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Set to visit the Seahawks, Christian Kirk has the qualities of a dangerous slot receiver

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Belk Bowl - Texas A&M v Wake Forest Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Although Christian Kirk didn’t test nearly as well as expected at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, the former Texas A&M wide receiver remains near the top of his position in this year’s draft. Kirk was reliable over three seasons with the Aggies, averaging 78 catches per season to go along with 952 yards and just under nine touchdowns.

At Nike’s The Opening in 2014, Kirk tested terrifically, posting a SPARQ score of 129.3, however he was unable to maintain that level despite suffering no major injuries during his college career. Among wide receivers, his testing was average and his SPARQ score fell to 108.6 per his combine testing. Regardless, Kirk is one of the top slot receivers available in the 2018 NFL Draft and reportedly has a meeting set up with the Seattle Seahawks.

Route Running

Kirk worked almost exclusively out of the slot at Texas A&M. The Aggies got him the football in space in a number of creative ways: With pre-snap motion, swing passes out of the backfield and screens. He dominated on option routes out of the slot, coming out of his breaks really well and won repeatedly when they got him matched up on a linebacker.

The majority of Kirk’s routes are short or intermediate over the middle of the field. He’s comfortable in that area and has a terrific understanding of space against zone coverage. Kirk struggled tracking the deep ball.

Leverage/Body Position

On slants and in-breaking routes, Kirk consistently gets inside position and gives his quarterback an easy completion. He showed a terrific understanding of body positioning and will get on the top of the cornerback after beating them off the line of scrimmage. Kirk’s ability to get out in-front and on top of cornerbacks allows him to win his route early and puts the defender in an awkward position where, barring the throw letting them back into the play, they’re forced to reach out and grab him or simply interfere with him.

Hands

Kirk has strong hands and he does a good job plucking the ball when he’s able to extend his arms in front of his body. At just over 5-10, Kirk has a limited catch radius. He is able to corral high passes and out in front of him, but he struggles to adjust to low balls. Numerous screen passes thrown to him while he was with the Aggies fell harmlessly to the turf with Kirk unable to catch the ball down low.

Quickness/Agility

Texas A&M did a terrific job putting Kirk into positions that allowed him to separate quickly off the line of scrimmage. This play has been easy money for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Antonio Brown in the past, due to Brown’s ability to separate with ease within a small area.

Kirk consistently won on short patterns and option routes with tremendous agility out of the slot. He’s fluid in turning up field after the catch and breaks off chunks of yardage in runs after the catch.

Body Control

Although Kirk struggled with throws low, he does a good job contorting his body to corral high passes. After the catch, Kirk has the tough, elusive qualities you want out of a slot receiver who makes his money after the catch. While he lacks Golden Tate’s pinballing running style, he is effective in tight spaces against defenders.

Overall, Kirk’s future in the NFL is as a slot receiver in an offense creative enough to get him the ball in space. He’ll be a killer on option routes underneath and can impact the game out of the backfield, the slot and in the return game. With doubts over Tyler Lockett’s long-term future as he is yet to return to form, Kirk’s visit with the Seahawks makes sense and he would be a good fit in Seattle.