We’re back! The BTSC Big Board crew has returned for a second consecutive season! Between now and April, numerous BTSC draft analysts will give you stats, grades, and in-depth scouting reports for over 300 prospects in this year’s class. Just like last year, we will be doing these rankings by position until the week of the draft, when we finalize the overall rankings and release our all-positions-combined big board.
For our final positional rankings article, we’ll be looking at this year’s class of cornerbacks. The Steelers have a solid top 3 at the position on their roster right now in Akhello Witherspoon, Levi Wallace, and Cam Sutton, but there definitely seems to be some room for improvement. It’s an underrated need in this draft, and a deep class at the position this year furthers the chances of the Steelers bringing in a corner at some point in the 2022 NFL Draft.
The analysis is a collaborative effort of Ryland, myself, K.T. Smith, Jeremy Betz, Shannon White, skyfire322, Noah_E., and NecksNation, while the stats are compiled by SNW via Sports Reference. Proofreading was done by our newest big board contributor, DoomzoneFF.
If you have any thoughts on these cornerback prospects and their potential fit with the Steelers, be sure to share them in the comment section below.
Let’s get to the Big Board!
1. Ahmad Gardner | Cincinnati | 6‘-2“, 188 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 4
2021 stats: GP 13, T 40, TFL 5, S 3, Int 3, PD 4.
Andrew Wilbar: “Sauce” Gardner, if I remember correctly, has not given up a receiving touchdown in his entire Cincinnati career, and he is only surrendering about 20 receiving yards per game in 2021. The 6’2”, 200 pound junior from Detroit would be the number one corner in some drafts, but because of the strength of the position this year, Gardner might slide further than what he really should. He is similar to Booth in that he is your typical man press corner. In other words, Steelers fans, he was what Justin Layne could have been in the right situation and right system, but I digress. Gardner does a great job bumping receivers off their route at the line of scrimmage and forcing them to re-route. He gets good position and does a fantastic job forcing receivers to the outside. If he can develop better skills in zone, he could become a valuable asset for any team. Until then, the team that drafts him will want to play a healthy amount of man coverage. That is how they will get the most out of him early on.
Necksnation: Not only does Sauce Gardner have one of the best nicknames in this year’s draft, he could be the best defensive player from the class when it’s all said and done. Gardner is a physical corner, and he will gladly do whatever is asked of him on the football field. He possesses great length and athleticism, and these physical traits show up on his tape, where he showed the ability to clamp receivers in press as well as track them step for step in man. That said, he may be even better in zone, where his great instincts and aggressive nature pay off. His stats are ridiculous: in 33 games played at Cincinnati, he didn’t allow a single touchdown, and he’s given up one reception in the red zone since 2019. Because he was so dominant, he was rarely targeted, but he made a decent amount of plays on the ball with limited opportunities, registering three interceptions in every season that he played at Cincinnati. In addition, Gardner displays great competitive toughness when defending the run. He is an enthusiastic and aggressive tackler, and he made a number of highlight reel plays in run defense in 2021, including 5 TFL. Gardner has everything that you could ask for in a cornerback prospect, and he should hear his name called in the top 10 on draft night, where he’ll make an NFL team’s fanbase very happy.
2. Andrew Booth, Jr. | Clemson | 6‘-0“, 195 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 8
2021 stats: GP 11, T 37, TFL 3, S 0, Int 3, PD 5.
Andrew Wilbar: In my summer breakdown on Booth, I talked about his standout play in limited action in 2020. With Derion Kendrick transferring to Georgia, Booth became the face of Clemson’s secondary in 2021, and he lived up to the billing. While 3 tackles for loss, 5 passes defended, and 1 interception may not seem like insane stats for 10 games, he was consistently sound in coverage, bumping receivers off their route at the line of scrimmage and blanketing them downfield one-on-one. From an athletic standpoint, Booth is right up there with Derek Stingley and Ahmad Gardner. He has the size, the speed, the instincts, and the agility requisite from a press man corner. While turnover production is still a work in progress, he has not exactly had a ton of prime opportunities to force them. He is still developing his zone coverage skills, but Booth has the potential to become a top-tier corner in the NFL if drafted by the right team.
3. Derek Stingley, Jr. | LSU | 6‘-1“, 195 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 12
2021 stats: GP 3, T 8, TFL 3.5, S 0, Int 0, PD 0, FF 1.
2019 stats: GP 15, T 38, TFL 1, S 0, Int 6, PD 15, FR 1.
Necksnation: If you only look at Stingley’s freshman season, he’d seem like a lock to be taken in the top 5, but things haven’t gone quite as smoothly for him since then. It started in 2020, where he missed three games and saw his production decline a bit from his outstanding 2019 campaign. Then, he suffered a Lisfranc injury three weeks into the season, and didn’t return for the rest of the year. As a result, his draft stock has been volatile throughout the past few months, but he seems to be trending in the right direction as we get closer to draft day. The team that takes him will do so with the hope that he becomes the player he looked like in 2019, and if he does, he’ll look like a steal. And even though he hasn’t looked quite as good since that season, there’s still a lot to like about Stingley. His ball skills are fantastic, and even when he isn’t hauling in interceptions, he often finds ways to make plays on the ball. He allowed an impressive completion percentage of 39.2 across 125 targets at LSU, and he hauled in a whopping 6 interceptions as a freshman. Additionally, Stingley won’t turn 21 until June, making him one of the younger players in the class. Between his age, athleticism (9.2 RAS score), and production ceiling, Stingley has incredible potential, and despite his recent decline in production and injury history, he is absolutely worth gambling on in the top 15.
Andrew Wilbar: Stingley’s freshman campaign was unforgettable, recording six interceptions and fifteen passes defended. However, not much has happened since then. In the odd 2020 season, Stingley had five passes defended in seven games but failed to record an interception. In 2021, Stingley played in three games before missing the rest of the season with a foot injury, forcing one fumble and zero interceptions in those three games. While we can look at the 2019 tape and clearly see that he was the best defender in that game, one cannot dismiss the questions that come with a season of less production followed by a season shortened by an injury. We will see what can be gleaned by the medical testing at the combine to know if there are any long-term concerns, but the biggest concern is the dip in production. He has the skills to be an elite corner. We just have not seen him play at an elite level since LSU’s National Championship Game victory. Questions about his love for the game have risen during the pre-draft process, but it is difficult to tell how much it will affect his draft stock.
4. Trent McDuffie | Washington | 5‘-11“, 195 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 34
2021 stats: GP 11, T 35, TFL 4, S 1, Int 0, PD 6.
Ryland B.: McDuffie lacks the length of the other top corners in this class, but there’s still a lot to like. He has good speed for the position (4.44 40 time) and great agility. McDuffie has a smooth backpedal into coverage, incredibly quick feet, and can flip his hips well. The Washington corner is a quick reactor and very aware in zone coverage, which is his strength, but he still looked incredibly tight in man coverage. What surprised me is how active McDuffie is in the run game. He takes on blocks, isn’t afraid to make tackles, and is quick to diagnose run plays and sprint over to the action. He was even occasionally used to blitz gaps with varying success. McDuffies lack of great size, as well as production, worries me about his fit on the outside in the NFL. But his technique, physicality, and athleticism give McDuffie elite potential in the slot.
5. Roger McCreary | Auburn | 6‘-0“, 190 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 40
2021 stats: GP 12, T 49, TFL 2, S 1, Int 2, PD 14, FR 1.
Ryland B.: McCreary had to go up against some incredibly talented receivers in the SEC, and he largely held his own. He’s a good athlete for the position, with enough long speed to keep up with most receivers and decent reactive quickness. He looked the best in man coverage, where his athleticism and physicality really shone, but he’s a solid zone defender as well. Part of me wonders if that physicality could be an issue at the next level, as some of McCreary’s technique could be called a hold at the next level. He can be just a little too grabby. Overall though, there’s a lot to like about McCreary, whose impressive effort, physicality, ball skills, and general athleticism should certainly make him worth a pick in the first few rounds of the draft.
6. Kaiir Elam | Florida | 6‘-2“, 196 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 43
2021 stats: GP 10, T 29, TFL 1.5, S 0, Int 1, PD 5.
Andrew Wilbar: Elam is a lengthy cornerback who possesses solid athleticism and tremendous instincts. Primarily a zone corner, Elam displays solid situational awareness and fantastic start-and-stop quickness. This ability to change direction on a dime allows him to break on the ball quickly in zone and to match up well against twitchy, undersized receivers in man. Although he seems to be most comfortable in zone, he has proven that he has the necessary athleticism to play doses of man coverage as well. The downside? He sometimes loses awareness of where his zone is, dropping back too far and giving the receiver too much room to work with underneath. As you all are well aware by now, I prefer man corners over zone corners, which is why I am not the biggest Elam fan. However, the upside is high if he is put in a position to make plays on the ball.
7. Marcus Jones | Houston | 5‘-8“, 185 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 55
2021 stats: GP 13, T 47, TFL 1, S 0, Int 5, PD 13, FF 1.
Andrew Wilbar: Size will most definitely limit Jones to the slot in the NFL, but his closing speed and feistiness make him an interesting day two pick, regardless of his size. Versatility is the other big part of his game, as he can play a little free safety as well as return kicks and punts. I also love how smoothly Jones can flip his hips in coverage. His footwork is clean, and his backpedal looks incredibly natural. He has not provided much value as a blitzer thus far into his playing career, recording zero sacks in four seasons; however, his ability to make plays on the ball was on full display in 2021, as he recorded 5 interceptions and 13 passes defended in 11 games. If you are looking for an NFL comparison, look no further than former Steeler Mike Hilton, at least from an athletic standpoint. Hilton is definitely a better blitzer than Jones is, but Jones has the upper hand when it comes to ability in coverage. He is still raw and learning the nuances of the position, but the upside is through the roof if he is developed properly.
8. Kyler Gordon | Washington | 6‘-0“, 200 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 62
2021 stats: GP 13, T 45, TFL 2, S 0, Int 2, PD 7, FF 1.
Ryland B.: Washington has turned into a defensive back factory over the past few years, and Gordon, along with teammate Trent McDuffie, should further that trend. Gordon is a big, physical corner with good athleticism. He’s a very smooth mover with a great backpedal in bail technique, where he played the most. Gordon’s reaction time and quickness is pretty solid and he’s a willing run defender and high-effort player. He has special teams experience as well. Gordon is a good option for a team in need of a solid outside corner.
9. Tariq Woolen | UTSA | 6‘-4“, 205 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 79
2021 stats: GP 9, T 25, TFL 2.5, S 0, Int 1, PD 5.
Necksnation: Woolen has appealing physical traits, but is incredibly raw and will be quite a project for the team that drafts him. He converted from receiver to cornerback in 2020, and it shows on his tape, as he was burnt numerous times in man. In zone, his instincts are okay, but could use a bit of work, as he sometimes misreads his assignments. As a former receiver, Woolen does have impressive ball skills, but he sometimes struggles to make plays on the ball while simultaneously covering the receiver. He is certainly an aggressive defender while the ball is in the air, and he’s willing to make hits to jar the ball loose and get his hands in the way to prevent a completion, but this can be a double edged sword, and he gave up a few big plays because of this aggression. Additionally, I have some concerns about his competitive toughness. He often appeared unwilling to make tackles and defend the run, and while this may be partially due to his lack of experience at the position, it’s something that he’ll need to figure out in the NFL. On the bright side, his athletic upside is tremendous. Standing 6’4” and running a 4.26 40 yard dash, he absolutely has the physical tools to succeed, but his tape doesn’t back up his measurables yet. He seems like a good guy to take a flier on early in day 3, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable selecting him before then due to how much development he still needs.
10. Alontae Taylor | Tennessee | 6‘-0“, 193 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 87
2021 stats: GP 12, T 60, TFL 1, S 0, Int 2, PD 6, FF 1.
Andrew Wilbar: Taylor’s 40 time was one of the most pleasant surprises at the combine, as his speed looked suspect on tape. At the Senior Bowl, though, Tennessee teammate Velus Jones, Jr. dominated him in reps, burning him over the top and beating him deep on multiple occasions. Despite his sub-4.4 40 time, I still have concerns about his ability to play a high volume of man coverage, as his inability to get good position against receivers at the line of scrimmage should be concerning. In a defense that plays a lot of cover 2 and cover 3, Taylor could certainly find a starting role, but he will not be a fit for everyone.
11. Cameron Taylor-Britt | Nebraska | 6‘-0“, 197 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 95
2021 stats: GP 12, T 51, TFL 3, S 1, Int 1, PD 11.
Andrew Wilbar: Talk about a guy who consistently got in passing lanes and broke up passes in 2021. Taylor-Britt, despite decent athleticism, is probably best suited as a zone corner, as his instincts and fluidity would give him the upper hand. If he wants to make it as a zone corner, however, he must take better tackling angles. At Nebraska, he struggled to bring down opposing receivers after the catch due to that issue, and it is not an issue that will simply subside in the NFL. He has good straight-line speed, but his start-and-stop quickness when mirroring a receiver in man coverage leaves a lot to be desired. Overall, I like Taylor-Britt’s chances of developing into a start if put in the right situation. He just has several technical issues that developed into bad habits at the collegiate level. If he can break those habits, he will become a solid CB2.
12. Damarri Mathis | Pittsburgh | 5‘-11“, 195 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 111
2021 stats: GP 12, T 43, TFL 0, S 0, Int 2, PD 5.
Andrew Wilbar: Mathis is an aggressive corner who is a little handsy at times. In fact, I remember the TV analyst of the Pitt/Clemson game mentioning that, when talking to people at Pitt, he realized the importance of officiating relative to the team’s success. He was apparently told that the way the refs officiate the game is huge for them, largely due to the aggressive style they play. There are times when Mathis may have gotten away with a little bit of grabbing, but overall, he has good awareness in man coverage, and he knows when to turn around and make a play on the ball. He is also plenty athletic, displaying the size, speed, and versatility to play both corner and safety at a high level. He is still somewhat raw technically, but if you want a guy in the middle rounds who has the tools to develop into a star corner, Mathis is your guy.
13. Martin Emerson | Mississippi State | 6‘-0“, 195 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 113
2021 stats: GP 12, T 49, TFL 3, S 0, Int 0, PD 3.
Noah: Emerson has gone under the radar during the entire draft process. He’s a lengthy corner and he has great footwork. He flips his hips well and has good patience, so you won’t see him over pursue very often. He does a good job mirroring receivers in man coverage and has good discipline in zone. There are some big red flags though, especially when it comes to ball skills. While Emerson was a great cover corner during his time at Mississippi State, he only has 1 career interception, and his inability to track the ball shows. His long speed is good enough but he lacks good change of direction, which could potentially limit him in his ability to cover certain routes like quick outs and zigs. There’s a lot to like but there are also things that could steer a team away. He may not be a first round guy but he hasn’t gotten the attention he deserves.
14. Zyon McCollum | Sam Houston State | 6‘-4“, 220 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 114
2021 stats: GP 12, T 50, TFL 2, S 0, Int 3, PD 5.
Necksnation: McCollum had a solid career at Sam Houston State, and is one of the most athletically gifted players in the class, but he looks like a substantial project right now. He is certainly a playmaker, as he registered 13 interceptions and a whopping 54 pass breakups in 56 games in college, but it’s worth noting that he played against mediocre competition in the FCS. He spent most of his time on the field as an outside corner, and that’s where he’ll likely play in the NFL, although he’ll need a good amount of development. A certain area of improvement for him is his tackling, where he was inconsistent and missed many attempts as a result of poor form. He is aggressive and willing to do dirty work, but he needs to work on his technique in order to be a viable tackler. He plays decently well in press, which suits his aggressive play style well, but he did get burnt a few times. Zone appears to be where he plays best, as he has good instincts and is able to use his athleticism to make plays on the ball. Overall, McCollum has fantastic athleticism, and has a perfect 10 Relative Athletic Score, but has plenty of work to do if he wants to succeed in the NFL. However, his upside is absolutely worth taking a gamble on, and I won’t be surprised if he is selected in the fourth or fifth round.
15. Isaac Taylor-Stuart | USC | 6‘-2“, 200 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 116
2021 stats: GP 11, T 39, TFL 0, S 0, Int 1, PD 3.
Andrew Wilbar: Taylor-Stuart is an aggressive press-man corner who has the size and speed to become a dominant outside corner. I do, however, have a few minor concerns with his game. He can run stride for stride with just about any receiver in man coverage, but when he is on an island by himself, he lacks eye discipline, which causes him to look back toward the ball. If the ball happens to already be in the air, he will panic and grab the receiver to make sure he doesn’t get burned at the last moment. This lack of confidence in coverage led to some crucial pass interference penalties at the collegiate level, but it seems to be a fixable issue once he gains more confidence as a corner. The other issue I am worried about is his performance against bigger wide receivers. One of the games I watched of him was against Stanford, whose top two wide receivers are both 6’4” or taller. He got pushed around at the line of scrimmage too often, and he struggled to get good position at the beginning of the route. This is a little concerning from a 6’2”, 200-pound corner who is big enough to hold his own on the outside, although part of the issue may be due to him playing on the back of his heels too much. Taylor-Stuart looks the part of an NFL cornerback, but there are still some inconsistencies he will need to work through at the beginning of his career.
16. Jack Jones | Arizona State | 5‘-10“, 175 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 117
2021 stats: GP 11, T 41, TFL 2.5, S 1, Int 3, PD 6, FF 3.
Andrew Wilbar: Jones was a five-star athlete coming out of high school who had committed to USC. After a breakout 2017 season, Jones’ was declared ineligible to participate in football for academic reasons. It did not end there, however. During the summer of 2018, Jones was arrested for burglary, and his football career was in jeopardy. To make a long story short, Jones transferred to Arizona State, got his life into some sort of order, and actually made the Dean’s List for the 2020 spring semester. He has matured greatly during his time at Arizona State and has now regained his footage as a draft prospect. After a year of solid production followed by an impressive combine performance, he is more than worthy of a mid-round selection. He would provide schematic versatility to any team in need of a slot corner.
17. Coby Bryant | Cincinnati | 5‘-11“, 198 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 127
2021 stats: GP 14, T 44, TFL 1.5, S 0, Int 2, PD 11, FF 2.
Noah: Coby Bryant was the definition of lockdown this year for the Bearcats. He may not have had the career that his teammate Sauce Gardner did, but he was the Jim Thorpe Award winner for a reason. Bryant displays good footwork and his 9 interceptions in 4 years are evidence of his ball skills. He’s a smart player and has good athleticism despite being a tad slow at times. Bryant does a good job of watching the feet and not biting on fakes. He does have relatively short arms creating some inconsistency when wrapping up. Due to his lack of quickness Bryant has struggled when he’s covering routes that force him to move laterally across the field. He has the mental toughness and physical tools to be a very good player, but he needs to put it all together. He has the potential to be the steal of the draft if he can clean up some of the holes in his game.
18. Tariq Castro-Fields | Penn State | 6‘-0“, 198 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 133
2021 stats: GP 12, T 33, TFL 0, S 0, Int 0, PD 6.
Jeremy Betz: I love “TCS” in this class. He has all the tools you look for in a potential No. 1 CB, and plays a physical brand of football that makes him a solid man coverage corner. He does need some refinement from a technique standpoint, but all the athletic traits are there. He has 4.3 speed and on tape you see a strong ability to close on the football and run with speedy receivers on the outside. I project him as mainly an outside press corner in the NFL, where he can make an immediate impact on special teams while working into the CB rotation fairly early in his career.
19. Jalyn Armour-Davis | Alabama | 6‘-1“, 192 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 136
2021 stats: GP 11, T 32, TFL 1, S 0, Int 3, PD 4.
Noah: Jalyn Armour-Davis may not be as skilled as some of the other guys in this class but I believe that playing for Nick Saban is going to greatly benefit him. He has the length and athleticism to be a really good player. His instincts are great and he is excellent at tracking guys down to make the tackle. However, he’s pretty stiff and you’d like to see him get his hips around a little quicker. He also gives receivers too much room sometimes and overall needs to tighten up his coverage. Being just a one-year starter there are some concerns about his experience and if he’s ready for the NFL yet. Armour-Davis is certainly a project but the reward could definitely be worth a day 3 pick.
20. Decobie Durant | South Carolina State | 5‘-11“, 175 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 144
2021 stats: GP 11, T 35, TFL 4, S 0, Int 3, PD 12, FR 1.
Andrew Wilbar: Durant brings an intriguing blend of ball skills and instincts at the cornerback position. Measuring in at only 5’10”, 180 pounds at the combine, Durant is almost certainly going to be a nickel corner at the next level. His hip fluidity and speed are both evident on tape, and his ability to close on the ball quickly is what got him in position to grab several of his interceptions during his four-year career with the Bulldogs. He has limited experience coming on the blitz but has shown potential in that area, although there is no production to back that claim. The concern lies in that he gives too much leeway to receivers on underneath routes, allowing them to create yardage after the catch if they turn upfield quick enough. Level of competition is another valid concern scouts will have, but if he can tighten up his spacing in coverage, I think he possesses starting upside at nickel corner.
21. Joshua Williams | Fayetteville State | 6‘-3“, 197 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 147
2021 stats: GP 9, T 31, TFL 0, S 0, Int 3, PD 6.
Andrew Wilbar: Williams was largely an unknown commodity just a few short months ago. However, after an impressive week at the Senior Bowl, the Williams bandwagon began to gain steam. Now, he is likely a mid-round pick who could have the opportunity to start early in his career. His lack of speed will limit him to primarily zone concepts, but I love the energy he plays with. You can tell that he is passionate about the game just by how he carries himself on the field. Not only does Williams have the ball skills scouts love, but his fluidity and instincts partially make up for his lack of speed. I would not consider him a corner with CB1 upside, but if he is allowed to play a heavy dose of cover-3, he could become a reliable CB2.
22. Chase Lucas | Arizona State | 6‘-0“, 185 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 175
2021 stats: GP 10, T 34, TFL 1, S 0, Int 0, PD 6.
Andrew Wilbar: I am not the biggest fan of Lucas, but he is a name that seems to be soaring up on draft boards. He has not recorded an interception since 2019, but he has become more consistent in coverage overall, displaying requisite athleticism and awareness for the position. Lucas has experience playing on the outside, but in the NFL, I do not think he has the size to hold up long-term. If he can take advantage of more errant throws by the quarterback by turning them into interceptions, he could make his presence felt as a slot corner for years to come.
23. Darrell Baker, Jr. | Georgia Southern | 6‘-1“, 200 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 178
2021 stats: GP 9, T 32, TFL 2, S 0, Int 0, PD 8, FF 1.
Andrew Wilbar: Baker is relatively new to the position, but he looks the part of an NFL cornerback. Not only does he have adequate size, but at his pro day, he recorded a 4.43 in the 40, a 41 ½” vertical, a 135” broad jump, and a 7.07 in the 3-cone drill. The athleticism is off the charts, and it is evident when you watch him on the field. He has incredible explosiveness in hips, and his fluidity when moving laterally is second to none for someone as new to the position as he is. The turnover production has not yet arrived, but Baker does have the ability to create splash plays, having played receiver in high school. Jeremy and I had the pleasure of interviewing him for the Steelers Draft Fix, and we both came away impressed with his confidence and demeanor. You can check out the full interview below.
24. Gregory Junior | Ouachita Baptist | 6‘-0“, 190 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 182
2021 stats: GP 11, T 46, TFL 3, S 0, Int 0, PD 7.
Andrew Wilbar: Junior is a good athlete who provided lockdown coverage capabilities on low-level college ball. At 5 ‘11 7/10”, 203, Junior recorded a 4.46 40, 18 bench reps, 39.5” vertical, 4.17 short shuttle, and 6.97 in the 3-cone drill. He has the versatility to play inside or out, and when it’s all said and done, he may actually be best suited for an outside role. He has some feistiness in him, has active hands at the LOS, and bumps receivers off their route. I would like to see him take better tackling angles, but he looks the part of an NFL corner. The only issue is that his success came against poor competition.
25. Cordale Flott | LSU | 6‘-1“, 165 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 187
2021 stats: GP 11, T 40, TFL 1, S 0, Int 1, PD 3, FF 1.
Noah: I had never heard of Cordale Flott until just a few days ago, but his tape surprised me. Physically, he’s your prototypical boundary corner, tall, fast with long arms, but his skill set doesn’t exactly reflect that. His footwork is a thing of beauty and his movement is very fluid. His hip mobility is some of the best I’ve seen and he makes up ground quickly, in part because he is so light on his feet. At LSU’s pro day he ran a 4.4 flat and that speed shows on tape. In addition to all of this, Flott is willing to take on blockers and is impressive as a run defender. His frame is a bit slender and he tends to have a bit of a quick trigger, over responding to route fakes. He’s never going to be a true number 1 shutdown corner, but in my eyes, he is the perfect slot guy and in the right situation he could flourish.
26. DaRon Bland | Fresno State | 6‘-1“, 202 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 196
2021 stats: GP 13, T 45, TFL 1, S 0, Int 2, PD 5, FF 1.
Ryland B.: Bland is a very physical corner with good athleticism. What really stood out to me was his effort in the run game and ferocity when taking on blocks and in pursuit. There’s still some technical aspects that need to be worked on in that area but there’s a lot to like about Bland in run support. In coverage, Bland shows good speed and solid awareness in zone. However, he can be a little too grabby. He didn’t exactly have the highest level of competition in college, either.
27. Mykael Wright | CB | Oregon | 5’-11”, 182 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 203
2021 stats: GP 13, T 65, TFL 4, S 0, Int 1, PD, 4, FF 1.
Ryland B.: Wright is an athletic yet undersized cornerback. He’s very feisty and physical in coverage with the ability to make a play on the ball. He has very good speed and quickness and found some success as a returner for Oregon. Wright’s biggest issue is his lack of size, and he will have a harder time with stronger and taller receivers at the NFL level. However, his competitiveness is not an issue. Wright could be a very good option as a special teamer and potential slot corner.
28. Akayleb Evans | Missouri | 6‘-2“, 188 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 204
2021 stats: GP 11, T 28, TFL 1, S 0, Int 1, PD 6, FF 2.
Jeremy Betz: You want size? Check. You want athleticism and fluidity? Check. You want experience? That’s all you’re missing with Evans, one of the best athletes in this class. Elite length helps him stick to receivers in man coverage and he has great range when working in zone. An incomplete player, but one with a lot of upside as an early Day 3 pick, Akayleb Evans has the kind of potential that gets scouting departments and coaches excited.
29. Mario Goodrich | Clemson | 6‘-0“, 190 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 205
2021 stats: GP 11, T 42, TFL 0, S 0, Int 2, PD 15, FF 1.
Andrew Wilbar: Goodrich is not a guy I see ever becoming a number one corner, but in a system that uses primarily zone concepts, he could develop into a solid number two corner. He possesses the instincts necessary to break on the ball quickly and get into passing lanes, and he is not afraid to get physical with receivers down the field. However, he weighed in at a slight 176 pounds at the combine, which brings up concerns about how durable he will be as a boundary corner. The other issue that limits his ceiling is his lack of elite ball skills. He will never be a corner who racks up interceptions, and the team that drafts him will need to go in with that expectation. Nonetheless, he provides enough upside to warrant a day-three selection.
30. Marcel Dabo | Germany
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 211
Andrew Wilbar: Dabo is a draft prospect from Germany who displays eye-popping athleticism. When given a chance to display his abilities at his pro day, Dabo ran a 4.48 in the 40, jumped 40 inches in the vertical, and leaped 128 inches in the broad jump. At 6’0”, 190 pounds, Dabo has the size to be a boundary corner. He has excellent hand-eye coordination, and he has incredibly smooth hips. I believe that those two traits give him tremendous upside at the next level in the department of splash plays. There will definitely be a learning curve, but as a late-round draft pick, Dabo will give you more upside than just about any other available option you will have.
31. T.J. Carter | TCU | 5‘-11“, 193 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 217
2021 stats: GP 10, T 63, TFL 0, S 0, Int 1, PD 1.
Andrew Wilbar: Carter is a Memphis transfer who may have been selected higher if he had entered the draft last year. He struggled to make a huge impact with TCU, and he followed it up with disappointing numbers at the combine. For someone who had so much success as a freshman and sophomore, it was disappointing to see the drop-off in production, although part of the problem could be due to a season-ending injury he sustained back in 2019. At TCU, Carter saw most of his playing time at safety, but I think his best chance to have success will come by moving back to cornerback. However, he may be best suited at nickel rather than the outside, as ability to defend the run at a high level combined with his physicality in coverage makes him a more logical fit inside. Inconsistency and poor athletic testing will cause him to fall to the later rounds of the draft, but if used properly, he has the potential to become a nice depth corner.
32. Tre Avery | Rutgers | 5‘-11“, 190 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 224
2021 stats: GP 12, T 37, TFL 1.5, S 0, Int 1, PD 5.
Andrew Wilbar: Tre Avery is an intriguing slot option late in the draft. Measuring in at nearly 5 ‘10 1/2”, 181 pounds, Avery recorded a 4.45 in the 40, 16 bench reps, a 38” vertical, a 4.01 in the short shuttle, and a 6.76 in the 3-cone drill at his pro day. His arm length is under that 30-inch threshold, but he’s going to be playing almost exclusively in the slot, so I do not see that as a deal-breaker. His best game may have been in Rutgers’ loss to Michigan, as he recorded two passes defended while displaying ability in both man and zone concepts. He does lack awareness at times, and it is visible on the field specifically on in-breaking routes by the opposing receiver. He anticipates the deep ball too often and often fails to adjust quick enough to make up for his misread. Nonetheless, I would consider a talent like Avery more than worth a selection late on day three.
33. Faion Hicks | Wisconsin | 5‘-10“, 192 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 227
2021 stats: GP 11, T 28, TFL 0, S 0, Int 0, PD 8.
Andrew Wilbar: Hicks does not bring much to the table when it comes to creating turnovers, but he is a schematically versatile corner who likely projects best as a slot corner at the next level. In man coverage, Hicks displays good aggression while maintaining enough discipline to avoid constant penalties. Another way teams may try using Hicks is as a kick returner. If he can provide value on special teams early on, I expect an NFL team to take a chance on him and let him hang around for a couple years. Age is working against him, however, as he is already 24 years old. Although Hicks will never be an elite corner, he has a chance to make contributions in year one as a nickel corner and special teamer. I expect him to be taken somewhere in the middle of day three.
34. Tony Adams | Illinois | 6‘-0“, 200 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 235
2021 stats: GP 12, T 63, TFL 3.5, S 1, Int 1, PD 5.
Andrew Wilbar: Last year, Illinois produced a solid late-round prospect in Nate Hobbs, who started in nine games for the Las Vegas Raiders last season. Perhaps a trend is beginning, because the Illini have yet another intriguing day-three prospect at corner: Tony Adams. At 5 ‘11 ½”, 203, Adams impressed scouts with a 4.47 40, 4.06 short shuttle, 6.98 3-cone drill, 41 ½” vertical, and 130” broad jump at his pro day. Adams needs to do a better job of forcing receivers to the outside when in press man, but overall, his game is pretty clean. The downside is that most of his production came against weaker opponents, leading one to believe that he may not be a true difference maker when it matters most. Nonetheless, if you like to bet on upside in the later rounds like I do, Adams is someone to keep an eye on.
35. Derion Kendrick | Georgia | 6‘-0“, 190 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 250
2021 stats: GP 15, T 41, TFL 2, S 0, Int 4, PD 3.
Ryland B.: Kendrick transferred from Clemson to Georgia for the 2021 season where he became a member of the best defense in the country. His athleticism is evident on tape, but despite his experience Kendrick is still quite raw. He has the speed and physicality to excel in man coverage but his reaction time could use some improvement, although he does seem to possess the requisite quickness. He also doesn’t seem extremely comfortable yet in zone coverage, where his eye discipline isn’t great yet and he can get turned around at times. Still, there’s plenty of moments on tape where Kendrick’s technical warts disappear and he plays up to his potential. However, his ceiling may be limited after Kendrick ran an incredibly disappointing 4.75 40 at the combine. He looks much faster in-game and seemingly only got burnt by the best receivers, but such poor numbers are a definite red flag. Still, I like to think Kendrick could offer good value in the later rounds. His experience as a returner is a plus as well.
36. Shaun Jolly | Appalachian State | 5‘-9“, 175 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 251
2021 stats: GP 8, T 26, TFL 1, S 0, Int 1, PD 5.
Andrew Wilbar: Jolly is a versatile corner who will likely settle in at nickel cornerback in the NFL. While the overall body of work may not look impressive on paper, Jolly quietly did a nice job in coverage both in 2020 as well as 2021, but his best year was, by far, 2019. As a sophomore, Jolly played in 14 games, recorded 3.5 tackles for loss, 8 passes defended, and 5 interceptions. However, there are times when I felt Appalachian State played Jolly too far off the line of scrimmage, as he struggled to defend bigger receivers when covering from behind the receiver’s body. His lack of size may also hinder him from ever becoming a top-notch tackler, but if he is allowed to play exclusively in the slot, he could be a legitimate late-round value for a team in need of a new slot corner.
37. Sam Webb | Missouri Western | 6‘-2“, 195 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 270
2021 stats: GP 10, T 30, TFL 0, S 0, Int 0, PD 6, FF 2, FR 1.
Ryland B.: From what I saw of Webb, he’s an incredibly physical corner with good size and a solid athletic profile. He flips his hips with ease and generally looks fairly fluid in coverage although he’s far too grabby at the top of the route. His long speed isn’t great but Webb is a fantastic, high-effort closer on deep routes and in the run game. He’s still fairly raw in some aspects and his level of competition was far from elite, but Webb shows some upside as a late-round, small-school pickup.
38. Kalon Barnes | Baylor | 6‘-0“, 186 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 273
2021 stats: GP 9, T 23, TFL 0, S 0, Int 1, PD 5.
Ryland B.: When researching Barnes, his 4.23 second 40-time was the first thing that really caught my eye. Incredibly close to the combine record, Barnes shouldn’t have any issues running alongside NFL receivers. However, the NFL is much more than a track meet. Barnes has poor backpedal technique, often looking too stiff and upright. He also can react late, and while his athleticism generally makes up for it, there will be much less margin for error at the next level. Barnes isn’t the most physical and could improve his ball skills as well. He’s an incredibly raw prospect, but his elite athleticism and good effort on the field make him an intriguing late round option.
39. Chris Steele | USC | 6‘-1“, 190 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 276
2021 stats: GP 11, T 33, TFL 2, S 1, Int 2, PD 3, FF 1.
Ryland B.: Steele is a lanky corner with solid measurables. He’s a natural athlete who is a fairly smooth mover. Steele plays an aggressive brand of coverage, always right up in the receiver’s face with a physical presence. It’s a double-edged sword, as Steele has good mirroring ability, but his tight coverage can result in him being susceptible to quicker receivers as Steele doesn’t leave himself much room to react. His physicality could also result in some penalties. Steele can be a bit late to flip his hips as well. He’s a solid prospect but a lot of his technique still needs refinement.
40. DaMarcus Fields | Texas Tech | 6‘-0“, 200 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 277
2021 stats: GP 12, T 50, TFL 4, S 0, Int 0, PD 9.
Ryland B.: Fields is a thickly built corner who played on the outside for Texas Tech. He seems to have good long speed but lacks a smooth backpedal and great quickness. He’s very hit and miss in zone coverage when it comes to both taking care of assignments and keeping an eye on the quarterback. Fields has good awareness when the ball is in the air but he is not a good catcher of the football. He does have solid closing speed and is a willing and sound tackler. Fields could be a good fit on the outside but I worry about his lack of great agility.
41. Jaylen Watson | Washington State | 6‘-3“, 204 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 282
2021 stats: GP 12, T 31, TFL 1, S 0, Int 2, PD 3, FR 4.
Ryland B.: Watson has good speed but slow feet, which limits his reaction time and overall agility. He can hang with receivers in man coverage for the most part but is best on linear routes with not a lot of change of direction (to be fair this can be said about a lot of cornerbacks). In zone he displays decent movement skills but can look uncertain at times. He’s not the most willing tackler in run support and can struggle with more physical receivers. Watson is definitely a more developmental prospect.
42. Josh Jobe | Alabama | 6‘-1“, 192 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 288
2021 stats: GP 12, T 38, TFL 1, S 0, Int 2, PD 4.
Andrew Wilbar: Jobe has been one of the more consistent corners in college football over the past couple years. However, he was unable to ever reach a special level in the three years he had a prominent role, and he seemed to take a step back in 2021 when put into the CB1 role. When it comes to Jobe as a prospect, his ball skills are not thoroughly impressive, but when he gets good position from the get-go, he knows how to get into passing lanes and swat away passes. Unfortunately, he seems to lack the athleticism to play heavy doses of man coverage. His instincts are also poor, leading one to believe that a transition to safety may be the best career move for him. That is the belief of Lance Zierlein, who wrote an interesting scouting report on Jobe. You can check it out here.
43. Raleigh Texada | Baylor | 5‘-10“, 188 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 292
2021 stats: GP 13, T 34, TFL 2, S 1, Int 0, PD 3, FR 1, FF 1.
Andrew Wilbar: Texada is a solid straight-line athlete who possesses adequate size for a slot corner. Quickness and agility are both integral parts of his play style, as he is most comfortable in man coverage despite his lack of physicality. Do not think that he is incapable of playing zone, however, as he displays a smooth backpedal and good discipline in “eyes-on” defensive looks too. There are other times, however, when he loses focus in coverage and allows a receiver to slip by him and get open over the top. There is enough athletic upside to justify selecting him on day three, but his lack of size and ball production limit his overall ceiling as a prospect.
44. Benjie Franklin | Tarleton State | 6‘-0“, 185 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 293
2021 stats: GP 9, T 36, TFL 0, S 0, Int 3, PD 6.
Andrew Wilbar: Franklin is an undersized corner who, despite good athleticism, will be limited to the slot in the NFL. Franklin’s combination of quickness and speed is absolutely fantastic, but he never had the opportunity to display those capabilities on a nationally known stage. However, he was the big standout at the Tarleton State pro day, running a 4.32 in the 40 and a 6.81 in the 3-cone drill. The big concern is play style. Franklin’s athletic profile screams man coverage, but he seriously lacks the physicality to play close to the line in the NFL. His best chance is to add a few pounds and provide value on special teams in year one. If he sticks, he could potentially develop into a starting nickel or dime backer once he has a year or two under his belt.
45. Christian Holmes | Oklahoma State | 6‘-1“, 185 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 294
2021 stats: GP 13, T 36, TFL 0, S 0, Int 2, PD 7.
Andrew Wilbar: Holmes is best in off-man and zone concepts, as he is not the most dynamic athlete. I like his consistency in coverage, as he rarely allows receivers to beat him deep and create chunk yardage. On the down side, he is not one who you can expect to create many turnovers. In five years of college football, Holmes has recorded 28 passes defended but only 3 interceptions. Part of this could be due to the fact that he lacks elite closing speed, but I have also noticed that he does not break on the ball extremely well. I definitely think the upside is limited here, but considering the impact he made on Oklahoma State’s excellent defense in 2021, he should be worthy of late-round consideration.
BEST OF THE REST
46. Dallis Flowers | Pittsburg State | 6‘-2“, 190 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 264
2021 stats: GP 11, T 21, TFL 1.5, S 3, Int 4, PD 6.
47. Josh Thompson | Texas | 6‘-0“, 194 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 281
2021 stats: GP 9, T 34, TFL 1, S 0, Int 1, PD 2, FR 1.
48. Montaric Brown | Arkansas | 6‘-0“, 190 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 289
2021 stats: GP 13, T 54, TFL 1, S 0, Int 5, PD 6, FR 1, FF 1.
49. Vincent Gray | Michigan | 6‘-2“, 192 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 304
2021 stats: GP 13, T 46, TFL 3.5, S 1, Int 0, PD 7, FF 1.
50. Xavior Williams | Iowa | 5‘-11“, 192 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 330
2021 stats: GP 2, T 3, TFL 0, S 0, Int 0, PD 0.
2019 stats: GP 15, T 50, TFL .5, S 0, Int 1, PD 13, FR 2.
51. Shabari Davis | Southeast Missouri State | 6‘-0“, 193 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 331
2021 stats: GP 9, T 21, TFL 1, S 0, Int 1, PD 4.
52. Denzel Williams | Villanova | 5‘-10“, 190 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 332
2021 stats: GP 11, T 16, TFL 0, S 0, Int 2, PD 7, FR 2.
53. Tyrell Ford | Waterloo | 6‘-0“, 200 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 333
2021 stats: GP, T 23.5, TFL 0, S 0, Int 4, PD 2.
54. Freddie McGee III | Illinois | 5‘-8“, 175 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 334
2021 stats: GP 13, T 17, TFL 0, S 0, Int 0, PD 4.
55. Josh Blackwell | Duke | 6‘-0“, 175 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 335
2021 stats: GP 11, T 35, TFL 1, S 0, Int 0, PD 7.
56. Kyler McMichael | North Carolina | 6‘-0“, 210 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 351
2021 stats: GP 9, T 18, TFL 0, S 0, Int 1, PD 1.
57. Malik Grate | Campbell | 6‘-0“, 180 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 352
2021 stats: GP 11, T 35, TFL 0, S 0, Int 2, PD 10, FR 1.
58. Zyon Gilbert | Florida Atlantic | 6‘-1“, 182 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 380
2021 stats: GP 12, T 50, TFL 2, S 1, Int 2, PD 10, FF 1.
Which cornerbacks in this class intrigue you the most? Which receiver do you think makes the most sense for the Steelers? Who is your favorite sleeper? Be sure to share your thoughts on this big board and all things NFL Draft in the comment section below!