With the 2022 NFL Draft simply across the nook, I’ve been furiously trying over All-22 tape of most draft-eligible prospects. Currently I’ve been learning the highest cornerbacks within the class. Tampa Bay might simply use a high decide to handle the way forward for their cornerback room. Of the staff’s high three cornerbacks, solely Carlton Davis III is below contract past this season.
Nonetheless, the Bucs do have six cornerbacks below contract for 2022 (seven for those who embody Logan Ryan). From a short-term perspective, the Bucs might ignore the place within the draft and be high quality this 12 months. Lengthy-term although, that’s fairly the dicey proposition. And so the place turns into one which actually could be addressed.
However at what level within the draft? And with what participant? I’ll be supplying you with a rundown of my high 10 cornerbacks within the draft. A lot of the information I pulled for the stats and NFL Scouting Mix information for these gamers could be present in an unbelievable useful resource in Dane Brugler’s Draft Information for the Athletic.
How I Consider
Earlier than we get to the rankings themselves, I believe it’s essential for me to explain what traits I discover most beneficial as an evaluator. There will likely be gifted gamers that fee decrease on my board for various causes. And lots of of these gamers I’m certain will change into excellent gamers within the NFL in techniques that cater to their strengths. For me as an evaluator, there are two issues to notice once I arrange my board.
• How would they match within the Bucs system? I write for Pewter Report, an outlet that covers the Bucs. It is sensible that I’d cater my rankings to the staff I cowl. Which means gamers like Roger McCreary or Marcus Jones transfer down my board attributable to the truth that the Bucs haven’t coveted gamers with comparable body-types up to now.
• Upside over flooring. Generally, I are inclined to worth gamers who’ve increased ceilings than gamers who’ve increased flooring.
With all of that out of the way in which, listed below are my high 10 cornerbacks within the 2022 NFL Draft.
10. Coby Bryant, Cincinnati (6-1, 193, 4.54)
Athletically, Bryant profiles very equally to a present Bucs cornerback. Contemplate these mix/pro-day measurements between Bryant and Carlton Davis III:
Participant Peak Weight 40-yd 20-yd 10-yd VJ BJ SS 3C BP
Davis 6-2 203 4.53 2.64 1.59 34 10’4 4.31 7.30 16
Bryant 6-1 193 4.54 2.63 1.59 33 10’2 4.33 7.31 17
Now they aren’t an identical, as Davis’ wingspan is nearly six inches longer. Bryant doesn’t simply remind me of Davis in physique sort although. Two phrases got here to thoughts as I watched Bryant: size and physicality. Sound like anybody you recognize, Bucs followers? Bryant loves to make use of his arms to disrupt receivers of their routes, and he makes performs on the ball. Over his final two years, he logged 25 passes defensed and 7 interceptions. Whereas his wingspan is shorter than typical Bucs matches (and a part of the explanation he isn’t increased on this listing), he performs massive.
The considerations with Bryant’s recreation will middle on his lengthy velocity. He improved his 40-time at his professional day from 4.54 to 4.47. However he doesn’t play as quick because the quickest receivers. Additionally, he can flip his hips too early on the high of the route, permitting receivers to get open beneath. Bryant is presently projected to be a third-round decide within the 2022 NFL Draft.
9. Cam Taylor-Britt, Nebraska (5-11, 196, 4.38)
Taylor-Britt was a three-year starter for Nebraska the place he racked up 140 tackles, 9 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, 4 pressured fumbles, 27 passes defensed and 6 interceptions. Whereas his top is a bit beneath what the Bucs sometimes search for in corners, it’s his physicality that jumps off the tape.
Taylor-Britt isn’t afraid to get soiled within the run recreation. It’s apparent from his tackles-for-loss and compelled fumbles that he likes to ensure that offensive gamers know when he takes them down. That physicality additionally reveals up in press protection, as he makes use of his arms properly to re-route receivers. These qualities would make him an incredible match within the slot for the Bucs, the place he can help within the run recreation and match up properly with greater receivers, in addition to smaller, fast pass-catchers.
Shifting ahead, Taylor-Britt should work on his ball expertise. He solely had six interceptions for his profession, and solely three in his final two years. When the ball is within the air downfield, he could be late to get his head round. He additionally could be vulnerable to double strikes, not in contrast to Jamel Dean. Taylor-Britt is presently projected to be a late second- to early third-round decide within the 2022 NFL Draft.
8. Tariq Woolen, UTSA (6-4, 205, 4.26)
Woolen is the definition of projection. It is going to be attention-grabbing to see the place he will get drafted within the 2022 NFL Draft. Large, quick and agile he has each bodily function you’ll need out of a Bucs nook. He has an virtually good Relative Athletic Rating. What he doesn’t have is a number of tape in opposition to high competitors. And that may harm his draft inventory some.
Woolen has good use of his arms to make receivers uncomfortable. Unfastened hips permit him to cowl shorter, extra sudden routes, and he has the lengthy velocity to maintain up with any receiver within the league. His tape confirmed good instincts in man protection to permit him to remain in section and on receivers hip pockets. He’s keen to shadow a route ot deceive a quarterback into making a call to throw his manner earlier than hitting a second gear to get into the route and disrupt the move.
Questions round Woolen will middle on degree of competitors and lack of expertise (he solely began 22 video games in his school profession). He has additionally handled accidents every of his final two years. His hand combating will result in penalties as properly and he’s nonetheless studying tips on how to course of zone protection. Woolen is presently projected to be a third-round decide.
7. Zyon McCollum, Sam Houston State (6-2, 199, 4.33)
McCollum was beforehand featured in Pewter Report’s Mock Draft 3.0. Pretty much as good of a RAS as Woolen scored (and it was nice!), McCollum takes the prize for finest rating within the final 30 years. He scored an ideal 10.0 when taking a look at his dimension, velocity, agility, and explosion. His tape backs up this athleticism. He makes use of his dimension and velocity to overpower and overmatch most receivers. McCollum doesn’t panic when shedding route-leverage and might simply get well and get again in section. He is a great participant who understands route ideas which permits him to undercut routes and make performs on the ball. And make performs he does. McCollum registered 13 interceptions over his profession at Sam Houston State.
The largest knock I might discover on McCollum is his lack of hand utilization. It hasn’t held him again up to now in his profession, however he hasn’t confronted the very best competitors. He might want to learn to use his arms to disrupt and re-route receivers for him to take his recreation to the following degree. That ought to be a ability that may be coached, however how lengthy it takes him to develop that a part of his recreation will likely be key to how rapidly he can adapt to the NFL recreation. McCollum is an attention-grabbing eval and will go anyplace from the second to the fourth spherical within the 2022 NFL Draft.
6. Kyler Gordon, Washington (5-11, 194, 4.52)
Pretty much as good as Gordon was at Washington, he was a bit overshadowed by the participant who will likely be No. 5 on this listing. That’s to not say Gordon isn’t an excellent nook who will make an affect on an NFL staff sooner or later. Gordon performed properly matched up in each zone and man protection. He reveals fluid hips that permit him to sample match with good route runners. His closing velocity was evident when he needed to come down on receiver screens. He confirmed good route recognition to remain in section with receivers on the high of their stems.
Gordon’s two largest flaws focus on his lack of play-making (just one profession interception) and his inconsistency in type tackling. Often he’ll look to go together with a giant hit main together with his shoulder as a substitute of utilizing sound wrap-up strategies that may result in misses. Gordon ought to be off the board within the 2022 NFL draft someplace within the second spherical.
5. Trent McDuffie, Washington (5-11, 193, 4.44)
McDuffie checks only a few containers once you take a look at his body-profile in opposition to what the Bucs covet. He nonetheless ranks excessive on my listing as a result of generally a participant simply balls out to the purpose that you just throw your “preferrred profile” out the window and say I need to make room for him on my staff. McDuffie is a man I’d need on my staff. His top, arm-length and wingspan all present shorter than typical Bucs matches.
However once you put his tape on he simply pops. He performs seamlessly in each man and zone protection. He isn’t afraid to come back into the scrum in run-defense and he’s a sound tackler. That is evidenced by the three pressured fumbles in his profession and the 4 tackles for loss in 2021. He has an incredible processor permitting him to make performs on the ball rapidly. McDuffie has additionally confirmed to be an efficient blitzer. He seems to be scheme versatile and will have the ability to contribute Day 1.
With all of that stated his dimension will trigger some, myself included, pause. Can he match up in opposition to greater receivers on the skin on the NFL degree? That’s the one lingering query with him. McDuffie has often been mocked within the first spherical of the draft.
4. Kaiir Elam, Florida (6-1, 191, 4.39)
Elam reveals the prototypical construct for an outdoor nook within the NFL. This holds very true for the Bucs mildew. He has the peak, construct, velocity, and wingspan that almost all groups covet. His tape reveals a gifted participant who excels in man protection. He makes use of his size and velocity to dissuade quarterbacks from even contemplating throwing his manner. This accounts for some quite pedestrian field rating stats his last 12 months at Florida (29 tackles, six passes defensed, one interception). However make no mistake Elam is a beast in protection. He likes to play by receivers and getting his arms into the catch level.
The place Elam’s recreation struggles is with hip fluidity and type tackling. The latter subject could be corrected, however the former will likely be one thing he should play by on the subsequent degree. Elam is being mocked within the late first /early second rounds persistently.
3. Andrew Sales space, Jr., Clemson (6-0, 194, DNP)
Regardless of solely beginning one full season at Clemson, Sales space has put collectively some excellent tape. His calling playing cards are fluid hips and nice closing velocity. He combines these traits with a great sense of tips on how to function in house to remove passing choices from the quarterback. Sales space makes fast correct choices that permit him to disrupt performs on the catch level. He’s a robust tackler that makes use of sound approach to make performs within the open-field and help within the run recreation. In his last 12 months at Clemson he registered 39 tackles, three tackles for loss, eight passes defensed and three interceptions.
Sales space’s alternatives lie in his persistence to verify he isn’t beat on double strikes and struggles with consistency in press-man. Sales space has additionally registered a number of accidents over time together with one which saved him from collaborating within the NFL Mix in addition to his faculty’s professional day. Sales space is presently grading out as a late first-round draft decide.
2. Ahmad Garner, Cincinnati (6-3, 190, 4.41)
These final two comprise of the new debate within the 2022 NFL Draft relating to corners. Each have superb upside, however one has a extra sure flooring. As I said originally of this text, I desire upside and so Ahmad “Sauce” Garner is available in as CB2 for me on this draft class.
Now there’s a ton to love with Gardner. He stands slightly below 6-foot-3 with lengthy arms that mix for an virtually 80-inch wingspan. And he makes use of that size on the sector, whether or not or not it’s getting a great punch in press protection or stretching to disrupt a move on the catchpoint. Regardless of his lengthy body Garner has fluid hips that permit him to show and modify to route path change immediately. He combines this with simple velocity you could see on tape. Regardless of this he nonetheless raised eyebrows on the mix when he registered a 4.41 40-yard sprint. Garner can be adept as a blitzer, as evidenced by his three sacks in 2021.
His solely drawbacks are regardless of his tall body, he doesn’t have a ton of weight to go together with it. This leaves him at a drawback when enjoying in opposition to greater corners who prefer to get bodily with corners. His top may result in him enjoying somewhat too tall in his backpedal forcing him to make use of further effort to get into his breaks. He was additionally penalized greater than you need to see so he might want to clear up his type when the ball is within the air on the subsequent degree. Garner is seen as a prospect within the high half of the primary spherical.
1. Derek Stingley, Jr., LSU, (6-0, 190, 4.44)
And now we get to the highest spot. Stingley at his finest has no friends on this class of corners. He combines superb athleticism with an incredible really feel for route ideas, a fast processor, and ball expertise to current the potential for the right nook. Everybody talks about Stingley’s 2019 tape on the Nationwide Championship staff. I didn’t take a look at it for this analysis. I believe it’s value mentioning what he was in a position to try this season as a take a look at what his ceiling can and has been. Throughout that 12 months Stingley had 21 passes defensed and 6 interceptions whereas grading out with the very best PFF rating by any nook ever as a TRUE FRESHMAN.
What I did watch was Stingley this 12 months. And what I noticed was a bodily participant who landed punches with ease in press-man. He confirmed himself to be sensible making good choices to remain in section with receivers all through all the route. He has fluid hips and quick space burst that permit him to match in opposition to elite route-runners. A superb wingspan and affected person strategy gave him ample alternative to disrupt passes on the catchpoint.
Stingley continues to be studying tips on how to finest play in zone protection and he isn’t as keen in run-support as most would love. However the primary knock in opposition to him goes to be centered on his means to remain wholesome. He has missed time in every of his final two years attributable to accidents, together with a Lisfranc harm that shortened his 2021 marketing campaign. Any such foot harm will likely be of particular concern to groups as cornerbacks rely disproportionately on their toes to succeed. And so Stingley’s flooring is kind of low in comparison with the remainder of the High 6 on this listing. However I keep his ceiling nonetheless stays the very best out of any nook on this draft class and that’s the reason he’s No. 1.