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2023 NFL Draft Big Board: Cornerback rankings and scouting reports

In-depth rankings and scouting reports for cornerbacks in the 2023 NFL Draft.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 23 Illinois at Penn State Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Draft season is here, ladies and gentleman, and BTSC is excited to bring you our exclusive NFL Draft Big Board for the third consecutive year! Between January and April, we will be giving you an in-depth look at over 200 prospects in this draft class, ranking and analyzing noteworthy prospects at each position.

We will unveil this board one position at a time, with the final top 250 draft board coming out right before the draft. This compilation of rankings, stats, and analysis is completed by a combination of BTSC staff and community members. The rankings and grades are my own and will be updated throughout the process, while the stats and measurables are compiled by site moderator SNW. The analysis is a collaborative effort, which includes myself, Ryland B., Jeremy Betz, Noah_E., Necksnation, John O’Malley, Adam Curry, and Steve Martucci.

UPDATE: We have a new big board site coming, created by BTSC member DaveInBalt. We will show you how to use it to your advantage on draft weekend in the coming days.

As it pertains to the grading scale, first-round grades will include top-five, top-ten, mid first, and late first grades. Rounds 2-4 will have early, mid, and late grades, while grades fifth round or worse will have a generic round grade. Prospects with a Round 7 grade will not be differentiated from those with an undrafted grade.

Just like last year, each big board article will be a complemented by a separate article discussing whether or not the Steelers should draft said position in the 2023 NFL Draft. Ryland will be heading up that portion of the draft coverage once again this year.

Our next position on the board is one of the Steelers’ biggest needs: cornerback. The Steelers brought in veteran Patrick Peterson this offseason, but outside of Peterson and Levi Wallace, the cupboard is bare at corner. The Steelers will definitely address this position early, and it may even happen with their first pick.

If you have any thoughts on this cornerback class, be sure to share it in the comment section below. Let’s dive in!

1. Joey Porter, Jr. | Penn State | 6’2”, 195 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 10, T 27, TFL 0, S 0, Int 0, PD 11.
Wilbar’s Grade: Top 15

Bradley Locker: Porter’s length and physicality make it almost impossible to win one-on-one against him; there’s no doubt he can be trusted when left isolated, even against backside receivers. Porter works in strong press and jabs throughout routes, mixing in both hands and placing them well on shoulder pads. On top of that, his instincts and anticipation are outstanding, enabling him to jump routes and understand where he should be positioned in zone. Even when he gives up separation, Porter’s arms are so long that he can tip passes effortlessly. Porter is certainly strong and big enough to even go head-to-head with tight ends in the slot, something which is rare for cornerbacks or even safeties. In terms of tackling, he’s good in the open field and is able to wrestle through blocks to make a stop. One of the areas of weakness for Porter is surrendering space, particularly on short, quick-hitting routes; he probably needs to clean up his turns and movement skills on breaks. Further, he should be conscious of not being overly physical, because subtle grabs or contact could be flagged at the next level. Porter’s solid Combine workout (despite not doing drills) and combination of ridiculous frame/wingspan make him a prototypical press corner who can lock down an entire side of the field.

2. Christian Gonzalez | Oregon | 6’2”, 200 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 12, T 50, TFL 1, S 0, Int 4, PD 0.
Wilbar’s Grade: Top 15

Ryland B.: Fluidity is one of the most important traits for a corner to have, and Gonzalez has that in spades. He’s a ridiculously smooth athlete with elite mirroring ability and solid ball skills to boot. He was my favorite round one option for Pittsburgh this draft until his stock went through the roof. And it’s easy to see why. Gonzalez has good size for the position and great athleticism and quickness. His hip switch is one of the best in this class, and he’s as aware and comfortable in zone coverage as he is sticky in man. I think it’s fair to say Gonzalez is the best cover corner in this class. This is a glowing review, I’ll admit, but Gonzalez still isn’t a perfect prospect. He’s a bit on the leaner side and it’d be nice to see some more physicality and aggressiveness in his coverage and run support. Gonzalez’s interception production hasn’t exactly been stellar for much of his college career, either. But these are small nitpicks; if Gonzalez is somehow available at pick 17, he’d be an instant star CB1 in Pittsburgh’s secondary.

3. Devon Witherspoon | Illinois | 6’0”, 170 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 12, T 41, TFL 2.5, S 0, Int 3, PD 14.
Wilbar’s Grade: Mid 1st

Andrew Wilbar: Do not let my late-first round grade on Witherspoon make you think I do not like Witherspoon as a prospect. I simply do not feel as if he is on the level of Joey Porter, Jr. and Christian Gonzalez. A nagging hamstring injury prevented him from participating at both the combine and the Illinois pro day, which left several questions unanswered. As it pertains to last season, Witherspoon was a baller, displaying excellent instincts, fluidity, and feistiness. The big concern I have is that he pays for his aggression downfield, grabbing hold of receivers way too often. He will get flagged for it much more in the NFL than he did in college if the issue is not resolved. While many consider the combine and pro day to be overrated events for a draft prospect, the 40 time is incredibly important for a cornerback, and one of the serious concerns about Witherspoon’s game was his speed. However, he answered that question at his individual pro day, running a 4.42. He is an experienced corner in man coverage, but with his lack of size, his best fit may be in a zone-heavy scheme, where he can thrive off his instincts and open-field tackling ability.

4. Deonte Banks | Maryland | 6’1”, 200 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 12, T 38, TFL .5, S .5, Int 1, PD 8.
Wilbar’s Grade: Early 2nd

Bradley Locker: Banks has been a ridiculous riser since the end of the 2022 season, and for good reason. His tape consistently reflects terrific skills in press with patient feet, all-world speed, a smooth transition from backpedal to half-turn and physicality. Beyond that, his ball skills are great, working through the catch point and keeping up with receivers even as plays are extended. Banks occasionally had trouble on out-breaking routes, looking somewhat stiff, and also struggled a bit on routes coming back to the ball. While he is already 23 and considerably older than most other top CB prospects, his unreal Combine and development should make him a first-round pick with star corner potential — don’t discount the Steelers at Pick 17, either.

5. Emmanuel Forbes | Mississippi State | 6’0”,180 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 12, T 46, TFL 1, S 1, Int 6, PD 10.
Wilbar’s Grade: Early 2nd

John O.: Forbes is a high level cover CB with elite speed, range, and instincts. He had 6 pick sixes in his career plus numerous pass break ups, while setting an FBS record for most INTs (six in 2022 alone). Forbes uses his quickness and instincts to break on balls and defend at a high level. He mirrors WRs well, plays sticky man coverage, and has some of the best CB tape in the draft. The issue for Forbes is a variation of a “Deion Sanders” problem. He’s 166 pounds on a taller frame. That’s highly breakable in the AFC North. His run defense will always be in question as will his ability to blend into a full defense via handling physical WRs or TEs. For Forbes, he tries to be physical and tackle; he just doesn’t really have the body for it. If a team runs its defense via splitting a CB out on an island and not involving him much in the run game, Forbes is for them. Forbes can also play zone in pass defense and break on the ball. A negative is penalties — he had several for grabbing. The flip side for Forbes is if a team wants him to be an old school run defender plus multi-skilled CB in the passing game, that may never happen. It’s unclear if he can put weight on, plus how he’d look. Overall, Forbes is a potential first rounder playing a Deion Sanders or creative zone pass defense role. He’s a lesser prospect in a different system.

6. D.J. Turner | Michigan | 6’0”, 181 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 14, T 36, TFL 1, S 0, Int 1, PD 10.
Wilbar’s Grade: Early 2nd

Andrew Wilbar: Turner has been a pillar of production for the Michigan defense the past two seasons, consistently blanketing opponents’ number one receiver. Despite a rather small frame for a boundary corner, Turner plays bigger than his size and is unafraid to get physical with receivers at the line. He also makes up for any lack of size with incredible speed, and that speed was further exposed when he ran a blazing 4.26 40 at the combine. I also appreciate how Turner consistently gets good position against receivers in man coverage. His hips are fluid, and his aggressive hands make receivers work for positioning right off the line of scrimmage. The Mike Macdonald effect on the Michigan defense gave Turner experience in both man and zone, which made him much more schematically versatile. It was a little rough at the beginning, but once he learned the concepts of zone, it did not take long for him to begin producing again. For a smaller corner, he was a solid tackler at Michigan, but adding a few pounds to his frame may be needed to make those tackles in the NFL. Ultimately, I see Turner as a boundary corner who may begin his career in a nickel role. The upside is off the charts.

7. Cam Smith | South Carolina | 6’1”, 187 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 11, T 27, TFL 1, S 0, Int 1, PD 5.
Wilbar’s Grade: Early 2nd

Noah_E: This cornerback class doesn’t have anyone that truly stands out like Sauce Gardner or Patrick Surtain, but it’s a very deep class and Cam Smith should be mentioned with the top guys. He’s an elite-level athlete with the size to compete at the NFL level. He breaks on the ball as quickly as anyone I’ve ever seen and has proven he can create takeaways, with 6 interceptions over the last three years. Smith is also an outstanding tackler that knows how to wrap up and stop guys short. His ability to anticipate throws and his instincts will help him transition into the NFL. He lacks fluidity when flipping his hips and often gets beat by deep threats. Smith has got a big penalty problem, with 10 in 2022 alone. While he certainly possesses the skill set of a shutdown corner, his best chance to be an impactful player is in a zone scheme where he can utilize his athleticism, instincts, and his ability to read the quarterback. A switch to Safety could be very beneficial.

8. Clark Phillips III | Utah | 5’10”, 191 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 12, T 24, TFL 2, S 1, Int 6, PD 6.
Wilbar’s Grade: Mid 2nd

John O: Phillips was the Pac 12 defensive player of the year as a CB. This is a big honor as he’s a small, quick CB that mirrors WRs well, but should get outplayed by taller WRs. Phillips found a way in college via tenacity, gumption, and decent technique to play outside CB for Utah and play quite well. In the NFL, he’ll again need to make up for his subpar size and find a way to make plays. He likely has the legs and feet to help him do so as he bends and turns his hips better than most, plus he follows and plays the ball well. With his smaller size, some will project him as a slot CB, but he may be able to play outside. Again, he has better technique than many, and he seems to have the heart to match. His ability to defend the run and not get pushed around as an outside CB is in question. He will bring determination but will his body and technique hold up? Overall, Phillips will play in the NFL – likely for many years. The question is in what role.

9. Darius Rush | South Carolina | 6’2”, 195 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 10, T 38, TFL 2, S 0, Int 2, PD 7.
Wilbar’s Grade: Late 2nd

Noah_E: After a great showing at the senior bowl and an even better combine, Darius Rush has been one of the biggest risers in the draft over the last few weeks. He was a receiver when he came to South Carolina and only switched to the defensive side of the ball during fall camp before his Redshirt Freshman season. His background as a receiver has benefited him greatly as he has incredible ball skills and seems to know where the ball is going before the receiver does. He has NFL-caliber length and athletic ability. Rush does a good job mirroring his man and is sticky in man coverage. He does need to be smoother in his transition and he doesn’t have the foot speed to keep up with twitchier guys. Rush won’t be talked about with the premier guys in this class, but he’s going to make a team very happy.

10. Riley Moss | Iowa | 6’1”, 194 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 13, T 47, TFL 1, S 0, Int 1, PD 11.
Wilbar’s Grade: Early 3rd

John O: Moss is a 23 year old CB that has played a lot of football and has natural instincts. His ball production is top notch, including multiple pick sixes, INTs off tips, and anticipation break-ups. Moss defends the run well, although he will miss tackles occasionally. He isn’t the biggest CB nor the fastest, but he has enough size and speed to play. His instincts are what set him apart. He can play man or zone, he follows the football, and he anticipates. He was the number one CB for Iowa for multiple years and teams tended to throw away from him. But Moss still made impact plays. If you want a CB who can step on the field early, knows his assignments and makes plays, this is the guy. He played as a freshman at Iowa and has improved every year. The negatives are he gets hurt occasionally and he doesn’t possess a true burst to play sticky man coverage, especially against really twitchy athletes. Intriguing guy though and could be a nice value pick for the Steelers.

11. Kelee Ringo | Georgia | 6’2”, 205 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 15, T 42, TFL 2, S 0, Int 2, PD 7.
Wilbar’s Grade: Mid 3rd

Bradley Locker: Following a game-sealing interception in the 2022 National Championship, scouts were understandably buzzing over Ringo. However, the redshirt sophomore had a disappointing 2022. While he showed off his great speed by running a 4.36 in the 40-yard dash, Ringo’s ability in man coverage was highly questionable. Ringo was often stacked off the line and did little to disrupt receivers, losing ground by not following wideouts throughout routes. The Bulldog corner had particular trouble in terms of penalties, accruing nine last season. Ringo’s athleticism, national title pedigree and tackling skill will definitely intrigue lots of franchises, but he best projects as a zone corner at the next level, which hinders his ceiling.

12. Julius Brents | Kansas State | 6’4”, 204 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 14, T 45, TFL 3.5, S 0, Int 4, PD 4.
Wilbar’s Grade: Mid 3rd

John O: Brents lit up the combine by displaying a freaky level of athleticism. He possesses size like Richard Sherman but he’s much more athletic. In actual football games, however, the whole is different from the sum of the parts. Despite off the charts traits, Brents needs strong coaching and better technique. He hopefully can improve his instincts as he doesn’t track the ball like other CBs and tends to be clunky at times in coverage. Given his size, Brents can defend the run, and he was used to set the edge and sometimes played close to the line of scrimmage. When in coverage, he played off-technique more, didn’t use his hands well, and was prone to lapses or penalties. His measurables will get him drafted high, but developing the intangibles will be the difference between him becoming a star or less. He’s more of a boom or bust guy than many. The boom would be soaring, but there is definite potential downside.

13. Tyrique Stevenson | Miami | 6’0”, 214 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 11, T 25, TFL 1.5, S 0, Int 2, PD 7.
Wilbar’s Grade: Mid 3rd

Skyfire322: A transfer from Georgia, Stevenson was a pillar in Miami’s secondary. During his tenure in Miami, he was credited with 68 tackles (4 for loss), three INT’s and 11 PD. Thanks to his size, length, and speed, he can cover larger receivers and is adept in press coverage. He’s also a very physical corner with an uncanny ability to force receivers off their routes. He also adds special team value, as he returned punts from time to time (four times in 2022). While he plays aggressively, his tackling is inconsistent at times. He’s not very twitchy and can also get a little handsy, which in a pass-happy league, can result in a big play downfield. He’d be most suited in man coverage with his current skill set. Most of Stevenson’s issues are easily coachable, and if fixed, he can become a true disrupter in the NFL.

14. Darrell Luter, Jr. | South Alabama | 6’0”, 180 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 13, T 42, TFL 5, S 0, Int 1, PD 7.
Wilbar’s Grade: Mid 3rd

Andrew Wilbar: Luter is an intriguing mid-round option who provides inside/outside versatility and above-average athleticism. His change-of-direction skills near the line of scrimmage do not always look the quickest, as he can get beat on lateral double moves from time to time. However, Luter possesses ideal recovery speed and solid foot quickness, correlating perfectly with his loose hips and top-notch concentration. Many of Luter’s flaws are minor and correctable in the NFL, but ultimately, his future in the NFL will come down to schematic fit. He needs to be in a man-heavy scheme that allows him to play close to the line. Nonetheless, his performance at both the Senior Bowl and combine has put a sweet taste in my mouth, and I believe he possesses more upside than people give him credit for.

15. Kyu Blu Kelly | Stanford | 6’1”, 186 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 10, T 35, TFL 0, S 0, Int 0, PD 6.
Wilbar’s Grade: Late 3rd

Ryland B.: Kelly is a prospect I have mixed feelings about. On one hand, he’s a big, athletic, high-pedigree corner with a lot of promising upside. But the tape isn’t quite as exciting. Kelly is an explosive athlete and a great mover for his size, but he lacks the top-end speed and agility of a true CB1. His football smarts and effort are undeniable, but he struggles greatly in run support when it comes to securing tackles and shedding blocks. He has some potential as a boundary CB2, but I mainly see Kelly as an impact special teams player at the next level if he can improve his play strength.

16. Garrett Williams | Syracuse | 6’0”, 190 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 7, T 36, TFL 1.5, S 1, Int 2, PD 3.
Wilbar’s Grade: Early 4th

Skyfire322: Garrett Williams was a standout CB in Syracuse and was an All-ACC selection from 2020-2022. He’s no ballhawk, but he can read the QB’s eyes and make plays when needed. He has an alpha dog mentality with incredible explosion and even better closing speed, which make him an asset in the run game. Williams’ fluidity and footwork make him very formidable, as well. He also had zero penalties in the past two seasons, which is rare. However, Williams has slower straight-line speed and often had difficulty covering speedy receivers. He’s smaller in size, so it’s difficult for him to win contested catches. However, the most significant cause for concern and the one reason I believe he will fall on many draft boards is due to an ACL tear in 2022. With his footwork and speed already an issue, this injury could be a red flag for many teams.

17. Jakorian Bennett | Maryland | 5’11”, 200 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 12, T 39, TFL 1.5, S 0, Int 2, PD 11.
Wilbar’s Grade: Early 4th

Jeremy: Bennett is an ultra-athletic, physical corner with good size. Exhibits speed and range in bump-and-run style coverage or zone schemes. Plenty of makeup speed to excel in deep coverage where he can run with any receiver and make plays on the ball. Will get caught looking in the backfield and lose receivers in zone. Has the size and desire to handle run support duties. Overall, a player on the rise with plenty of good tape that will intrigue teams.

18. Cory Trice, Jr. | Purdue | 6’3”, 203 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 13, T 34, TFL 2, S 0, Int 2, PD 10.
Wilbar’s Grade: Early 4th

Andrew Wilbar: Trice is a big, long cornerback with the physicality to match. Trice does a nice job of rerouting receivers off the line, displaying active hands when playing near the line in press coverage. He is also a well-rounded athlete who provides good long speed and impressive lateral fluidity. I spoke with one of Purdue’s coaches at the NFL Scouting Combine while Trice was doing his on-field workout, and he felt as if Trice’s combine performance would be enough to make people take notice of his game. Most fans do not know about Trice yet, but do not be surprised if he is taken a little earlier than expected on draft weekend. His play down the stretch last season was some of the best amongst all Big Ten defensive backs.

19. Carrington Vallentine | Kentucky | 6’0”, 200 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 12, T 48, TFL 1.5, S 1, Int 1, PD 11.
Wilbar’s Grade: Mid 4th

Jeremy: Long, athletic corner with press coverage skills. Lacks some field awareness and positioning technique in zone coverage, but has the speed and length to stick with vertical receivers. Can get caught anticipating instead of reading/reacting. Displays good body control to affect receivers when the ball is in the air. Will need a lot of coaching and development at the next level, but has the requisite traits to turn into a productive player at the position.

20. Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson | TCU | 5’9”, 177 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 15, T 50, TFL 2, S 0, Int 3, PD 15.
Wilbar’s Grade: Mid 4th

John O: Hodges-Tomlinson is a smaller, feisty CB who plays like he has some Mike Hilton in him. Tomlinson hits guys, holds on some routes, shows toughness, and likely talks a lot to opponents. He was the lead CB on the TCU team that went to the National Championship game and, yes, he is related to LaDanian. Tomlinson played a lot of man to man coverage for TCU and showed flashes, but still needs to work further on his technique; he also has only average speed and can be exploited due to his below average height. Generally, you are looking at a small, feisty slot guy who thinks he can also play outside but will probably struggle there. He may have only limited zone experience too. That said, he’s a player and can likely help many teams in the slot or via dime packages. He probably has heard all about the NFL from family and understands the mission. He provides good value in rounds 4-5, but he doesn’t justify a much higher selection.

21. Mekhi Blackmon | USC | 6’0”, 170 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 14, T 66, TFL 2, S 0, Int 3, PD 12.
Wilbar’s Grade: Mid 4th

Ryland B.: Blackmon is a really intriguing prospect. He’s a lanky corner with impressive mobility, although his mirroring can be a little inconsistent on tape. He has flashes of great athleticism but sometimes he can be a little grabby and slow to react. The potential is definitely there, though. Blackmon’s greatest flaw is his lack of physicality, due not to his playing style but simply a lack of mass. He’s an instinctual, aggressive player but he can struggle with bigger receivers and in run support as he’s only 170 lbs. This will definitely limit the roles Blackmon can play at the next level, especially when it comes to playing in the slot. As a pure cover corner, Blackmon’s ceiling is much higher thanks to his agility, ball skills, and football IQ. In the right scheme fit he can definitely be a contributor to an NFL defense.

22. Eli Ricks | Alabama | 6’2”, 196 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 9, T 13, TFL 1, S 0, Int 0, PD 4.
Wilbar’s Grade: Mid 4th

Necksnation: Once considered a potential early round pick, Eli Ricks ultimately lacks the experience and production to be considered a strong pick in the first two days of the draft. Ricks doesn’t have great long speed, running a 4.50s 40 yard dash, and while this isn’t necessarily a bad number, it’s a deficiency that shows itself in his tape. He may not have the athletic profile to compete with top receivers at the next level, and this concern isn’t assuaged by his lack of experience. A transfer from LSU to Alabama, Ricks’ college career only spanned 23 games, which could make teams hesitant to pull the trigger. Ricks still possesses solid upside, and is worth an early day three pick, but I can’t see him going much higher.

23. Steven Gilmore | Marshall | 6’2”, 169 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 13, T 41, TFL .5, S 0, Int 3, PD 10.
Wilbar’s Grade: Late 4th

Andrew Wilbar: The brother of NFL star Stephon Gilmore, Steven is an undersized cornerback prospect (5’9”, 174 lbs) with the speed, ball skills, and bloodlines worthy of enticing *any* NFL franchise. Likely destined for the slot in the NFL, Gilmore does not provide ideal arm length and strength for the outside. Despite that, Gilmore displays a feistiness that I love. His hips are fluid and quick when changing direction, and his hand usage is impressive downfield, having an aggressive mindset and gameplan but not being overaggressive and called for penalties. Having said that, he is never going to be an extremely physical player at his size. Overall, I see Gilmore as an early Day 3 prospect with starting potential in a nickel role.

24. Mekhi Garner | LSU | 6’2”, 212 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 13, T 43, TFL 1.5, S 0, Int 0, PD 8.
Wilbar’s Grade: Late 4th

Necksnation: Mekhi Garner possesses an excellent frame for an NFL cornerback, and he uses his size well, but he has some work to do when it comes to technique. At 23 years old, Garner is on the older side, and his athletic upside seems somewhat limited. Garner ran a disappointing 4.55s 40 yard dash, and his tape reflects this as well. His vertical speed, or lack thereof, could be an issue in the NFL. He also had inconsistent production in college, and he didn’t register any interceptions across the final two years of his college career. If Garner can work on his technique and ball skills, he could become a good depth corner, and I look at him as a mid day three pick.

25. Rejzohn Wright | Oregon State | 6’2”, 200 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 12, T 24, TFL 0.5, S 0, Int 2, PD 9.
Wilbar’s Grade: Early 5th

Ryland B.: The brother of Cowboys’ corner Nahshon Wright, Rejzohn was one of the biggest standouts in an Oregon State defense that performed well over expectations in 2022. He’s a big corner with a physical style of play, excelling in press coverage especially. He has the ideal length and athleticism to be a starting boundary corner at the next level. He’s very fluid for his size, but he does lack elite long speed, and with his lanky build he can occasionally struggle with twitchy, explosive movement. Still, he more than makes up for it with a high-energy playing style and top-notch technique and awareness. I think Wright could be a very solid sleeper pick in the middle rounds.

26. Ameer Speed | Michigan State | 6’3”, 211 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 12, T 62, TFL 1, S 0, Int 0, PD 5.
Wilbar’s Grade: Late 4th

Andrew Wilbar: Thank goodness a guy with the name “Speed” is fast! Ameer Speed is an insanely athletic corner prospect who could potentially make the move to safety in the NFL, thanks to outstanding size and ability to get physical coming downhill. The big concern with his game heading to the pros is recognition of routes. He is not the most instinctually sound, and when his instincts are off, he is prone to getting burned deep down the field. This also leads to grabbing a hold of receivers down the field, which leads to penalties. Do not expect a bunch of turnovers with this guy, but I cannot get over the upside this guy brings. If given time to develop, the ceiling is extremely high.

27. Anthony Kendall | Baldwin-Wallace | 5’10”, 180 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 10, T 56, TFL 4, S 1, Int 3, PD 1.
Wilbar’s Grade: Early 5th

Andrew Wilbar: This dude loves lowering the BOOM on opponents! One of the most recurring themes on Kendall’s tape is simply lighting up opposing receivers, and he does it unapologetically. He is also one of the better open-field tacklers in this class, although the lack of competition may have made him look better than he truly is. Nonetheless, he put on a show at his pro day, running a 4.44 in the 40, putting up 20 reps on the bench, jumping 39.5” in the vertical, leaping 133” in the broad jump, and recording a 7.01 in the 3-cone drill. If he was a little thicker, I would recommend moving him to safety, as his play style reminds me a little of Antoine Winfield, Jr. coming out of college. There are only six Division III players in the NFL, but Kendall could easily become number seven.

28. Christian Braswell | Rutgers | 5’10”, 178 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 12, T 36, TFL 1, S 0, Int 3, PD 11.
Wilbar’s Grade: Early 5th

Noah_E: Braswell is an explosive athlete with the anticipation and instincts to disrupt passes. He displays good ball skills and the ability to stick with his man in coverage. He’s a tad undersized, but he makes up for it with his athleticism. Braswell also has fluid hips, something that is lacking with some of the other guys in the class. His overall technique could use work, and he doesn’t have a great recovery. Plus, he lacks the physicality to be an effective tackler. His size is going to limit him in the NFL, but he has the twitch to keep up with smaller and quicker receivers.

29. Reese Taylor | Purdue | 5’11”, 185 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 13, T 34, TFL 1, S 0, Int 1, PD 4.
Wilbar’s Grade: Early 5th

Noah_E: Like a lot of the other corners in this draft, Reese Taylor is undersized but scrappy. Throughout his career, he has displayed good short-area quickness and great run support skills. His hips are fluid and he can transition without losing any speed. He’s also been an effective blitzer, quickly getting into the backfield and redirecting when he recognizes a run play. Taylor is never going to be an outside corner he just hasn’t shown he can stick with his man, and he got caught peeking in the backfield too often. It’s hard to imagine he becomes any kind of star, but he could definitely be a solid nickel corner.

30. Tiawan Mullen | Indiana | 5’10”, 180 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 12, T 58, TFL 1, S 0, Int 2, PD 8.
Wilbar’s Grade: Early 5th

Andrew Wilbar: The brother of NFL corner Trayvon Mullen and cousin of quarterback Lamar Jackson, Mullen certainly has the bloodlines that scream “NFL-caliber player.” The issue is his lack of size. At 5’8”, 181 pounds, Mullen will be limited to the slot in the NFL, but for a small dude, he is not afraid to get in the center of the action and get physical. His pro day helped him regain his footing as a draft prospect, recording a 4.42 in the 40, 19 reps on the bench, and a 7.00 in the 3-cone drill. His biggest flaw is that his instincts lead him awry at times, making him susceptible to fakes as well as stop-and-go routes. Nonetheless, he is an intriguing late-round option with starting nickel upside.

31. Myles Brooks | Louisiana Tech | 6’2”, 198 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 12, T 29, TFL 3, S 0, Int 3, PD 8.
Wilbar’s Grade: Mid 5th

Noah_E: Brooks may not be a very highly touted prospect, but he certainly has some likable traits. He has high-level ball skills, racking up 9 interceptions and 25 pass breakups over the last three years. He also does a really good job mirroring in man coverage and has the foot quickness to stick in press coverage. His ability to locate the football and break on it is phenomenal. Brooks does play too upright and sometimes will get beat by receivers with good top-end speed. He’s also too eager to take the football away at times and attempts to jump the route when he shouldn’t. He’s a raw prospect, but his twitchiness and man coverage skills will allow him to find a slot corner role early in his career.

32. Starling Thomas V | UAB | 6’0”, 195 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 13, T 30, TFL 1, S 0, Int 0, PD 15.
Wilbar’s Grade: Mid 5th

Andrew Wilbar: Thomas may not have put up big interception numbers in 2022, but he sure got his hands on a lot of balls in 2023, deflecting 15 passes and blanketing opponents’ number one receiving options. At 5’10”, 190 pounds, Thomas could play on the outside if need be, but he projects best as a slot corner in a balanced defensive scheme. Thomas can play in both man and zone, as his read-and-react quickness and his open-field tackling prowess allow him to fit just about any scheme. Unfortunately, he is not a finished product. Despite all the speed and potential Thomas brings to the table, his game is incredibly unrefined, especially as it pertains to footwork and hip fluidity. Give him a year on the practice squad or as an exclusive special teamer, and the reward may be felt for the next decade.

33. Azizi Hearn | UCLA | 6’1”, 202 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 13, T 40, TFL 0, S 0, Int 0, PD 7.
Wilbar’s Grade: Mid 5th

Ryland B.: Hearn is a bigger corner who played a decent amount in the slot at UCLA. He lacks the ideal agility for such a role, but he has the size to be a physical presence in coverage, especially against smaller receivers. He’s a good athlete with solid long speed, and a really good hip switch for a corner his size – he just doesn’t have CB1 athletic traits or ball skills, especially against NFL receivers. The biggest concern on his draft profile is age, however. Hearn has played 6 seasons at the collegiate level. Hearn won’t be a high draft pick, but his physicality and athleticism will make him an interesting pickup in the later rounds. I could see him as a quality special teamer at the next level.

34. Jarrick Bernard-Converse | LSU | ’6”1, 205 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 13, T 44, TFL 5, S 0, Int 2, PD 3.
Wilbar’s Grade: Mid 5th

Adam C: Bernard-Converse started as a true freshman for Oklahoma State, and after 4 years starting there, transferred to LSU and has a year starting in the SEC under his belt. This makes him one of the most experienced players in this year’s draft. He is a great athlete, with a 4.32 40 yd dash at his pro day, and a 42 inch vertical jump. He plays with good awareness and quick feet. Bernard-Converse tracks the ball well and has good ball skills, with solid hands for interceptions. Whilst having good straight line speed, he can struggle changing direction, doesn’t explode when breaking onto the ball, and is too handsy downfield for the NFL.

35. Isaiah Bolden | Jackson State | 6’2”, 205 lbs

2022 Stats: GP , T 44, TFL 2.5, S 0, Int 0, PD 9.
Wilbar’s Grade: Mid 5th

Andrew Wilbar: A Florida State transfer, Bolden is a safety-sized corner prospect with outstanding athleticism. Recording a blazing 4.31 40 at over 200 pounds, Bolden surely caught the attention of scouts in attendance at his pro day. As it pertains to his play on the field, teams will love his versatility. Ironically, he played primarily out of the slot at Jackson State, but it is likely he either moves outside to boundary corner or up to safety. When all is said and done, I think safety may be the best fit for Bolden, as his 6’4” wingspan and phenomenal closing speed would allow him to play his natural brand of physical football much more freely.

36. Terell Smith | Minnesota | 6’1”, 215 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 13, T 38, TFL 4.5, S 2, Int 2, PD 5.
Wilbar’s Grade: Mid 5th

Adam C: Smith had a varied college career, so the tape on him is a bit all over the place. In general though, there is clear improvement across his 2 years starting for Minnesota, and he excelled in 2022 in man coverage, in both press and off man coverage. He has a great combination of size, speed and power which should translate well to the NFL. He is a reliable tackler and solid in run support. He has the athleticism and demonstrates footwork and technique of someone who can become a starter at thenext level, given some time to adjust and develop.

37. Cameron Brown | Ohio State | 6’0”, 190 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 11, T 14, TFL .5, S 0, Int 0, PD 5.
Wilbar’s Grade: Late 5th

Jeremy: Physical corner with good size. Reroutes receivers at the LOS and then attacks the ball in the air. Doesn’t possess much in the way of ball skills, but tends to play sticky and is a sure tackler after the catch. Play recognition needs improvement. Not a twitched up athlete, and doesn’t possess top flight speed. Will need to display exceptional understanding of coverage concept and technique to overcome athletic deficiencies at the next level.

38. Gemon Green | Michigan | 6’2”, 186 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 13, T 20, TFL 0, S 0, Int 0, PD 4.
Wilbar’s Grade: Late 5th

Andrew Wilbar: Green displayed flashes of excellence at Michigan, but those flashes would always be followed by phases of inconsistency. He has good size and sufficient speed, but his hips appeared to be a little tight in coverage, as there were times he would struggle to change direction quickly. When playing near the line, Green did a good job bumping defenders off their route with active hands; and in off coverage, his instincts allowed him to close on receivers quicker than the average corner. Where he is most liable is down the field in man coverage, where he struggles to go stride-for-stride with speedier receivers. Also, if he loses a step in coverage, he struggles to regain ground. At the end of the day, I think Green is, at worst, a key special teamer in the NFL, but in the best case scenario, he is a hybrid defensive back who can play meaningful snaps in big moments of games.

39. Jordan Jones | Rhode Island | 6’0”, 180 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 11, T 32, TFL .5, S 0, Int 3, PD 12.
Wilbar’s Grade: Late 5th

Andrew Wilbar: Jones is a versatile corner prospect who could intrigue teams in the later rounds due to great ball skills and proven production. A solid linear athlete, Jones recorded a 4.52 in the 40, 37.5” in the vertical, 131” in the broad, 4.4 flat in the shuttle, and 6.97 in the 3-cone. I love Jones’ ability to change direction on a dime, as his footwork and awareness are both strong suits in his game. The downside is that he is undisciplined in coverage, and he is not great in any one type of coverage. There is some talent to work with here, but don’t expect anything Year 1.

40. Kaleb Hayes | BYU | 5’11”, 194 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 12, T 41, TFL 0, S 0, Int 0, PD 7.
Wilbar’s Grade: Late 5th

Andrew Wilbar: If you want an experienced, productive starter with outstanding athleticism, Hayes is your guy. There are a lot of things in his game that are unrefined, but there is nothing more worth it in the later rounds than to take a flier on a guy with speed, physicality and explosiveness. Hayes put on a show at his pro day, running a 4.33 in the 40, leaping 40” in the vertical and 128” in the broad, running a 4.27 in the short shuttle, and recording a 6.88 in the 3-cone drill. Hayes is quick out of his stance and pretty fluid in space, but his lapses in coverage are often due to poor instincts. Route recognition must improve for him as he heads to the next level.

41. D’Shawn Jamison | Texas | 5’10”, 190 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 12, T 25, TFL 2, S 1, Int 2, PD 7.
Wilbar’s Grade: Late 5th

Adam C: Jamison primarily played deep zone coverage in his final year at Texas, who ran the most quarters coverage (54%) of any team in the Big 12. Primarily playing as a field side, outside cornerback in his final year at Texas, he played with a good eye for the ball, aggressively making plays on underneath routes and consistently contesting throws. This is partially due to Texas coverage scheme as mentioned, either in cover 4 or 3, consistently having safety help over the top, allowing him to be disruptive underneath. He excelled in Texas off zone scheme, as it matches his explosive athleticism out of breaks. What he lacks is size for the NFL, at 5’10’’, 190 pounds he’ll have to transition to a nickel corner in the NFL, having played outside his entire 5 years at Texas. However, this move would expose his inconsistency in the run game and average press technique. Additionally, teams will like his contributions on special teams, where he was a dynamic returner for Texas. Jamison returned 1 punt, 1 blocked FG and 2 kicks for touchdowns in his college career.

42. Corey Mayfield, Jr. | UTSA | 5’11”, 190 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 14, T 63, TFL 6, S 3, Int 3, PD 13.
Wilbar’s Grade: Late 5th

Andrew Wilbar: Put as much weight as you want on pro day numbers, but for a guy most people considered unathletic, Mayfield put up solid numbers across the board, recording a 4.49 in the 40, a 36.5” vertical, a 119” broad jump, and 7.06 in the 3-cone drill. The downside with Mayfield’s game is tightness. He is not fluid in coverage, and his hips do not rotate cleanly. On the flip side, he displays excellent hand usage and gets good position against bigger receivers despite his lack of elite size. With his aggressive mindset and tenacity, I will not be surprised if he makes an NFL roster Year 1.

Best of the rest

43. Devodric Bynum | UAB | 5’11”, 195 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 13, T 35, TFL 5.5, S 1, Int 0, PD 11.
Wilbar’s Grade: Late 5th

44. Jaylin Williams | Indiana | 6’0”, 182 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 10, T 40, TFL 2.5, S 0, Int 0, PD 7.
Wilbar’s Grade: 6th

45. Eric Scott, Jr. | Southern Miss | 6’2”, 192 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 13, T 27, TFL 2, S 0, Int 2, PD 5.
Wilbar’s Grade: 6th

46. Kei’Trel Clark | Louisville | 5’10”, 165 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 12, T 51, TFL 4, S 1, Int 1, PD 4.
Wilbar’s Grade: 6th

47. Keenan Reid | Rutgers | 5’10”, 180 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 3, T 1, TFL 0, S 0, Int 0, PD 0.
Wilbar’s Grade: 6th

48. Ethan Bonner | Stanford | 6’1”, 190 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 10, T 28, TFL 3, S 0, Int 0, PD 5.
Wilbar’s Grade: 6th

49. Sevyn Banks | LSU | 6’1”, 200 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 2, T 5, TFL .5, S 0, Int 0, PD 0.
Wilbar’s Grade: 6th

50. Trey Hawkins | Old Dominion | 6’3”, 195 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 12, T 57, TFL 1, S 0, Int 2, PD 6.
Wilbar’s Grade: 6th

51. Caleb Biggers | Boise State | 5’11”, 196 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 14, T 39, TFL 5, S 1, Int 1, PD 4.
Wilbar’s Grade: 6th

52. Steven Jones, Jr. | Appalachian State | 5’10”, 180 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 12, T 45, TFL 4.5, S 1, Int 0, PD 18.
Wilbar’s Grade: 6th

53. Arquon Bush | Cincinnati | 6’0”, 185 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 13, T 34, TFL 0, S 0, Int 2, PD 5.
Wilbar’s Grade: 6th

54. Keidron Smith | Kentucky | 6’2”, 195 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 13, T 46, TFL .5, S 0, Int 2, PD 5.
Wilbar’s Grade: 6th

55. Anthony Johnson | Virginia | ’”, lbs

2022 Stats: GP , T , TFL , S , Int , PD .
Wilbar’s Grade: 7th/UDFA

56. Ta’Riq Bracy | Notre Dame | 5’10”, 180 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 11, T 39, TFL 6, S 1, Int 1, PD 1.
Wilbar’s Grade: 7th/UDFA

57. D’Angelo Mandell | BYU | 6’1”, 192 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 9, T 18, TFL .5, S 0, Int 0, PD 1.
Wilbar’s Grade: 7th/UDFA

58. Datrone Young | Duke | 5’9”, 180 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 12, T 45, TFL 1, S 0, Int 1, PD 7.
Wilbar’s Grade: 7th/UDFA

59. Ivey | Miami | 6’1”, 195 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 12, T 38, TFL 0, S 0, Int 2, PD 5.
Wilbar’s Grade: 7th/UDFA

60. Colby Richardson | LSU | 6’1”, 190 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 12, T 12, TFL 0, S 0, Int 0, PD 0.
Wilbar’s Grade: 7th/UDFA

61. Timarcus Davis | Arizona State | 6’0”, 180 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 11, T 24, TFL 0, S 0, Int 0, PD 2.
Wilbar’s Grade: 7th/UDFA

62. Destin Talbert | North Dakota State | 6’0”, 187 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 15, T 59, TFL 1, S 0, Int 1, PD 6.
Wilbar’s Grade: 7th/UDFA

63. John Smith | Holy Cross | 6’0”, 191 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 11, T 3, TFL 3, S 0, Int 1, PD 12.
Wilbar’s Grade: 7th/UDFA

64. Cole Coleman | Elon | 5’10”, 193 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 7, T 35, TFL 0, S 0, Int 1, PD 2.
Wilbar’s Grade: 7th/UDFA

65. Armand Childs | Siena Heights | 5’11”, 185 lbs

2022 Stats: GP 9, T 26, TFL 3, S 0, Int 3, PD 7.
Wilbar’s Grade: 7th/UDFA

What are your thoughts on these cornerback prospects? Do any of them make sense for the Steelers? Let us know your thoughts on these prospects in the comment section below!