2023 Senior Bowl Scouting Preview: The Cornerbacks (CB)

 

Leading up to Senior Bowl week, I do 15-30 minutes of scouting preview work on each prospect set to attend -- watching a couple game tapes and looking over some performance data, etc., and then I give each prospect a pre-event scouting grade for the NFL based on that brief look.

After we scout their performance at the Senior Bowl week of practices, drills, etc., we update the grades and comments and re-rank. We continue to go through the same process for the NFL Combine, as we build a study for 2023 draft prospects until we ultimately choose to do an even deeper study of certain prospects and publish a full scouting report and run our computer scouting models for numerical grades on over 600+ prospects for the NFL Draft.

This is a very brief look for me, as a scout, to start to build my data and scouting notes for the weeks and months ahead, and to be ready to focus in on certain prospects in Mobile that are jumping at me from the early preview. It's a first, sometimes second look (for me) at a prospect and their tape, actions, info and my impressions/grading can and will change as we go through the year long process.

After a January quick study, here are my impressions, grades, and ranking of each position (except O-Line, we'll look at OLs after the Combine).

 

The Cornerbacks…

 

 

CB Rejzohn Wright, Oregon State (Pre-SB Grade: B+)

2022: 24 solo, 14 asst tackles, 2 INTs, 9 PDs

6'1”/191

Projected 40-time: 4.4+

Projected 3-Cone: 6.9 +/-

Consensus mainstream NFL Draft ranking overall: top 250

I loved this tape. I'm about 16 of 22 Senior Bowl DB previews in (the random order I'm studying them in), and I found my first 'this is a real shutdown corner hopeful' guy. I then went to see how highly rated Wright was on various draft sites, and he's not even listed on half+ the boards. He looks terrific to me -- excellent mirroring corner, is glued to his receiver. Long arms and great tracking to bat passes away. Could be the best corner at the Senior Bowl.

NFL Comp? = Looked to me, and I need to do a full study to be sure, like a little shorter Sauce Gardner.

Video highlights: https://youtu.be/VoUla6AgImg

 

CB Riley Moss, Iowa (Pre-SB Grade: B)

2022: 31 solo, 16 asst tackles, 1.0 TFL, 1 INT, 11 PDs, 2 FF (12 games)

6'1”/194

Projected 40-time: 4.45+

Projected 3-Cone: 6.8+

Consensus mainstream NFL Draft ranking overall: top 125

Really nice movement skills. Very good mirroring WRs and terrific recovery/closing speed on passes. He's built muscular like a safety and is a willing tackler…could be a safety if needed but is a legit cover corner with good size and technique.

NFL Comp? = Nate Hobbs, possibly.

Video highlights: https://youtu.be/_QQ1YRNVU8g

 

 

CB Tyrique Stevenson, Miami (Pre-SB Grade: B)

2022: 18 solo, 7 asst tackles, 1.5 TFLs, 2 INTs, 7 PDs

6'0”/214

Projected 40-time: 4.4+

Projected 3-Cone: 6.9+

Consensus mainstream NFL Draft ranking overall: top 125

I'm a fan. A very active, aggressive corner but shows good technique in coverage and does a nice job jamming WRs off the snap. He also has played some safety, and he tackles like a safety, so Stevenson is well rounded for the NFL with a sturdy frame and good speed.

NFL Comp? = Jamel Dean, only thicker and possibly more athletic.

Video highlights: https://youtu.be/r2RFt3JaVsE

 

 

CB Julius Brents, Kansas State (Pre-SB Grade: C+)

2022: 28 solo, 17 asst, 3.5 TFLs, 4 INTs, 4 PD, 1 FF (14 games)

6'3”/205

Projected 40-time: 4.5+

Projected 3-Cone: 7.0 +/-

Consensus mainstream NFL Draft ranking overall: top 100

A tall, long and lanky cover corner…an aggressive cover corner. He's decent in coverage but sometimes plays too far off…or gets too aggressive and can over-run his mirroring coverage. He hits/tackles like a linebacker, when he wants to…a lot of highlight hits but not a lot of tackle counts. An intriguing raw piece of clay to work with here.

NFL Comp? = Keith Taylor (CAR)

 

 

CB Devon Witherspoon, Illinois (Pre-SB Grade: C)

2022: 32 solo, 9 asst tackles, 2.5 TFLs, 3 INTs, 14 PDs

6'0”/175

Projected 40-time: 4.5+

Projected 3-Cone: 7.0+

Consensus mainstream NFL Draft ranking overall: top 50

A very aggressive, yappy, sometimes sloppy cover corner. He has all the confidence in the world, but he also gets so hyped he overruns plays and gets lost misreading coverage a bunch too. He's a solid prospect with upside but he might be more bark than bite. I want to see that speed because he needs to be faster than I saw on tape to be an NFL starter.

NFL Comp? = Ambry Thomas

 

 

CB Kyu Blu Kelly, Stanford (Pre-SB Grade: C/C-)

2022: 26 solo, 9 asst tackles, 6 PDs

6'1”/186

Projected 40-time: 4.4+

Projected 3-Cone: 7.1+

Consensus mainstream NFL Draft ranking overall: top 100

Very good north-south runner…nice closing speed. Struggles going east-west with agility to stay up with crossing/cutting routes and receivers. Has size and skills/technique but may struggle at the Senior Bowl with covering on sharp routes.  

NFL Comp? = A little smaller Caleb Farley

 

 

CB Jakorian Bennett, Maryland (Pre-SB Grade: C-/D+)

2022: 26 solo, 13 asst tackles, 1.5 TFLs, 2 INT, 11 PDs

5'11”/200

Projected 40-time: 4.5

Projected 3-Cone: 7.1 +/-

Consensus mainstream NFL Draft ranking overall: top 200

A solid, not special, cover corner…at first glance. He has NFL size and athleticism, but none of it showing at a high-level. Aggressive and scrappy. He can rise in grade if he can stand out at the Senior Bowl and put-up nice numbers at the NFL Combine.

NFL Comp? = Could be a Jerry Jacobs-a-like

 

 

CB Darius Rush, So. Carolina (Pre-SB Grade: D+)

2022: 28 solo, 10 asst tackles, 2 TFLs, 2 INTs, 7 PDs (10 games)

6'1”/195

Projected 40-time: 4.6+

Projected 3-Cone: 7.1 +/-

Consensus mainstream NFL Draft ranking overall: top 200

I could be seeing it poorly, but Rush seems/feels (on tape) a little too slow to be a great NFL CB prospect. He has nice size and good+ reach and he is fairly fast once he gets up to speed, but in short burst acceleration he seems a little too clunky…and that could get him exposed at the Senior Bowl week.

NFL Comp? = Christian Benford

 

  

CB Darrell Luter, So. Alabama (Pre-SB Grade: D+)

2022: 29 solo, 13 asst, 0.5 TFLs, 1 INT, 7 PDs

6’0”/180

Projected 40-time: 4.5+

Projected 3-Cone: 7.0 +/-

Consensus mainstream NFL Draft ranking overall: top 300

Solid enough college corner, but forgettable from the tape I watched. He didn’t do anything wrong but wasn’t much of an impact player or coverer. He looks like he has NFL size and movement skills but no area stood out. We’ll see if the Senior Bowl week raises him up or throws him into UDFA status.

NFL Comp? = Antonio Hamilton

 

CB Anthony Johnson, Virginia (Pre-SB Grade: D)

2022: 34 solo, 17 asst tackles, 3 TFLs, 2 INT, 12 PD

6'1”/205

Projected 40-time: 4.6+

Projected 3-Cone: 7.1+

Consensus mainstream NFL Draft ranking overall: top 200

Didn't like this preview. A little too lumbering…not a fluid athlete in movement like all the others here. Perhaps, a move to safety? But still, I don't think the Combine/Pro Day numbers are gonna be there for him for the NFL. We'll see.

NFL Comp? = Lesser Bryce Hall (NYJ)