Summer Scouting: Top 5 Cornerbacks

The college football season is just around the corner. With that in mind Rory Daniels’ brings you his top 5 draft eligible prospects at each position ahead of kickoff. We also include an FCS prospect to watch courtesy of resident small school expert Rebecca Rennie.

1. Derek Stingley Jr

Opposing defenses have had to gameplan for Derek Stingley ever since he stepped foot on to campus in Baton Rouge. He was a key part of LSU’s National Championship charge even though he was only a freshman starter. It soon became apparent that your best chance of succeeding against the Tigers defense was to avoid Stingley. His performance dropped last year, in part due to injury. Now draft eligible, expect him to take his game to the next level. His prototypical build and sticky coverage ability make him a good bet for top-10 slot next April.

Best Trait: Man coverage

2. Kaiir Elam

The gap between Stingley and the rest of the pack may not be as large as most are claiming. In Kaiir Elam you have a player with all the physical tools to also develop into an elite NFL corner. Elam is strong in the tackle and moves well despite a slightly larger frame than Stingley. Elam’s calling card is his ability to locate the ball. Being tight in coverage is one thing but Elam excels in getting his head around and getting his hands to the ball. With four career interceptions and 11 pass deflections last year, throwing in his direction comes with plenty of risk.

Best Trait: Ball location

3. Andrew Booth Jr

Clemson has had a penchant for producing corners that generally fly under the radar during the season and then rise in the draft process. AJ Terrell and Trayvon Mullen were seemingly held in higher regard by the NFL than the media. This year, Andrew Booth Jr is unlikely to go unnoticed. With Derion Kendrick departed, Booth is the kingpin of this defensive backfield. Booth is super fluid and what stands out on film is the sheer speed at which he flies around. Not only does it give him an advantage in coverage but his closing speed to the tackle is something to behold.

Best trait: Speed

4. Ahmad Gardner

Gardner is the tallest cornerback on this list and that extra length arguably is his best and worst trait. At 6’2 he is slightly less twitchy than those listed above. With extra length being able to flip the hips quickly is always going to be a slightly slower process. That said, never discount Gardner even when a receiver looks to have gained separation. With vine-like arms he has the ability to recover and affect the play. He has logged a ball-hawking six picks in his college career to date and he will lead a Bearcats defense who want to shake up the Power 5’s stranglehold on the college playoffs.

Best Trait: Length

5. Trent McDuffie

Just to even things up we’ll now switch to the smallest of this group. McDuffie is listed at a generous 5’11 by the Huskies and his frame would suggest a corner who thrived on the inside. That said, McDuffie has excelled as one Washington’s primary outside corners and you would be loathed to move him from a spot where he has established himself as one of the best in the country. Despite a smaller frame, McDuffie is tenacious in contact and an effective blitzer. It’s easy to see him making a roster as a slot to begin with before transitioning to a premier outside corner at the next level.

Best Trait: Tenacity

FCS Prospect to Watch: Zyon McCollum

Rebecca Rennie: The reigning FCS National Champions unsurprisingly featured a number of interesting pro prospects among their title-winning team. Arguably, the most upside lies with physically impressive cornerback McCollum. A true height-weight-speed ideal combination, the Bearkats defensive back has measurables to match any corner in this upcoming class. McCollum utilizes his long stride but also shows nice fluidity in his transitions. Where he truly has excelled is at the catch point. The senior standout has piled up turnovers and breakups over his College career. His backs up his length with good physicality when positioning and high-pointing.

While McCollum has the traits and playmaking to excite, he does show some inconsistencies and rawness tohis overall game. Recognition and anticipation can develop further. There are some similarities in that sense to Robert Rochell from the previous draft class. Rochell went to the Rams in Round 4; can McCollum target the same or perhaps higher?

Best Trait: Ball skills at the catch point.

Mock Draft

Rory-Joe Daniels

Cfb contributor

formerly writing for the inside zone, rory will be breaking down college tape and keeping you up-to-date with all things CFB for the touchdown. an avid bengals fan, you can also find some of rory’s work at