2022 NFL Draft Cheat Sheet: Cornerbacks

Kaiir Elam, Florida

Florida cornerbacks tend to raise an eyebrow for some, but I think I’m just high enough on Kaiir Elam to supersede those concerns. Physically, Elam’s got the total package, and the sub-4.4 speed to make it all work at the NFL level. Elam’s footwork is impressive, and I think he’ll play well in both man and zone coverages due to his size and speed combination. He’s been notoriously hard for quarterbacks to fool with eye movement and pump fakes, and I think that bodes well for him the NFL level.

Much like Stingley though, Elam seemed to get a little bit lazy when it came to his final year in college. Stingley has the tape to get by on a little bit of laziness, but I don’t think Elam has the same benefit of the doubt. For as hard as he was to fool for SEC quarterbacks, he doesn’t have the same processing speed as my top three corners (Stingley, Sauce, McDuffie). There are plays throughout his college career where you can tell he didn’t have that “Oh! Got it.” moment while he was trying to dissect the route combination. And those mental lapses worry me just a bit.

Comparison: Elam’s a bit like current Buccaneers corner Carlton Davis, but maybe a bit higher profile.

Andrew Booth Jr., Clemson

While I don’t think he has the talent of Stingley, Andrew Booth Jr. has the measurables to produce the same way. Booth was a top recruit coming out of high school, and watching his tape, it’s easy for me to see why. Booth is a delightfully smooth operator in coverage, which helps him stick to receivers even without truly elite speed as his disposal. Booth is lanky with long arms, and plays with competitiveness that is only rivaled by McDuffie. What he has over McDuffie is true NFL size, standing at 6’0 and nearly 200 pounds.

Booth’s awareness needs a lot of work, in my opinion. He seems to overreact on plays, and then overcorrect way too late once he finally realizes that he’s wrong. He doesn’t trust his eyes, and when he does, they seem to betray him too often for my liking. These two negative traits make him inefficient and sometimes clunky in coverage. Booth hits hard and plays with aggressiveness, but he plays almost out of control at times, which leads to my second round grade on him. He doesn’t know how to stay within himself, and I worry that could lead to a lot of blown coverages.

Comparison: Booth is a spastic, sometimes out of control Jaire Alexander.

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