NFL Draft Cornerback Rankings 2021: From The College Perspective

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Draft Cornerback Rankings 2021: From The College Perspective

2021 NFL Draft

NFL Draft Cornerback Rankings 2021: From The College Perspective


Which cornerbacks will matter in the 2021 NFL Draft, and what’s the college perspective on all of the top prospects?

2021 NFL Draft Cornerback Rankings

Everyone is geeking out over the quarterbacks, but cornerback might actually be the biggest strength position in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Below is a list of 16 prospects and it could easy have been 25 with all the excellent talents, playmakers, and technicians who can contribute right out of the box. Expect a whole lot of good value gets later on with teams finding starters who aren’t on this list.

From the college perspective, the top cornerbacks in the 2021 NFL Draft are …

CFN 2021 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings
from the college perspective …
QB | RB | WR | TE | OT | OG & C
DE & Edge | DT | LB | Safeties

16. Marco Wilson, Florida

Size: 6-0, 191

The Good: Obviously the scouting types know what they’re doing, but almost no one suffered more from the lack of a televised NFL Combine than Wilson. He blew up his pro day showing off 4.35 wheels along with explosive leaping skills and some of the best all-around tools in a corner draft loaded with them. He made 99 tackles with 17 broken up passes in his 33 games of work, but …

The Not-So-Good: He’s not necessarily a big tackler or great against the run. There’s a lot of projection with him more than production – he only has three career interceptions and they all came in 2019 – and he didn’t crank it up last year when the D desperately needed more production.

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: There’s too much talent, athleticism, and skill there to not think there’s starting-caliber potential in mid-round value pick. You don’t play in as many big SEC-level games as he has – and have his athleticism – without having a place somewhere in the NFL.

Projected Round: Fourth

15. Shaun Wade, Ohio State

Size: 6-1, 196

The Good: A huge recruit for the program, he turned in a nice three years with 91 tackles with six interceptions and 18 broken up passes. With good size, solid tackling ability, and the fight to like to take on challenges, he has the make-up to handle himself at the next level with a NFL corner attitude, but …

The Not-So-Good: In the Be Careful What You Wish For category, he wanted to handle DeVonta Smith in the national championship, and while it wasn’t all him on the Heisman winner … it wasn’t pretty. He’s a great athlete with speed, but he needs to deal with the bigger targets than the speed guys.

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: By the ridiculously high standard set by Ohio State corners he might not be among the elite or elite prospects, but he’s a solid defensive back who’ll find a role in a secondary in some way. Try him out at corner, and end up loving him at safety or in various packages.

Projected Round: Fourth

14. Shakur Brown, Michigan State

Size: 5-10, 185

The Good: A feisty, versatile corner who’s been able to handle himself just fine against the better Big Ten receivers over the last few years. He might not be all that big, but he can get physical, his technique and style are good enough to overcome a few issues, and he was productive with five interceptions in seven games last season.

The Not-So-Good: He doesn’t have the raw stuff. He’s not big enough to be all that much of a run supporter, and the 4.6 40 doesn’t help his cause. While he can move well and can cut on a dime, he’s going to struggle against the elite NFL athletic receivers.

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: If you can get past what he’s not, he’s a baller who’ll do a little of everything you want. He’s a good athlete who’ll get in on everything to do the dirty work. While he only did it for one year at a high level, he could be ascending.

Projected Round: Fourth

13. Israel Mukuamu, South Carolina

Size: 6-4, 212

The Good: A very tall, aggressive corner who doesn’t fit the mold, he’s got great length, is good at getting after the ball, and can hit a bit. He came up with 86 career tackles with seven interceptions and ten broken up passes, and now he’s going to erase smallish receivers.

The Not-So-Good: There isn’t really a set role for him. He’s not necessarily a true NFL corner, and he doesn’t hit well enough to be be a sure-thing safety. He’d need to be surrounded by quickish defensive backs and at least one thumper, but …

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: He’ll find a spot in a secondary. He might not be the perfect prospect, but his size is intimidating and he should be able to come up with a role where he makes big plays getting the freelance a bit, and he should be able to matchup well against the bigger receivers.

Projected Round: Fourth

12. Kary Vincent, LSU

Size: 5-10, 185

The Good: Productive for the epic 2019 national championship team, he’s a good tacklers with 78 tackles with five picks and 14 tackles for loss over the last two seasons. He moves well, is fast enough – he’s got 4.33 wheels – to have run for the LSU track team, and he cuts on a dime with the ability to stay with any receiver.

The Not-So-Good: In terms of his draft value, opting out on the 2020 season hurt him. He can tackle, but he can be erased by any blocker and he’ll get shoved by the stronger NFL receivers. He was able to thrive on a loaded D full of talent and has to tweak up a whole lot of technique areas.

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: You need that speed on the field. Get him out there against the smallish, fast receivers and he’ll hang with all of them. It might take a little while to turn into a steady defender, but no one’s running past him.

Projected Round: Fourth

11. Aaron Robinson, UCF

Size: 6-0, 186

The Good: He started out at Alabama with that level of skill and tools, took his talents to UCF, and he grew into a playmakers with 90 tackles and 15 broken up passes over the last two seasons. He’s not huge, but he’s a tough tackler. He’s not a blazer, but he doesn’t have any issues staying with the speeder corners.

The Not-So-Good: He’s not quite elite enough in any one area to stand out at the highest of levels. He’s got 4.5 speed – more than fine, but again, not elite – and he’s not big enough to be any sort of thumper. He broke up passes, but he only came up with one career pick.

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: He’s just a good football player. He might not be your lockdown No. 1 corner, but he’s a starter who can find in a variety of ways. He does a little of everything right, he’ll get physical, and he can be ready to go right away.

Projected Round: Third

NEXT: 2021 NFL Draft Cornerback Rankings Top Ten


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