2021 NFL DRAFT CORNERBACK RANKINGS

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NFL DRAFT PROSPECTS BY POSITION

*Player Profiles to be added for each prospect between now and the 2021 NFL Draft

1

PATRICK SURTAIN II, ALABAMA

OVERALL RANK: 8

PATRICK SURTAIN II NFL DRAFT PLAYER PROFILE

  • Son of former Dolphins star cornerback Patrick Surtain Sr, Surtain Jr could have an equally impactful NFL career.

  • The 'Bama corner possess prototypical size to play the position - a perfect height/length combo that will have NFL teams drooling.

  • Always looks relaxed, he is a patient corner who can mirror and run with receivers in short to medium areas without being easily fooled by false, sudden movements that wideouts often use to create easy separation from defensive backs.

  • This skill is echoed by his fluid hips and quick footwork which enable him to stay with receivers early in their routes.

  • On deeper plays, Surtain has an instinctual feel for knowing when to react and come back to make a play on the ball whilst still remaining sticky in coverage and is a physical corner who will compete throughout the catch point.

  • This physicality allows him to dominate receivers and put his hands on his man, but rarely draws the attention of officials.

  • He is not overly aggressive though, and rarely gets beat.

  • The only questions are with regards to his deep speed and inconsistent tackling (although this could be said of many cornerbacks in the draft).

  • These are however, not major question marks and whoever elects to take him in the 2021 NFL Draft is gaining a special player who will be expected to come in and lock down one side of the field early in his career. The most complete and polished corner in the class. CB1.

2

CALEB FARLEY, VIRGINIA TECH

OVERALL RANK: 12

CALEB FARLEY NFL DRAFT PLAYER PROFILE

  • If it is ceiling that you are after, then Caleb Farley could well be your CB1 in the 2021 NFL Draft.

  • Like Surtain, Farley has excellent, if not even more of a prototypical build to play the position in the modern day NFL.

  • A converted wide receiver, Farley has shades of Richard Sherman in terms of his route understanding and ability to be ahead of receivers that he is guarding which enables him to display his excellent ball skills.

  • Farley is fast and athletic, but can rely on this too much in zone coverage and has been seen to allow receivers to sit in soft areas of the zone, or gobble up the cushion he allows.

  • This has resulted in plays given up due to an over reliance on his athletic traits of recovery and inconsistencies when attempting to disguise coverage.

  • Man coverage is where Farley shines though as he can erase receivers thanks to his physicality, aforementioned ball skills and competitive play style.

  • Surtain is the more polished of the two and has the higher floor, but if Farley can sharpen up in zone coverage and improve his sometimes stiff hips and untidy footwork, then he perhaps has the higher ceiling.

3

JAYCEE HORN, SOUTH CAROLINA

OVERALL RANK: 21

JAYCEE HORN NFL DRAFT PLAYER PROFILE

  • Likely going to be the third corner off the board, Horn is another corner with NFL bloodlines thanks to his father, Joe Horn, being an ex-wideout for the Saints, Falcons and Chiefs.

  • Horn has great size for the position and plays with the strength and aggression needed of a man corner, but with excellent short area quickness and agility.

  • He sticks tightly to his man in coverage and contests extremely effectively at the catch point.

  • Horn has outstanding physical traits and the frame to develop into an excellent tackler, but this is an area where he is inconsistent.

  • He also does not have a long history of top tier production, which explains the gap between Surtain, Farley and then Horn, but he is only beginning to scratch the surface of his potential.

  • Whilst still slightly raw, he has the skill set and mentality to become a top man corner.

4

ELIJAH MOLDEN, WASHINGTON

OVERALL RANK: 31

ELIJAH MOLDEN NFL DRAFT PLAYER PROFILE

  • Elijah Molden should be a solid second round pick at worst.

  • If he was slightly bigger and longer, with more experience playing on the outside, then he would have been a first round lock. Unfortunately, having almost exclusively played in the slot at Washington, he is perhaps perceived to not carry the level of upside that the likes of Farley, Surtain and Horn possess.

  • In today's NFL however, the slot corner is a starting position and it is extremely important that teams find athletic, smart and consistent players to man the position. That is exactly what Molden is and more, for he is a playmaker at the position, having snagged five interceptions over the past two seasons and forcing 12 incompletions in 2019 alone.

  • He allowed a mere 44.9 passer rating in 2020 and plays without fear, as he is an effective and physical tackler who rarely misses.

  • Molden's testing will be interesting as he has the game to transition to free safety, as he is effective also on vertical routes and has a high level of play recognition.

  • A team needing a man in the slot should forget about common held draft beliefs and just draft Molden, knowing that they are getting a high floor in the position with the potential for him to mature into something so much more.

5

KELVIN JOSEPH, KENTUCKY

OVERALL RANK: 37

KELVIN JOSEPH NFL DRAFT PLAYER PROFILE

  • Relatively unheralded name that is fast rising up boards.

  • Had an impressive interception against Mac Jones in the game against Alabama when up against DeVonta Smith that saved a certain touchdown. On that play he matched Smith stride for stride on a deep route, tracking the ball impressively over his shoulder and made the play.

  • That is a great example of what Joseph does well - understanding his assignment, staying with, and mirroring his receiver deep and not being fooled whilst having the ability at the catch point to come away with the ball.

  • He is sticky in coverage underneath and shows great instincts. I only really have his 2020 tape to go on, as that was his only true full season meaning that he is a little unseasoned but if he continues to develop his already impressive array of skills, he could turn out to be an excellent pro. Appears to have good size and excellent length to play on the outside as a CB2 at the minimum.

6

ERIC STOKES, GEORGIA

OVERALL RANK: 50

ERIC STOKES NFL DRAFT PLAYER PROFILE

  • Stokes is an excellent press cornerback who has has apparently been clocked with 4.3 speed in testing. He plays fast, but this is a surprisingly quick time for a corner of his size.

  • He has an ability to mirror and match receivers throughout their routes, but he can get grabby which may hint at a troublesome transition into the NFL.

  • He is a physical, hard hitting corner with great length but sometimes takes bad angles on his tackles.

  • For his size, Stokes is also sometimes pushed around too easily in traffic and needs to be more successful when fighting through bodies to make a play.

  • He may be an outside only corner in the NFL as he does not always display the greatest fluidity across short areas, which will limit his success against slot receivers.

  • There is something to be said about how rarely he was targeted in 2020 though (only 28 times, allowing a mere passer rating of 43.6), alongside the fact that he secured four interceptions. An impressive return for someone who had such a barren landscape to feast on - this highlights his potential as a playmaker with ball skills at the next level.

7

ASANTE SAMUEL JR, FLORIDA ST

OVERALL RANK: 54

ASANTE SAMUEL JR NFL DRAFT PLAYER PROFILE

  • Speed and quick change of direction skills highlight Samuel's play. This, combined with his desire to make plays on the ball and his aggressive tackling style, he has the makings of a star in the NFL.

  • The agression can sometimes get him in trouble as he can overcommit, but he reads plays and reacts to them in an instant and seems to always be where he needs to be in order to break up plays, doing so at an absurd rate.

  • He progressively got better throughout his three years in college too from a statistical stand point, allowing only a 46.2 passer rating in 2020.

  • He is not of a prototypical size, and that may be a concern to some teams but those who do not put a premium on extreme length will find themselves a ball-hawking corner who will thrive in the NFL in spite of his perceived lack of ideal frame.

  • Could even move to safety, as he has shown an elite awareness of when to jump routes and sniff out the ball whilst possessing explosive movement traits.

8

TAY GOWAN, UCF

OVERALL RANK: 59

TAY GOWAN NFL DRAFT PLAYER PROFILE

  • Limited tape and experience and teammate Aaron Robinson is garnering more draft buzz at the moment, but Gowan is a long outside corner who may hear his name called earlier than his more well known teammate when all is said and done.

  • Gowan does look slightly skinny, but plays both press and off coverage extremely well for a player who has only one year of full time experience at the position.

  • He is able to use his length well in short and intermediate zones and this is a great natural tool to possess, especially when the receiver steals a beat on him early in the play.

  • For a tall corner, Gowan displays quick feet and is agile when changing direction which enables him to mirror his receiver effectively.

  • He also seems to have an instinctual ability for knowing when to break on the ball and plays through the hands of the receiver.

  • His open field tackling technique could use some refinement, but he never seems to give up on a play and has a decent closing burst.

  • We would be talking about Gowan being a pick much earlier in the draft if there was more of him on tape and if he played against superior opposition. Having said that, Robinson has received higher acclaim in spite of this, so in fairness it should perhaps not be a knock on Gowan.

9

PAULSON ADEBO, STANFORD

OVERALL RANK: 63

PAULSON ADEBO NFL DRAFT PLAYER PROFILE

  • Ex-receiver. Plays through hands, extremely competitive, can over commit as a result but tendency lends itself well to run D as he is an excellent tackler.

  • Has taken a hit on draft boards due to not playing in 2020, but has immense upside.

  • He can be burned on double moves and needs to play with better discipline, but there will be teams who covet his ability to compete at the catch point and will be convinced that they can smooth out his rough edges.

  • Excellent looking measurables and is an unpolished gem.

10

SHAUN WADE, OHIO ST

OVERALL RANK: 75

SHAUN WADE NFL DRAFT PLAYER PROFILE

  • Shaun Wade played in the nickel in 2019 at Ohio State with 2020 NFL Draft first round picks, Jeffrey Okudah and Damon Arnette, outside. It was a position where Wade excelled, but to highlight his versatility and cement his first round status, Wade moved to the outside in 2020, with mixed results.

  • As a result, Wade has slid down draft boards and for a player who was once contending for CB1 status, the next few months are going to be pivotal for his NFL career.

  • Wade displays good read and recognition skills, but sometimes puts those skills to waste as he is impatient at the line of scrimmage, which allows receivers easy separation.

  • Wade displayed a fierce mentaility in 2019, able to help plug the run and as an able blitzer but in 2020 on the outside, this alpha mentality just did not show up as he was routinely beaten at the catch point.

  • Wade has the athletic ability and tape from 2019 that shows that he has the ability to match receivers on shallow routes and must trust this ability more, rather than allow easy receptions due to his impatience.

  • Due to his ability in short areas against the run and pass and lack of evidence that he can be trusted in press coverage or on an island, Wade projects as a slot corner or strong safety at the NFL level, limiting his ceiling to the back end of round one, or more than likely as a day two pick.

11

GREG NEWSOME II, NORTHWESTERN

OVERALL RANK: 83

GREG NEWSOME II NFL DRAFT PLAYER PROFILE

  • COMING SOON...

12

ROBERT ROCHELL, CENTRAL ARKANSAS

OVERALL RANK: 117

ROBERT ROCHELL NFL DRAFT PLAYER PROFILE

  • Was on Bruce Feldman's Freaks List at the beginning of 2020, reportedly clocking a 4.38 40-yard dash time and a 3.89 short shuttle. This speed pairs well with his exceptional length as Rochell measured almost 33" arms and a wingspan of 79" at the combine.

  • This combination is prototypical of a modern day outside NFL corner and will have teams looking at him in depth as an option early in the draft, in amongst some of the other corners with greater name recognition.

  • Unfortunately Rochell did not look as polished as others at the Senior Bowl and any team drafting him will have to trust in their DB coaches that they can develop his raw tools.

  • He has explosive characteristics on tape though and rarely gets beaten deep due to his recovery speed and sheer athleticism.

  • If he was more of a technician and played against a higher level of competition then Rochell would have a shot at the back end of the first round, but he is underdeveloped at this point of his career.

  • Because of this, he may struggle against NFL quality receivers early, especially underneath due to his lack of sound press corner play and lack of initial awareness.

  • When the ball is in the air though, Rochell does show that he can make plays and tracks the ball well.

  • Needs to be drafted by a team who afford to be patient with him, but has tantalising natural traits to play the position at a high level.

13

CAMRYN BYNUM, CALIFORNIA

OVERALL RANK: 121

CAMRYN BYNUM NFL DRAFT PLAYER PROFILE

  • He is not the most fluid corner, but has the size that teams will covet.

  • Bynum is a physical corner whose willing against the run stands out.

  • Can get caught on blocks too easily though despite his willing and size and he does not appear to have great length.

  • Nuanced route runners and vertical speed will beat him at the NFL level initially, but he is a consistent performer who appears to have the drive in his character to want to continually improve.

  • Mirrors receivers well on intermediate routes and stays on top of routes, recognising when to jump and play the ball.

  • Does not disrupt receivers as much as one would expect at the line of scrimmage, allowing a clean release too often.

  • Bynum certainly has potential as an NFL outside corner, but will not be a day one starter.

  • Needs time to develop against top quality opposition and within a more diverse scheme, but has the savvy to be a contributor who grows into an important piece.

14

IFEATU MELIFONWU, SYRACUSE

OVERALL RANK: 122

IFEATU MELIFONWU NFL DRAFT PLAYER PROFILE

  • Melifonwu has been a riser on draft boards over the past few months as people have fallen in love with his size.

  • He has length, good speed for such a big corner and fluid hips.

  • Simply put, he has an ideal frame to play the position and his wingspan allows him to make plays on the ball with a greater room for error than other smaller, more technical corners.

  • It is a fine sight to see his movement in transition and how he matches up when running with receivers, but he is too inconsistent to go any higher than the third round.

  • Despite his size, he is not a very physical corner and is not the greatest tackler.

  • He misses too many open field tackles by taking bad angles and failing to wrap ball carriers up. He is sometimes guilty of going for a tentative tackle up high that is too easy for a runner to shrug off.

  • Also, he appears somewhat raw and he gives up too much cushion to receivers allowing easy completions and is guilty of misreading plays at times.

  • Gave up a poor 94.9 passer rating in 2020 and only has three INTs throughout his collegiate career. There is a lot to work with here though, he seems to have a natural build and ability to play the position, but he is more of a developmental prospect.

15

AARON ROBINSON, UCF

OVERALL RANK: 129

AARON ROBINSON NFL DRAFT PLAYER PROFILE

  • Robinson certainly has the size to play outside in the NFL, but was used most often in the slot during his college career. Did not face much premier receiving talent.

  • MORE ANALYSIS COMING SOON...

16

KARY VINCENT JR, LSU

OVERALL RANK: 130

KARY VINCENT JR NFL DRAFT PLAYER PROFILE

  • Nickel corner prospect who is a former track star. Has speed and fluidity in his hips and is able to compete for the ball at the catch point with an aggressive mentality.

  • This does not always show this in the tackle though and he can appear hesistant against physical ball carriers.

  • He has played almost exclusively in the slot during his college career which limits the ceiling of his draft stock, but his natural quicks and ball playing ability may make him a candidate to move to safety.

  • He is a reliable corner underneath though and will be a smart pickup for teams that play a lot of man coverage.

17

TYSON CAMPBELL, GEORGIA

OVERALL RANK: 132

TYSON CAMPBELL NFL DRAFT PLAYER PROFILE

  • Campbell is a fluid athlete and mover for a man of his size, but often underwhelms on tape.

  • He gives up far too many easy receptions underneath and does not utilise his frame very well against physical receivers.

  • Against Alabama he often looked lost, which is something that is the case for many defensive backs due to the weaponry that the Crimson Tide had at their disposal, but if this is a sign of things to come in the NFL then the early results are not promising.

  • He is a reasonable, not great tackler but looks skinny for his size and will be more easily outmuscled at the next level.

  • Can hang with wideouts deep but needs to use the sideline better to limit space for the receiver and he does not seem like a corner that will make turnover worthy plays from his own initiative.

  • His big plays were more due to the circumstances of what was happening around him, not because of him.

  • Currently projected to go in the late first/early second, but I just don't see the value there. Fift round grade for me and that is only because of what he could become, not what he currently is.

18

AMBRY THOMAS, MICHIGAN

OVERALL RANK: 142

AMBRY THOMAS NFL DRAFT PLAYER PROFILE

  • COMING SOON...

19

BENJAMIN ST-JUSTE, MINNESOTA

OVERALL RANK: 163

BENJAMIN ST-JUSTE NFL DRAFT PLAYER PROFILE

  • COMING SOON...

20

KEITH TAYLOR, WASHINGTON

OVERALL RANK: 175

KEITH TAYLOR NFL DRAFT PLAYER PROFILE

  • COMING SOON...

21

ISRAEL MUKUAMU, SOUTH CAROLINA

OVERALL RANK: 182

ISRAEL MUKUAMU NFL DRAFT PLAYER PROFILE

  • Mukuamu has great size and length and possesses an exceptional frame, but simply flatters to deceive.

  • He is not very quick to diagnose routes and his read and response speed unfortuntely does not make up for this.

  • Often caught flat footed or in no-man's land, Mukuamu is far too raw to be much more than a day 3 pick.

  • For such a big corner, he not a particularly physical player and does not use his frame to his advantage enough at the line of scrimmage. 

22

RODARIUS WILLIAMS, OKLAHOMA ST

OVERALL RANK: 191

RODARIUS WILLIAMS NFL DRAFT PLAYER PROFILE

  • COMING SOON...

23

THOMAS GRAHAM, OREGON

OVERALL RANK: 198

THOMAS GRAHAM NFL DRAFT PLAYER PROFILE

  • Good foot speed. Tough, but smaller frame. Doesn't do anything badly, but no standout traits either. Mid round pick at best.

  • MORE ANALYSIS COMING SOON...

24

BRYAN MILLS, NC STATE

OVERALL RANK: N/A

BRYAN MILLS NFL DRAFT PLAYER PROFILE

  • COMING SOON...

25

OLAIJAH GRIFFIN, USC

OVERALL RANK: N/A

OLAIJAH GRIFFIN NFL DRAFT PLAYER PROFILE

  • COMING SOON...

26

MARCO WILSON, FLORIDA

OVERALL RANK: N/A

MARCO WILSON NFL DRAFT PLAYER PROFILE

  • COMING SOON...

27

DEOMMODORE LENOIR, OREGON

OVERALL RANK: N/A

DEOMMODORE LENOIR NFL DRAFT PLAYER PROFILE

  • COMING SOON...

28

D.J. DANIEL, GEORGIA

OVERALL RANK: N/A

D.J. DANIEL NFL DRAFT PLAYER PROFILE

  • COMING SOON...

29

TRE BROWN, OKLAHOMA

OVERALL RANK: N/A

TRE BROWN NFL DRAFT PLAYER PROFILE

  • COMING SOON...

30

DICAPRIO BOOTLE, NEBRASKA

OVERALL RANK: N/A

DICAPRIO BOOTLE NFL DRAFT PLAYER PROFILE

  • COMING SOON...