Linebacker Christian Kirksey was drafted with the 71st pick in the third round by the Cleveland Browns.
Kirksey, an Iowa graduate, predicated his success on speed during his college career. He can make plays from sideline to sideline and stands much bigger than his 6-foot-1, 233-pound frame would suggest. Kirksey started three years for the Hawkeyes and averaged 105 tackles. He was named captain in 2013.
"I'm a complete linebacker that gives 100 percent effort," Kirksey said in a conference call Friday evening. "I trust my skills and I trust that I'll get the job done. I think I'm very athletic and fast enough to play in a defense like the Browns."
Kirksey went on to repeat the phrase '100 percent' two other times during his interview. He will need that attitude his rookie season. It's expected Kirksey will wear an array of different hats for the Browns.
First he'll provide depth at inside linebacker behind Karlos Dansby and Craig Robertson, learning the nuances of both middle linebacking spots. Secondly, because of his strength in coverage, Kirksey will likely earn his stripes as a substitute in passing situations, especially guarding tight ends. And of course, like all winning teams, the Browns will need his instincts on special teams.
You could sense the excitement in Kirksey's voice about joining the Cleveland Browns.
"Seeing Johnny Manziel go to the Browns with the things that he did at the college level and now going to the pros, just to be a part of that too, is very special," Kirksey said. "We'll be rookies together. I'm ready to work with him and the Browns team."
Kirksey will report alongside the other draft picks next weekend for rookie minicamp.