|National Football League|
Kirkpatrick has company as Bengals 1st-round CB
By JOE KAY
CINCINNATI (AP) Dre Kirkpatrick pulled a Bengals cap over his dreadlocks and held up a couple of jerseys on Friday so the photographers could capture his first day at Paul Brown Stadium.
First, he got a jersey with No. 1, signifying the round in which he was picked. Hold it up, smile. Then, he got a No. 27, which he'll wear. Same drill - grip and grin.
Only one thing was out of place: No. 6 would have been a better fit.
Kirkpatrick is the sixth first-round cornerback on the Bengals roster, an unusual collection of highly regarded players at various stages of their careers. Some are coming off injuries, others are playing it out, while others are still trying to live up to their draft-day aspirations.
Kirkpatrick - he with the nickname "Swagga" - can learn from other cornerbacks who have taken different paths since draft day.
"Maybe they can fill me in on some of those things," he said.
Kirkpatrick was the 17th overall pick on Thursday night. He joins Leon Hall (2007) and other first-round cornerbacks Nate Clements (Buffalo 2001), Adam "Pacman" Jones (Tennessee 2005), Terence Newman (Dallas 2003) and Jason Allen (Miami 2006).
Clements, Newman and Allen have joined the team as free agents in the last year.
"I like pedigrees," defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer said on Friday. "Some of the first-round corners we have are with us for a reason. It's not like they just came out of the draft this week. A lot of our first-round players that we have here, most every other team in the league did not want them. But at one point in time, somebody rated them very high.
"Most of the guys that we have are guys that I know, either coached before or know people that have coached them, so I know what kind of character they have, what kind of heart they have, what kind of competitor they are."
Kirkpatrick was part of Alabama's national championship team and has confidence that he'll fit in quickly.
"It's just something you've got to have," he said. "Some people don't have it. My dad, he blessed me to have it. I like to have a lot of swag about what I do. I have confidence in what I do. When you see me out there, you don't have to worry about: Is he nervous? No, I'm not nervous."
His father, Charles, accompanied him from draft headquarters in New York to Cincinnati.
"He's always been a cocky kid," said his father, who is a minister. "I think it kind of goes back to the way I raised him. I'd tell him: You don't have to be afraid of anything. You can conquer anything."
The Bengals also welcomed Wisconsin guard Kevin Zeitler on Friday before the second round of the draft began. They traded down with New England and took Zeitler with the 27th pick overall. Zeitler could play guard and be the backup center.
The Bengals hadn't taken a guard so high in the draft since they got Eric Steinbach with their second overall pick - in the second round - in 2003.
Dave Lapham, who does radio commentary for the Bengals, stood and applauded at a news conference when Zeitler was introduced. Lapham was a right guard picked by the Bengals in the third round of the 1974 draft.
Doesn't take another guard to recognize the position's importance.
"He fills a major need for us," offensive coordinator Jay Gruden said. "It's not a popular pick sometimes taking an offensive guard, but last time I checked they take a lot of snaps on Sunday. He's a very important part of the running game, a very important part of the passing game. Any success you have offensively is determined up-front."
Updated April 27, 2012