2021 NFL Draft- Corners
Shaun Wade, SR, Ohio State
Going into the season, Wade was thought to be first or second rounder with the potential to be this class's top corner. It was thought that he could seamlessly transition between slot corner and outside corner. He had played slot his entire college career but moved outside after the departures of Jeff Okudah and Damon Arnette. The result was not what he wanted and he's fallen because of it. He could still have a good future as a slot corner in the NFL, just won't be getting drafted nearly as highly as once thought.
Ambry Thomas, SR, Michigan
Thomas has good but not great size for an NFL corner and had the production to back it up in his one year as a starter. Like many prospects, he'll have to answer questions about sitting out, but it shouldn't affect his stock. The biggest concern should be a lack of experience as a one-year starter. Excels in press coverage and plays with fluidity and awareness. His average speed may affect his production in the NFL, but he should be a round 3 or 4 prospect.
Shakur Brown, JR, Michigan State
Brown is quickly gaining traction as a slot corner. He played mostly on the outside at MSU and was the team's No.1 corner in 2020, but his size will move him to the nickel position. Shakur has good ball skills and won't get beat often. Watching the games, he was one of very few bright spots on the Spartan defense, often making difficult plays in traffic. He'll probably get drafted around the 5th round or so and can develop into a rotational DB.
Jaycee Horn, JR, South Carolina
The son of former NFL WR Joe Horn has been rising up boards. When I started looking at this class, I saw where most people had him rated and wondered why he was so low. Fast forward to the 2020 season, and Horn has proved those others wrong. In 2020l, he averaged 11.4 pass breakups per game and finished with 23 off them in his career to go with 101 tackles. Horn will be drafted in the first round; possibly in the top 10.
Patrick Surtain II, Jr, Alabama
If the name looks familiar, it should. Surtain's father was a good NFL corner for a long time. The son might be just as good and has the perfectly desired measurables for an NFL corner. Surtain had an illustrious college career, starting 38 consecutive games, earning All-American and SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors, among many other achievements. He's a possible top-10 pick and may be the first corner off the board.
Asante Samuel Jr, JR, Florida State
Another second-generation player at corner in this class. Samuel was clearly the best player in the Seminoles' secondary. Has a knack for interceptions and being in good position to contest passes. May not be a superstar in the NFL, especially with his smaller size, but he can be a productive player as a Day 2 pick.
Marco Wilson, JR, Florida
Wilson's brother Quincy was a Day 2 pick a couple years ago. Marco seems like a better prospect, although both have good measurables for the position. All the traits you could want in an NFL corner are there, but he still gets beat in coverage far too often. Some think it's an effort thing. Regardless, the team that picks him will have to fix it and make sure he's motivated to become a great player.
Israel Mukuamu, JR, South Carolina
Extremely long corner at 6'4", making him a rare prospect for the position. Has played both corner and safety and faced injuries in 2020. His size says safety at the next level, but he took most of his snaps in college as a corner opposite Jaycee Horn. Mukuamu has the ability to cover on the outside and against bigger slot receivers. He also led the Gamecocks in interceptions in 2019. Lots to like here and will be appealing mid-rounder to add to a secondary.
Keith Taylor, SR, Washington
Taylor is another long, rangy corner. That will be most of his appeal as he is not fast and does not have great instincts. He probably works best as a press corner although is not physical enough to do it at the next level yet. The team that picks him will be betting that their program can teach and develop him.
Benjamin St. Juste, R-JR, Minnesota
St. Juste is one of the bigger players at his position and displayed good athleticism and coverage abilities at the Senior Bowl; at one point staying with a much faster player on quick cut in the redzone that would have fooled most defenders. Needs to be taught to trust his instincts more but should get picked in the middle rounds as a developmental player. Some teams may also consider moving him to safety.
Elijah Molden, SR, Washington
Molden is a scheme flexible player. His size makes him an ideal slot corner, but his instincts and skillset could make him a good safety as well. I wouldn't expect him to light the world on fire as a rookie, but he has a good base for a developmental prospect. Could be picked in round three but probably an early Day 3 guy.
Thomas Graham, SR, Oregon
Graham played on the outside at Oregon, but he's also one of the smaller players who would fit best in the slot because of his size. Unlike some other slot players, Graham doesn't quite have the speed for most slot guys(?). He's at his best when he can read the ball and make the play in front of him. Has some work to do but a decent prospect to give a shot in the 5th round or so.
Deommodore Lenoir, SR, Oregon
All-PAC 12 player and mainstay in the Ducks' secondary. Another smaller player who may need to move to slot. Sticky in coverage and has the speed to play the position. Should thrive in a physical secondary and be at worst a rotational player. Brings many things to the secondary, just not length.
Ifeatu Melifonwu, R-JR, Syracuse
More big corners. The league has been trending toward bigger corners for a while, and this class has plenty of them. Melifonwu's older brother, Obi, was a 2nd round pick a few years ago because of his athleticism, so it's no surprise Ifeatu is getting similar praise. Always around the ball but doesn't always make the play. His traits are intriguing, especially in a press coverage scheme. Probably of the board on Day 2 but I can see him slipping.
Rodarius Williams, SR, Oklahoma State
NFL heritage runs in Williams' family as his brother is Cleveland CB Greedy Williams. The two brothers had very different draft experiences in terms of stock. Greedy was once considered the top corner in his class and fell to the second round because of durability and character concerns (?)). Rodarius had a breakout season in his final year at Oklahoma State and is now considered a rising mid-round prospect. I was very impressed with what he did in 2020, especially given the potent offenses in the Big 12. I have him as a 3rd round prospect.
Tyson Campbell, JR, Georgia
Campbell may hear his name in the first round. He moves well, is always around the ball, and makes the plays. He also led the Bulldogs in pass breakups. Needs to improve on instincts and ball skills and can sometimes be hesitant. Can excel if made comfortable in a scheme.
Eric Stokes, SR, Georgia
Stokes is the unheralded member of the Georgia secondary. He's big and physical with solid speed. Became better in coverage in 2020 and has improved ball skills. Will also come up and support the run. Stokes can be used many ways and can make an impact, yet evaluations and projections of him at the next level may very. Could be a steal in the middle rounds.
DJ Daniel, R-SO, Georgia
Daniel is a similar player to Stokes but lacks some of the physicality, speed, and ball skills. Daniel also may be a more scheme specific player as he struggles in some packages. He's not very stocky but has enough ability to be picked on Day 3.
Mark Webb, SR, Georgia
Web has an athletic and physical frame but rarely gets the interception (He only had 1 in his college career). He may be better suited for safety in the pros, especially with his hard-hitting ability. I think he tracks the ball well from a zone and could be a rotational player there.
Greg Newsome, JR, Northwestern
Newsome has skyrocketed to a potential first-round pick. He's a second team All-American and consistently placed among the best in the Big Ten in pass breakups. His measurables are exactly what NFL teams want in corners and he has played in various coverage schemes. He is fast enough to stay with most receivers and isn't afraid to be physical. Will need to develop like most corners but very highly though of as of now.
Kelvin Joseph, R-SO, Kentucky
All-SEC player but only played in 20 games with only nine starts. His frame and athleticism say early-round pick but the sample size is extremely small to evaluate. Day 2 Pick with a ton of traits with which to work. Could be a good player one day.
Caleb Farley, R-JR, Virginia Tech
Farley is a great player but has some things going against him for the time being. Like many, he decided to sit out the 2020 season to prepare for the draft, which shouldn't be held against him. What also shouldn't be held against him, but will bring up question marks, is his recent surgery. He may slide because teams haven't seen how healthy he is, but whoever gets him could be getting a steal. Corners can take a while to develop. but Farley should at worst be a CB2 in the pros.
Jason Pinnock, SR, Pittsburgh
Led the Panthers in interceptions in 2020 and also had five pass breakups. He's smooth in coverage and puts himself in good position. Rarely gets beat and not afraid to be physical. However, when he does get beat, he doesn't have the speed to recover. Big upside for the later rounds.
Bryan Mills, SR., North Carolina Central
Another small school prospect who held up well against increased competition. Has the desired size and traits for an NFL corner and led his conference in interceptions in 2019. Will be interesting to see what teams think of him. Solid late round value.
Zech McPhearson, SR, Texas Tech
McPhearson transferred from Penn State and became one of the best corners in the Big 12. He totaled 53 tackles with four interceptions last season. He is physical and has great ball skills but can struggle instinctively and is gets beat too often. Good guy to take a chance on around the 5th or 6th round if you want a developmental guy.
Tre Brown, SR, Oklahoma
The Big 12 offenses can make defenders look bad and may cause their stocks to fall each year. I never thought of Brown as a great defender when watching him, but he impressed in 2020. He's undersized but tough and athletic. Needs better technique and to be more confident in his reads to avoid getting beat.
Paulson Adebo, R-JR, Stanford
Adebo was a first-round prospect about two years ago and has now slid into the middle rounds. I'd expect someone to get good value with him in the 3rd or 4th round. He's definitely built to play on the outside as a long, athletic corner. He has a nose for the ball but gets beat easily on double moves. Still has the potential to make some one look really smart for drafting him so late.