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Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Jeremiah: 49ers are the best draft fit for Kool-Aid McKinstry

Apr 9, 2024 at 4:36 PM

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The San Francisco 49ers have been striving to solidify their defensive backfield for years. They would love to find someone to fortify the outside cornerback spot opposite Charvarius Ward, allowing Deommodore Lenoir to play in the slot. While the team holds high hopes for newly signed cornerback Isaac Yiadom, believing he is the frontrunner for the job, the ultimate solution might come in the draft later this month.

In a segment for NFL Network's "Path to the Draft," analyst Daniel Jeremiah was asked for the best team fit for former Alabama cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry. He identified the 49ers.

"When you look at what he's done, just over the last few weeks, he gets a chance to go out there (during his pro day), show that he's healthy coming off that foot injury, and ran a really fast time," Jeremiah said. "Faster than I expected, I know that. And that was one of the big question marks on him."

During an examination at the NFL Scouting Combine, doctors discovered that McKinstry has a Jones fracture in his right foot, keeping him from participating in the drills in Indianapolis. However, he is expected to be healthy for training camp.

While McKinstry earned career-high overall (88.8) and coverage (87.8) grades from Pro Football Focus this past season, his outings against Texas stood out as an anomaly. Longhorns quarterback Quinn Ewers owned a 145.4 pass rating while targeting McKinstry. It was the only game last season in which McKinstry surrendered a passing touchdown.

"The Texas game was not his best, but I thought he got better as the season went along," Jeremiah stated. "Has played a lot of good football there at Alabama. So the 49ers, a team that's going to play with the lead, you need two things: You need pass rushers, and you need corners."

McKinstry registered 32 tackles, including two for a loss, and seven passes defensed through 14 game appearances as a senior in 2023, per Sports Reference. He never missed a game for Alabama, recording 93 tackles, including five for a loss, two sacks, 23 passes defensed, and two interceptions through his three collegiate seasons.

Jeremiah concluded, "Kool-Aid McKinstry has been well-trained at Alabama. He's ready to play right away."
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