristic drops that I definitely worked on. I put a lot of pressure on myself, especially this year, to try to go out and make every play. that’s just how I am, I like being a perfectionist. So once I kind of got past that, just was a natural player, it settled in. so I don’t really have too many regrets when I’m looking back on it.
Q: What makes you such a dynamic returner (Kirk has six punt returns for touchdowns in his career)?
A: I would say my vision, being able to possess the ball, possession’s No. 1. but that’s the big part about returning is natural ability is kind of God-given, I believe. There’s some things you’re able to do to kind of formulate, but at the end of the day, you have to have the long speed to go ahead and be able to finish. Can’t get run down, you got to get in the end zone. I think that’s what separates me.
Q: Who are some of the players you watch and try to emulate as a wide receiver?
A: There’s the Antonio Browns, the Odell Beckhams, the Golden Tates. I watch all those guys. I’m big on watching NFL film and being able to pick tools that guys do really good in their game and try to emulate it in mine. Just have a toolbox to be able to pull out of that and emulate in your game.