Christian Kirk: It’s surreal to be drafted by Arizona Cardinals
TEMPE, Ariz. – As a highly sought-after wide receiver coming out of Saguaro High School in Scottsdale, Christian Kirk chose to leave home for college. Three years later, he returns toe the Valley, excited to begin his pro career for the NFL franchise right in his backyard.
On Friday, Kirk’s football journey came full circle when the Arizona Cardinals pick him in the second round, with the 47th overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft.
“It’s just, honestly, all so surreal. A lot of emotions. All the hard work that’s been put in and just how long this journey has been. To have this moment with my family and friends all around me,” he said, speaking on a conference call.
“Obviously, to be able to come home and play for the hometown team … When I got that phone, it was just so surreal. Just no words to be able to describe it.”
Kirk excelled at Saguaro, winning three state championships and setting a new state record with 103 career touchdowns before heading to Texas A&M, turning down a scholarship offer from Arizona State to do so.
At A&M, Kirk topped 900 receiving yards in each of his three seasons. It was on special teams, though, where he really made his mark. Kirk averaged better than 20 yards on kick (21.8) and punt (22.0) returns with seven total touchdowns, including a 79-yard score against the Sun Devils in his very first game.
The Cardinals need help at both receiver and in the return game.
Behind Larry Fitzgerald, there are several question marks, be it the consistency of J.J. Nelson or the development of Chad Williams — the latter of whom was a third-round pick a year ago. The other receivers in the room include Carlton Agudosi, Brice Butler, Cobi Hamilton and Rashad Ross.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals had the 22nd-best return game in 2017.
“Wherever I can bring value and have an impact on the field,” said Kirk, who added he expects to play more outside receiver with Fitzgerald lined up in the slot.
Speaking of Fitzgerald, he and Kirk are good friends and have been for quite some time now.
“He’s a mentor for me,” Kirk said. “He’s always been a guy that I’ve always looked up to, just not only on the field, but off the field, to be able to carry myself. The things that he does in the community. I’m just so excited to be get with him and be able to learn from a future Hall of Fame wide receiver and go out there and be able to play together.”
Fitzgerald won’t be the only familiar face to Kirk inside the Cardinals locker room.
Kirk and running back D.J. Foster were high school teammates, while Kirk played with tight end Ricky Seals-Jones and cornerback Brandon Williams at A&M.
“I think it’s a perfect fit,” Kirk said.
Kirk was the fifth receiver taken off the board, behind D.J. Moore (24th overall, Carolina), Calvin Ridley (26th, Atlanta), Courtland Sutton (40th, Denver), and Dante Pettis (44th, San Francisco).
“I left home for college and was able to branch out and experience new things. I love coming home so much and am so happy to be back,” Kirk said.
“It’s just so crazy how things go full circle. It feels like all of the stars aligned and it was meant for me to be here. God has set me on this path and this is just one of his blessings. I can’t be any more grateful.”