Top Detroit Lions draft target reveals origin of his unique nickname

The Detroit Lions seem sure to have Alabama cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry high on their draft board, and we now know the origin of his nickname.
Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

As they fill their quota of top-30 pre-draft visits, this past week brought one of the more interesting and prominent of any the Detroit Lions will have. On Thursday Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reported Alabama cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry had finished his top-30 visit with the Lions.

The Lions have shown plenty of interest in McKinstry, with a formal meeting at the NFL Combine and general manager Brad Holmes attending Alabama's Pro Day. The discovery of a Jones fracture in his foot at the combine kept McKinstry from doing on-field work in Indianapolis, but prior to having the injury fixed he ran a reported 4.47 40-yard dash at the Pro Day.

McKinstry, despite his nickname, was not so sweet to the receivers he lined up against during his college career. According to Pro Football Focus, he allowed a passer rating below 80.0 in all three seasons at Alabama (57.9 in 2022). Last season, he was only targeted 39 times (19 receptions allowed, 48. 7 percent completion rate, for 205 yards). He only had two interceptions over the three seasons, but that's deceiving based on being targeted so little-especially in two of those seasons. He had 22 pass breakups over the 2022 and 2023 seasons.

A deep draft class at cornerback, and if there any questions teams have about his recovery from that foot injury before training camp, may put McKinstry right in the Lions' laps to take at pick No. 29.

Kool-Aid McKinstry explains origin of his nickname

As can easily be guessed, Kool-Aid is not McKinstry's given first name. His real first name is Ga'Quincy. Via Birkett, he said the nickname was given to him by his grandmother "one minute after birth."

"When I came home, I was smiling," McKinstry said. "She said I had the Kool-Aid smile."

The Lions are likely looking hard at cornerbacks in this month's draft, with head coach Dan Campbell basically confirming it. We also know the affinity Holmes has shown for Alabama players. So McKinstry might be guy if he's there at pick 29, or a trade up to get him could be in play. Then Lions fans will be hoping he gives them a "Kool-Aid smile" over and over for years to come.

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