5 teams that should draft Kool-Aid McKinstry in first round after impressive 40 time

Kool-Aid McKinstry always had first-round talent, but a great 40 time will surely solidify that now.

Kool-Aid McKinstry, Alabama Crimson Tide
Kool-Aid McKinstry, Alabama Crimson Tide / Jonathan Bachman/GettyImages

While he has fallen down some draft boards over an injury concern, don't let that fool you, Kool-Aid McKinstry can play. The former Alabama standout in the secondary ran a blistering 4.47 40, despite having a Jones fracture in his foot. Although recovery time is paramount for the former Crimson Tide star, your favorite NFL team would be foolish to pass on him later on in the first round.

We know that McKinstry was coached up and played in a ton of big games for Nick Saban at Alabama. Although some former Crimson Tide stars are mostly a finished product by the time they turn pro, there is still certainly some tread on the tires for McKinstry. He may not be a top-16 pick, or even a top-25 pick, in all honesty. However, I firmly believe he is coming off the board in round one.

This is all about getting a former blue-chipper coming out of high school with elite college seasoning with the luxury of potentially handing out a fifth-year option if he balls out during his first few years in the league. While he could be pushed back to being a top-40 pick, I am only concerned about him going top-32 at this time. A lot can change between now and then, but McKinstry is a first-round pick.

Here are five teams picking near the bottom of the first round who should be inclined to draft him.

5. Green Bay Packers could add to their secondary with the No. 25 pick

Count me in as a believer of the Green Bay Packers this year. Jordan Love showed us a lot in his first full year as the starting quarterback, and the young signal-caller has already declared the Super Bowl this year's goal. Although I come and go on how I feel about head coach Matt LaFleur, this team is ready to push for a possible Super Bowl berth. Their rivalry with the Detroit Lions will never be more intense than it is this season. Adding McKinstry does a few things for Green Bay.

First, it keeps him from going to Detroit. Trust me, you don't want a CB1 playing for a rival team twice a year, especially if you had the chance to draft him first. Second, slowing down the pass will do wonders in helping the Packers close out more games in the future. And three, you also don't want him to go to other contending teams across the NFL, not just Detroit. Don't let McKinstry beat you.

Right around pick No. 25 is where I think McKinstry could be coming off the board. That may be a slight reach, but that is par for the course under the Brian Gutekunst era of the front office. Green Bay needs to draft a player who can come in and play right away. Even with a Jones fracture, McKinstry is every bit pro-ready coming out of Alabama. It is a slightly risky pick for them, but he could be worth it.

Green Bay's goals this year should be to win the division with an NFC Championship Game in mind.

4. Detroit Lions may go with DB over pass-rusher with No. 29 pick

One team who could use McKinstry's skill set in the back-end of their defense would have to be the Detroit Lions. After breaking through last season in Dan Campbell's third year leading the team, this is all about sustaining excellence in Detroit. Frankly, they are better served going with a pass-rusher at No. 29, but rather than perhaps trading for one, maybe Brad Holmes opts to take McKinstry at No. 29.

Picking up McKinstry would be a way to punish the rival Green Bay Packers for passing on him at No. 29, as well as preventing teams like the San Francisco 49ers picking at No. 31 or the Kansas City Chiefs picking at No. 32 from taking him. No. 29 is about around where McKinstry should be coming off the board. He could go a few picks later, but he is closer to a top-30 pick than he is at top-32.

Overall, I trust Holmes more than I do most general managers to make the right, smart and calculated decisions toward building his team. He has found value in several areas of the draft before in recent years. With the Lions no longer picking inside the top 10, it is imperative to hit on the right former college star whose draft stock is either slightly devalued, like McKinstry's, or those that are rising.

The best part about all this is McKinstry is almost certainly going to a playoff-caliber team in 2024.

3. Arizona Cardinals could make a splash with a second first-round pick

The Arizona Cardinals have my intrigue picking at No. 27. This pick once belonged to the Houston Texans, but it now belongs to Arizona by way of the Texans' draft-day trade last year to move up to No. 3 to draft Will Anderson Jr. out of Alabama. Arizona has its own pick at No. 4, one I suspect they will use on Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. Why not sharpen iron with iron with McKinstry?

Having Harrison and McKinstry be draft classmates would be wonderful for helping bring along a new era of Cardinals football. They seem to have a head coach most people like in Jonathan Gannon. Monti Ossenfort seems to be doing a great job as general manager. With Kyler Murray and Paris Johnson Jr. focal points of the offense, it is time to get even more explosive outside of the numbers.

While the Cardinals may not be a playoff team next year, it wouldn't shock me if they were either. They probably won't win the NFC West, but they could be one of three Wild Card teams next season. By adding Harrison and McKinstry in the first round, I would be very bullish on the Cardinals' outlook heading into 2025. They are a year away from being a year away, but that timeline could be sped up.

How the Cardinals go about using the No. 27 overall pick from Houston could accelerate their rebuild.

2. San Francisco 49ers may be the favorite to draft him with No. 31 pick

If the San Francisco 49ers want to get over the top and finally win a Super Bowl, other than accept the fact that Kyle Shanahan absolutely shrinks in the big moment, it would probably serve them to get a player teams like the Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs could be interested in. Right now, I would say the 49ers are the favorite to draft McKinstry out of Alabama at No. 31 overall.

Adding McKinstry would be to gain another star on defense to help lower the required amount of points Brock Purdy and company will need to put on the board. San Francisco is still absolutely filthy in the trenches, but that strength could become a weakness in due time. Keep in mind that Arik Armstead left in his free agency to go sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars. This is a huge loss for them.

By drafting McKinstry, he could help shore up the back-end of the 49ers defense while the reshuffle the deck a bit in the front seven. It is all about micro-adjustments for San Francisco this offseason. If they were to land a player other teams picking in their range could covet, that may bode well for their future. San Francisco's Super Bowl window is still open, but this might be the last year to get it done.

The hunger in which McKinstry plays could be a boost to a 49ers team that is so close, but no cigar.

1. Kansas City Chiefs can replace L'Jarius Sneed with Kool-Aid McKinstry

Now that L'Jarius Sneed has been traded to the Tennessee Titans, it is more important than ever for the Kansas City Chiefs to look at revamping their secondary. Yes, they still have high-quality players in the back-end of their defense in Trent McDuffie, Justin Reid and Jaylen Watson, but McKinstry could be had for the picking at the end of round one. The Chiefs have the last pick of the first round.

While I would have thought that they would have used the No. 32 overall pick on a wide receiver only a few weeks ago, losing Sneed to the Titans for a 2025 third-round pick next year and a seventh-round pick swap for this upcoming draft doesn't land well with me. The sneaky thing nobody wants to talk about is the Chiefs defense is why Kansas City repeating a Super Bowl champions, not their offense.

Although the offense will remain the focal point for as long as Andy Reid is the head coach and Patrick Mahomes is still in his prime, Kansas City will only go as far as where Steve Spagnuolo's defense will take them. Making McKinstry the last pick of the first round could help the Chiefs out immediately, as well as making every team picking in the late 20s look so stupid for passing on him.

All I know is the Chiefs are going to address a position group outside the numbers with pick No. 32.

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