2023 NFL Scouting Combine: Cornerback Notes
You don’t need an intro paragraph so you’re not getting one. It’s cornerback time at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine. Let’s do this thing!
Alex Austin of Oregon State looks long. Movement skills good not great. Not bad size on him. Solid B moving skills. Underrated mid round corner.
How bout those Maryland corners? Deonte Banks & Jakorian Bennett I’m just going to include them in the same section. They went back to back in the drills so it made it even easier. Both Maryland corners have been players that sparked my interest in the past.
With Banks, bit more compact but base was really narrow and drifted going backward. Feel better about him as a slot compared to covering monsters. No question he can run (4.35). Slow motion in the gauntlet but we know he can run. Ball skills might be in question.
With Bennett, we saw he has a tendency to be grabby. Ran a damn good time (4.30). He’s not as quick short distance areas. W drill might have shown the differences. Banks half step faster in short areas. Bennett for sure looks bigger though. Long speed I actually think he’s as much of a blazer but more under control than Banks.
Mekhi Blackmon didn’t look good. Way too high. Drifter going backward and looks really skinny. Can’t catch. Very much out. We know he can’t tackle either from his time at USC.
No 40 for Lance Boykin*
The 40 time for Brian Branch wasn’t something that was going to blow you away (4.58). He’s a jack of all trades type of guy that I think best profiles as a free safety. Can play nickel corner but as you saw today he’s not a burner. 90% of Minkah just feels like what he is.
I really like Branch but he’s going to be ranked properly in the safety post. Feet are really quick. Good turns when flipping the hips. I just think he’s going to be better in the box and roaming rather than being asked to cover in man. Rocked the W drills. For sure quicker than fast. There is something about the instincts here. Gets his head around and knows exactly what to do. Aced the gauntlet. Good play speed.
Julius Brents. I don’t have much here. Thought it was overall solid but nothing stood out to where I was super wowed. I think I have more questions than answers after the fact. I’m just not sure at all here. I will say overall I’m more encouraged than discouraged.
Arquon Bush has no twitch. Sauce was on the broadcast talking about his teammate a bit. The traits won’t blow you away. On field workout was a step slow to get where he was going. Looks like he can be physical but not much else.
Emmanuel Forbes is one of the more fascinating players for me. Ball skills are there but is small. How fast was he? Well, that box got checked in a big way. I think the length itself makes up from some of the weight concerns. Tight hips on the turns. You can see in the line drill he was guessing. Dropping a clip because Gonzalez right after him was killing it.
Forbes is very much a mystery. Has some quicksand and is tight but ball skills great.
Mekhi Garner tripped over a camera on the 40 because he was that out of bounds. Never seen it before. Then proceeded to not do the on field stuff. Just wow in a bad way.
Christian Gonzalez is killing it. Line drills at his size were flawless. This is what the drill should look like. Smooth. Easy hip turns. Light and quick on the feet. Eyes up and just on it. There is an extra fire when he needs to get somewhere. The 40 time was a pleasant surprise (4.38). Caught the ball really well. I think he had the best on field workout of anybody with Tomlinson being a close second. Was totally blown away.
Jaylon Jones just looks slow. Had a drop. 40 wasn’t anything special (4.57). He was just there. Totally failed on the W drill. Skidded out twice before finishing the third time. Really bad knee bend. Horrific balance.
Darrell Luter Jr. ran a faster time than I expected which was a plus. Bit on his heels going backwards. Foot gets stuck in the ground. Just looks like he has a missing gear. Tight but he looks yoked up.
Cameron Mitchell had an underrated workout. Didn’t do anything that made me think of a red flag. I love the knee bend. Low to the ground and goes. No stumbles at all. Hell of a day.
Riley Moss. Yes, we have a white corner and yes, he’s not slow either. Quick feet. Can flip and get to his spot with ease. No bad drifts. Stayed on the line. Ball skills were there. Pure athlete traits are there. 4.45 for him is what’s up!
Clark Phillips is someone I love. Been in here since he punked Jordan Addison in the Pac 12 Title game. So compact low to the ground. Stocky with power. Feet looked good too. Very smooth. Quckness is obvious to see. 4.51 is no problem at all and comes in at about what I expected from watching.
Joey Porter Jr. ran but no on field. I actually thought he ran faster than expected which is a good sign. 4.46 for him should be considered a win.
Kelee Ringo was always going to run fast. Thought it might have been a touch faster than 4.36 but he had a rolling start that hurt him. Still a blazing time. I find it interesting that the coaches picked Ringo to demonstrate all the drills. I think his one weakness might actually be tracking the ball. Once he gets the cornerstuff down, it’s a lot of untapped potential. Play speed when he goes is special.
He’s still has some lumps of clay to his game. It’s not 100 percent polished but can tell the gifts he has are undeniable. Thought he could have been more of a go go mode but no issues going down the line.
Darius Rush / Cam Smith South Carolina has two good ones. Rush is the better player but Smith isn’t a chump. Just Smith might be more panicky with the grabbing. Not as natural. Can tell Rush more in control with the handwork. Is that the only difference? Hands catching wise might be a question for Rush. Smith’s hands catching looked better actually. I’m not sure there’s a big gap here.
Terrell Smith. Bad change of direction. Back pedal going backward was piss poor. Looked horrible. Nothing else to add.
Tyrique Stevenson is a former Georgia transfer. Actually thought his foot speed was slow going backward. There is something off about it when he changes direction. Can’t totally put a finger on it but he’s not nearly as fluid. You’re waiting for him to get out to go. No grease lightning in the knees. Out of all the top guy you can just see he’s a touch slow. Really noticeable going right before Tomlinson. Actually had a good gauntlet. Long speed is fine but quickness feels like an issue in short areas.
Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson is going to be an ace in the hole. Sort of like Brian Branch except faster and not as big. He’s got the oily of oily hips. Really easy mover. When the foot goes in the ground there’s an explosion after. You know he was doing well when Jamie gave him a shout-out for being fast while she was half paying attention. 4.41 is a good time obviously. Fantastic hands catching.
DJ Turner had the fastest time (4.26) and then shut it down after. Can’t blame him, I guess.
Cory Trice Jr. Tight hips. Eyes a bit down but feet weren’t bad.
Jay Ward looks big. Movement skills were fine, I guess. Not quick at all though. Should be a safety so not sure why he’s on here in this group.
*Devon Witherspoon did not run or work out in general. He got good advice. The draft politics already have him as a top five pick so why ruin it when he doesn’t have that talent, to begin with?
Vendetta Sports Post 2023 Scouting Combine Cornerback Rankings
1. Joey Porter Jr. (Penn State)
2. Kelee Ringo (Georgia)
3. Christian Gonzalez (Oregon)
4. Tre Hodges-Tomlinson (TCU)
5. Clark Phillips (Utah)