clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Ranking 15 cornerbacks in the 2022 NFL Draft for the Eagles

Philadelphia has an obvious need at CB2.

Boston College v Clemson Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

Full disclaimer: as some of you may know, I am from England which means I do not watch any college football during the season and I therefore go into this process with absolutely no preconceptions about who I’m about to watch. I think this has impact on my rankings because I really do know nothing about them until I watch them myself. I don’t read or listen to anything. I watch at least three games of each player that I rank, but I cannot share any film with you because sharing college All22 online is dangerous and I do not want to be blocked!

These rankings are based on how I think these prospects would fit the Eagles scheme or who I want the most based upon who the Eagles already have at a certain position. Therefore, sometimes I may have one player above another, even if I think the other player is a better overall prospect. If a player isn’t on this list, I haven’t watched them yet!

Cornerbacks

Just a final note before we get into cornerbacks... I find it really hard to evaluate the Eagles scheme from last year when looking at the corner position. Based on everything you read, Gannon wants to run a 2-high scheme that we are seeing around the league. However, we clearly saw more single-high man coverage as the year progressed so I think he is quite adaptable depending on his personnel. Finally, I wouldn’t draft a corner just for Gannon’s scheme, considering it appears he may be a Head Coach sooner rather than later...

Tier 1

1. Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner, Cincinnati

Summary: Sauce’ Gardner is the long rangy athletic number 1 corner that everyone wants. He profiles as a clear alpha number 1 with a huge amount of confidence and swagger and the play to back it up. Gardner will be best suited as a press man corner who can get physical with X receivers at the line of scrimmage. He isn’t perfect (who is?) and does need to work on his play strength as well as being a bit too grabby down the field, but he is an elite prospect. He can play zone and off coverage but if you are drafting him, it should be to get him close to the line of scrimmage.

Eagles Thoughts: The Eagles would almost certainly have to trade up to get Sauce Gardner and I think he would absolutely be worth it. I would worry that Gannon wouldn’t let him press enough but this a player that you should alter your scheme for and you shouldn’t draft all players for one DC anyway! I would support a trade up for him, absolutely.

2. Derek Stingley Jr, LSU

Summary: Stingley has been discussed a lot due to some ‘lazy’ tape the past 2 years and the injury concerns... but the tape is outstanding. He has all the physical and athletic traits that a high level outside cornerback needs. He is at his best in man coverage, especially press man coverage, and has elite ball skills too. He is not as good in off coverage or in zone at this point, where he can have some issues with his technique, but he does have the athletic ability to be able to do it all. He has all-pro potential, without a doubt.

Eagles Thoughts: I would absolutely love it if he fell to the Eagles and they selected Stingley. They would be pretty mad to pass on him unless another elite prospect was available. I would support a small trade up considering how talented he is, but I don’t see him as clean as a prospect as Gardner due to the small off field and injury concerns.

Tier 2

3. Trent McDuffie, Washington

Summary: McDuffie is a top cornerback prospect who is better suited to a zone system that won’t ask him to play press man on a consistent basis. He showed he can play man, but is at his best in off coverage and zone where he can explode towards the football. He is an excellent athlete, a fluid mover and shows a great understanding of situational football. He does get overly physical with receivers on the outside due to his lack of height and his lack of ball production is concerning, especially as teams may target him with bigger receivers on jump balls on the outside.

Eagles Thoughts: McDuffie may not be your prototypical number 1 cornerback but he makes a lot of sense for the Eagles current scheme. He could start opposite Slay on day 1 and would be a worthy 1st round pick, considering what they need their corners to do.

4. Andrew Booth Jr, Clemson

Summary: Booth Jr is an intriguing prospect as he profiles as someone who can do a bit of everything. He has an excellent feel for zone coverage and shows a good understanding of route concepts, receiver location and excellent eye discipline. He has also shown the ability to play press coverage, both mirror match and physical, and only has 1 penalty against him the past 3 years due to excellent ball skills. However, his long strides show up and his long speed as well as his change of direction ability are a slight concern. He is also quite reckless with his tackling at times but I sort of love the feistiness and competitiveness to his game.

Eagles Thoughts: Some may feel this is slightly too early, but I think Booth would be a good 1st round pick for the Eagles as his scheme versatility fits really well with what they want to do on defense. I also love physical, competitive defenders and think he could bring some nastiness to the Eagles defense that it has lacked at the cornerback position.

5. Kaiir Elam, Florida

Summary: Elam profiles as the classic physical outside cornerback with great length, size and speed that everyone wanted to play Cover3 a few years ago. Elam will fit a variety of schemes but his frame and length is suited to a press man corner. He is very physical at the line of scrimmage and presses receivers to the sideline and has the speed to carry then vertically down the field. However, he has two major concerns. Firstly, he is too grabby in coverage and was flagged 7 times in 10 games last year. He will be a flag machine if he doesn’t clean this up. He also is slightly poor in the run game and needs to wrap up and get off blocks better.

Eagles Thoughts: Elam seems to split opinion, I don’t think he is good enough to be considered a mid first round pick at this point but I could certainly see the Eagles having interest because he has an excellent combination of physicality, size and speed. I wouldn’t be mad if he was one of the 1st round picks but he might not be first choice for me. I do think there is a relatively significant drop off after Elam before the tier below as well, which might push Elam up draft boards.

Tier 3

6. Roger McCreary, Auburn

Summary: I don’t really know what to do with Roger McCreary since I read that only 1 corner drafted in last 10 years with his arm length. I like the tape quite a lot, but the tape shows a physical outside corner with good ball production but I don’t think he will replicate that with his size profile. He also doesn’t have great speed and can get beat deep. He may have to move to the slot unless he can overcome his arm length.

Eagles Thoughts: I think he will appeal to Jonathan Gannon who doesn’t ask his corners press a huge amount and McCreary is very scheme versatile. I think he would be a great pick in the 2nd round and if he can’t handle outside snaps, he should be able to move into the slot long term.

7. Tariq Woolen, UTSA

Summary: I can’t help but be memorised by Woolen’s combination of size and speed. He is a total athletic freak. The tape is not that good and he is clearly extremely raw and but the upside is absolutely huge. He has all the tools to be an elite outside press cornerback, with good ball skills, speed and arm length. He has a lot of work to do in his transitions and technique but the upside is crazy high.

Eagles Thoughts: Gannon runs a scheme that suits cornerbacks and he has been known to coach up cornerbacks. I would absolutely love him to take a chance on Woolen, maybe even towards the end of the 2nd or start of the 3rd (I know this is a risk but). I don’t think the Eagles will have interest as he suits as a press corner and struggled in zone at times but.. I can’t resist athletic freaks like this. I think the upside makes him worth a shot.

8. Coby Bryant, Cincinnati

Summary: Bryant profiles as a good backup corner or potentially a number 2 CB who could start on the outside. He has really good size and length for the position and has excellent ball skills which really stand out on tape. He is not sudden or explosiveness and his long speed might be an issue at the next level. I think he would struggle being asked to line up consistently 1on1 in a single-high scheme where he will get beaten over the top by faster receivers.

Eagles Thoughts: I think Bryant is a really good fit for a lot of the 2-high stuff we are seeing around the league now where you can get away without elite speed. I think he would fit well with what the Eagles did last year and he suits a lot of zone/off coverage. I think the Eagles should have interest in him around the 3rd round as he fits what they did last year well.

9. Kyler Gordon, Washington

Summary: Gordon is a raw prospect having only started 1 year but has very high upside. He tested as a top tier athlete and can play both inside and outside. He has an excellent jump and can knock the ball down in contested situations. He has limited man coverage snaps last year and looked raw when asked to press coverage. He needs to work on his press if he wants to play on the outside at the next level. The size and length suggests an outside corner but he may end up playing more inside at the next level.

Eagles Thoughts: I expect the Eagles to have interest in Gordon as he looks good in zone and plays the game better with the game in front of him. I think he’s raw still and would prefer him as a 3rd round pick, rather than a 2nd where I have seen him mocked. The talent is there though.

10. Martin Emerson, Mississippi State

Summary: Emerson looks the part of a modern cornerback that all coaches want. He has very long arms and can press very effectively. He also is very good at the catch point and plays physical and competitive at all times. However, he lacks quickness and long speed and this is a major concern. He struggles with change of direction and I question if he will be able to play effective off coverage at the next level.

Eagles Thoughts: I think the Eagles may have interest in Emerson as he has shown the ability to play press man and zone. The athletic profile and speed worries me quite a lot, but I think the length, ball skills and tape is worthy of a 3rd round pick, and he has very good starter upside.

Tier 4

11. Zyon McCollum, Sam Houston State

Summary: McCollum has played corner for a long time but still looks lost at times and his technique looks like it needs quite a lot of work. He can get beat too often, especially by double moves, and is slightly reckless as a tackler too. But, he is an absolute freak athlete with elite size and speed and a 3-cone time that has my serious attention. McCollum is much more off an athlete than a refine cornerback at this point but the upside is very, very high.

Eagles Thoughts: I think the tape is probably a day 3 player but I would take the chance in the late 3rd. It could all go wrong but the size, length, speed and 3-cone time has me wondering just how good he could be if he was to develop nicely.

12. Damarri Mathis, Pittsburgh

Summary: Mathis is one of the more difficult evaluations for me. I really like the aggressiveness he plays with and he looks a good athlete with good long speed on tape. Where his physicality works, he is excellent at the catch point. But, too often it doesn’t and he gives up too many big plays and gets called for too many flags.

Eagles Thoughts: I think Mathis has the profile to fit a lot of different schemes. Whilst I really like the aggressiveness at times, I see him as an early day 3 player and would take a chance on him in the 4th.

13. Akayleb Evans, Missouri

Summary: Evans checks the boxes of a long, press outside corner. He presses well and has good long speed and plays physical too. He struggles at the catch point too often and is flagged far too often for being too grabby and handsy with receivers. He also struggles in off coverage frequently where he looks slower to turn and will be beaten by in routes far too often.

Eagles Thoughts: I like Evans profile as a press corner, but I can’t see the Eagles using him this way enough to justify a pick on him. I would take a chance on him in the 4th due to his press man profile, but I doubt the Eagles will have any real interest unless they intend on pressing more next year.

14. Cam Taylor-Britt, Nebraska

Summary: Cam Taylor-Britt might be the most physical corner in the class. Sadly, he plays a bit too reckless and is a bit too grabby and misses too many tackles. He has good long speed and excellent burst but will too often bite on fakes or play action or be caught out with his eyes in the backfield. He looks a very raw prospect and has had some serious injury issues (ACL, meniscus, fractured patella) and appears to be a day 3 player rather than day 2.

Eagles Thoughts: I really like the physicality and think he would bring something the Eagles needs but I think he needs a lot of work and would rather consider him in the 4th round. However, I did wonder when watching him if he could play safety in the Eagles system, he has played there before and I think his profile, physicality and speed might suit the safety position well.

15. Marcus Jones, Houston

Summary: Jones shows some good coverage skills but the size, age and injury history scare me as a day 2 prospect. He’s feisty and physical and plays bigger than his size but unfortunately for him his limitations show up at the catch point where bigger receivers can get their way with him.

Eagles Thoughts: I have seen some people mock Jones as a day 2 pick but that seems very rich for me, if the Eagles see him as a good depth option who can play special teams then I would understand the pick but I wouldn’t want it to be any earlier than the 4th.

...

Bonus prospect: Joshua Williams, Fayetteville State. I couldn’t get enough tape but keep on eye on him as an early day 3 project. A former WR with excellent measurables but only recently started playing corner.