Alabama star cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry has declared for the 2024 NFL Draft, ending a decorated career with the Crimson Tide. Fellow Crimson Tide cornerback Terrion Arnold also plans to declare, ESPN's Chris Low reports. The duo were stalwart members of the Crimson Tide's secondary this season, rarely leaving the field while helping Alabama to an SEC Championship and College Football Playoff appearance.

Both are projected as early-round picks and McKinstry could potentially go in the top 10. McKinstry entered as a five-star prospect and the No. 1 ranked cornerback in the Class of 2021 and met the hype as an in-state prospect who chose to stay home and play for the Crimson Tide. The Pinson, Alabama native earned first-team All-American honors from CBS Sports this season in his third year as a trustworthy cog in the Crimson Tide defense. He was credited with 23 pass deflections in his three seasons.

With opposing quarterbacks reluctant to throw in McKinstry's direction, Arnold feasted, logging a team-high five interceptions and breaking up a total of 12 passes this season. The former five-star prospect in the Class of 2021 made his mark as a two-year starter for the program, earning second-team All-American honors from CBS Sports in 2023

McKinstry's draft stock

McKinstry is ranked the No. 1 cornerback and No. 12 overall prospect in the 2024 CBS Sports NFL Draft Prospect Rankings, edging fellow corners such as Clemson's Nate Wiggins, Penn State's Kalen King and Iowa's Cooper DeJean. Arnold is considered the No. 11 cornerback and No. 66 overall prospect.

However, opinions vary on just how high McKinstry is likely to be selected in April. He went No. 19 overall to the Packers in Ryan Wilson's latest mock draft at CBS Sports. But Chris Trapasso projected McKinstry to go No. 9 to the Falcons.

"The Falcons secondary needs another play-making weapon who can cover man-to-man," Trapasso wrote.

Impact on Alabama

Alabama will have to undergo a makeover at cornerback in 2023, but has some talented options ready to step in. USC transfer Domani Jackson committed to the Crimson Tide last week after ranking as a five-star cornerback prospect in the Class of 2022. Jackson made 26 tackles and was credited with three pass break-ups this season after playing in a reserve role during his freshman year with the Trojans.

Within the team's present roster, Trey Amos and Antonio Kite are expected to return after entering the Rose Bowl behind Arnold and McKinstry on the depth chart. Amos formerly starred at Louisiana and logged significant action as a reserve corner and safety in his first season with the Crimson Tide. Kite is a former four-star prospect who played sparingly in his two seasons with the program but may be ready for an increased role next season.