Alabama Crimson Tide
Weight- 195 lbs
Kool-Aid McKinstry, or also known by his real name, Ga’Quincy McKinstry, was given a five-star recruit rating by 247 Sports and was the number one cornerback prospect coming into college. As such, he had 27 offers before opting to play for Alabama, which was his home team being from Birmingham and living only 50 miles from campus.
McKinstry was given the nickname “Kool-Aid” by his grandmother when he was born. According to McKinstry, she thought his smile resembled that of the Kool-Aid Man. When McKinstry started playing football in high school, he chose to play as Kool-Aid, from there the name stuck.
During his freshman year in 2021, he played in 11 games. He started as a rotational player but by the time Alabama had reached bowl season and the playoffs, he was playing as a starter. He played 479 snaps, making 26 tackles (one for a loss), one sack and one interception.
During his sophomore season, McKinstry started all 13 games for Alabama in 2022 and played a total of 812 snaps on defense. He made 35 tackles, one interception and 15 passes defensed. He allowed a completion rate of only 46%, and a passer a rating allowed of only 57.9, second-best in the SEC among starting cornerbacks.
In 2023, McKinstry started in all 14 games for Alabama, which included the Rose Bowl in the college football playoffs. He played a total of 848 snaps on defense and made 32 tackles, two tackles for a loss and seven pass breakups. He allowed a completion rate of 48% and a passer rating of 73.1.
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)