DB Rankings

Superlatives

Best All-Around: Caleb Farley

Best Technique: Patrick Surtain II

Best Man Coverage: Asante Samuel Jr.

Best Zone Coverage: Caleb Farley

Best Physical Skillset: Jaycee Horn

Best Run Stopper: Tyson Campbell

Best Slot Corner: Ar’Darius Washington

Best Ball Hawk: Trevon Moehrig

DB1 Caleb Farley | Virginia Tech, CB

Farley is the most complete defensive back in the draft. He is a prototypical outside corner that stands at 6’2″ 210, but runs like an 180 lbs receiver. He handled receivers of all shapes and sizes and has the best make up speed in the class. Farley opted out of the 2019 Draft to return to VT, but then opted out of the 2020 campaign when COVID hit. If Farley had gone pro last year, he would have been a starting corner in the league, but instead wanted to return to prove he was the top corner in the 2020 class. Despite not playing a snap in 2020, he still has proven that to be true on many accounts. Farley is an extremely aggressive and athletic prospect with an astoundingly high football IQ. He is great in all coverages due to his high level of understanding of the game as well as his versatility. There is no scheme that he will not fit and is a prospect who can emerge as the QB of a defense in the near future. His 2019 film against Chase Claypool is impressive and gives a great look at how he will be able to guard some of the bigger WRs that are dominating the NFL. Farley also has a knack for the ball, but can be a bit too aggressive at times when he sells out for a play, which is a hitch and go TD waiting to happen. Overall, he is a true do-it-all corner and is the best prospect in the DB class as well as our 10th ranked prospect overall.

DB2 Patrick Surtain II | Alabama, CB

If the name Patrick Surtain II sounds familiar it is because he is the son of former Chiefs Pro Bowl CB from the early 2000s of the same name. Cut from an NFL pedigree, Surtain II has a lanky 6’2″ frame that helps him significantly in coverage. He has elite reach and some of the best ball skills in the nation and has turned into a true lockdown corner who shut down half of the field. He has a tendency to play a bit robotic at times, however, he still graded out as one of the best defenders against the run in this class. You would think his slender frame may deter him in press coverage, but he was surprisingly impressive there. Regardless of his run stopping capabilities, Surtain II has proven to lockdown some of the best receivers in the SEC and should be considered a 1st round prospect. Surtain II has started 33 straight games since he was a true freshman and will be a day one starter wherever he lands in the draft.

DB3 Jaycee Horn | South Carolina, CB

Horn is a bit raw in terms of a prospect, but he brings the intensity on every snap and is exactly what NFL teams are looking for when bringing in a corner in the 1st Round. Horn is a lockdown corner who matched up well against every SEC opponent he faced and is the type of player who will eventually travel all over the field to shadow an opponents top threat. At 6’1″ 200 lbs he has the perfect size to play the outside corner role in the NFL, but will need to clean up his aggressive play style and technique in order to limit his penalties. He had his most impressive performance in 2020 when he completely shut down Auburn’s top receiver Seth Williams and had 2 interceptions and 5 pass breakups in the upset victory. Horn is the son of former NFL star Joe Horn, who played 12 seasons in the league. Horn ranks as the third best corner and an elite prospect who should be selected in the bottom of the teens on Day 1.

DB4 Trevon Moehrig | TCU, S

Moehrig rounds out this elite tier and is the one safety prospect that we have graded as a 1st Round prospect. He did nothing but produce at TCU and had 20 PBUs over the last two seasons, ranking first amongst safeties in both of those years. Moehrig is long and has extremely impressive reach, which directly correlated with his exceptional ball skills. What makes Moehrig such a top tier talent is that he is so well rounded. Being such a natural ballhawk in the secondary you would think he may struggle as a hitter, but that was not the case. He is such a good run stopper and pass defender that he could plug into just about any role on the field…maybe even as a linebacker as well at times. Moehrig will fill any role that a team needs and has the ability to excel in any scheme that he is drafted into.

DB5 Greg Newsome II | Northwestern, CB

Greg Newsome II is one of my favorite prospects in the entire class because he is just such a sound football player who does everything right. He will be a defensive coordinators dream to coach because he is such a smart and technical player. Watching Newsome play may not be electric or flashy, but he is an all around stud player that reminds me a lot of players like James Bradberry because he can silently cut off half of the field for your defense. Newsome boasts excellent ball skills and outstanding reach that comes in handy when he has to make up some ground against talented receivers. He had a phenominal performance against Justin Fields and Ohio State, a team that rarely had any trouble with opposing secondaries. Newsome is not blazingly fast, but keeps up with fast receivers very well due to his proactive mindset and approach to developing plays. He has great hands, is deceptively strong for size (just 190 lbs) and a great tackler. Newsome has the makes to be a lockdown corner in the league and is a sneaky prospect who could fly up draft boards.

DB6 Tyson Campbell | Georgia, CB tie

Coming into this season all the talk surrounded Campbell’s fellow cornerback teammate Eric Stokes, but now Campbell is touted as the most pro ready prospect from the talented Dawgs secondary. Campbell moves like a knife through butter and has some of the loosest hips I’ve seen in this class. He has the physical skillset of an elite NFL corner, but he also faced his fair share of adversity and learning moments throughout the season. The technique is good, but not great and he is slow to process plays as they unfold. He got torched several times in 2020, including giving up nearly 200 yards to the Alabama receivers. Campbell has the type of athleticism that you look for in a NFL outside corner and is a terrific run stopper, but he will need some coaching to improve on his technique to excel at the next level.

DB7 Andre Cisco | Syracuse, S

Andre Cisco is an exceptional safety prospect who has bloomed into one of the best defensive backs in the country. For a safety he has excellent ball skills that led to 26 combined interceptions and pass breakups in 24 career games. He is an athletic freak and is very talented at processing plays as they unfold. He likely won’t ever be a press corner, but can definitely play in the slot, deep or even in the box. He is prone to double moves, but has the makeup speed that helped him get by in the ACC. He doesn’t have as much experience as many of the other top prospect due to an ACL injury, but bounced back from that well. Cisco is very much a project, but his raw potential is through the roof and likely lands him somewhere in the 2nd or 3rd Round.

DB8 Asante Samuel Jr | Florida Stae, CB

Asante Samuel Jr is a coverage machine, who despite being undersized (5’10” 185), has the potential to play outside corner in the league. Samuel is uber athletic and moves in and out of breaks with ease. He stays step for step with just about every receiver he faces and likely would be competing for the best 40 time if the combine was happening. He is skilled on reading the receivers and gets off blocks really well for his size. He has a super fast first step and pretty good reach and ball skills for his size. He has a playmaker skill set that reminds me of Donte Jackson and could prove that he is much more than a slot corner.

DB9 Ar’Darius Washington | TCU, S

Ar’Darius Washington is another great collegiate player who doesn’t fit the size expectations of an every down NFL defender. Washington is just 5’8″, but plays up to his competition. He is quick and twitchy, and frequently makes explosive moves downhill at ball carriers. He could play nickel in the NFL, but I don’t mean that as a knock against him. He is one of the best movers in the draft and has exception lateral abilities that will allow him to match feet with shifty slot receivers.

DB10 Paris Ford | Pittsburgh, S

Paris Ford is an absolute spark plug of a safety and is one of the most fun prospects to watch on film. He is a tackling machine, but not best in coverage. He runs downhill like a torpedo at opposing running backs, but will also be thrown off into the wrong direction on passing routes. He needs to improve on ball skills and coverage reads because he is just so quick and aggressive to a sprint out of any misread he makes. He is not smartest defensive back, but certainly the grittiest player on field. He is small for a strong safety, which is his biggest detractor because if he were 6’2″ 220 lbs he’d go in the 1st round. Unfortunately he is 5’11 and 190 lbs, which could pigeonhole him into a free safety role.

DB11 Elijah Molden | Washington, CB/S

Elijah Molden has great coverage abilities, but is too small and frail to play outside corner or strong safety and likely will be forced into a nickel role. He played a majority of his snaps as a slot corner, so that will bode well for his draft stock and abilities. He will be limited against bigger NFL RBs, but he is not afraid to launch his full body into tackles. He also is not fastest to process plays and can be a step slow sometimes, but is great in man coverage.

DB12 Jevon Holland | Oregon, S

Jevon Holland is on the verge of being a playmaker ballhawk, but is still very much so a project. He often gets beat and is not best in coverage but is another spark plug type guy who will be all over the field. On the plus side he played a ton of slot corner and has the perfect build to play NFL ball as well as the length you look for. Again, he is still a bit of a project and not the fastest or best mover and probably won’t ever be a strong safety type. He has major upside down the road, but likely could be in that 3rd-5th round tier.

DB13 Eric Stokes | Georgia, CB

We mentioned Stokes above when evaluating his former teammate Tyson Campbell. Stokes has very, very sound technique, but not the best athlete. He can run and is decently fast, but not the best mover or athlete on the field. He excels in press coverage, but lacks the “it factor” to be an all around guy. Despite his lack of flashiness, he was a very solid starter for 3 years in the SEC and could emerge into a role playing corner on the outside.

DB14 Aaron Robinson | UCF, CB

Aaron Robinson played a majority in the slot over last 2 years, but also got his fair shake on the outside in 2018. He is a pretty good athlete and is kinda rangy, but isn’t the most technically sound guy on the field. He is also a great run stopper and has potential to play safety as well as corner, which could give him the versatility to be drafted higher than we have him pegged. It is also worth noting that UCF runs pro friendly secondary schemes, which really gives us a great look at Robinson in his many different roles.

DB15 Ifeatu Melifonwu | Syracuse, CB

Ifeatu Melifonwu is the younger brother of 49ers Safety Obi Melifonwu. Both are massive in size and are genetic freaks, but both have faced very similar challenges and have yet to live up to the hype associated with their raw potential. Ifeatu must improve on his press skills to make it at the next level. At 6’3″ 215 lbs he’s huge, but still lanky and can run like a horse. He is above average in coverage and an above average run stopper, but plays very soft for the physical freak he is. He has all the tools to be coached into an All Pro, but will need to get much more aggressive to make a dent in the NFL.

DB16 Shakur Brown | Michigan State, CB

Shakur Brown is a very intriguing prospect who very well could turn into one of the best corners in this group. He is pretty darn fast, has good instincts, is fierce competitor, but not the biggest or most experienced guy in the class. Brown made his reps count, but was just a one year starter at Michigan State and is under 6′ tall. He was great in coverage and can play anywhere, but not the best against the run. He played solid in man and zone and was asked to be all over the field (slot and outside). His ball skills jump off the tape and make you scratch your head and think if you would have a spot for him in your receiver rotation.

DB17 Paulson Adebo | Stanford, CB

Paulson Adebo was a great prospect heading into the year, but opted out of the 2020 season and has found himself sliding a bit. He has really great length at 6’1″ and is really good in all coverages. The biggest knock against Adebo is that he is a terrible tackler, but he made up for that with his 8 picks and 24 PBU in the 2 years he started at Standford. Despite his playmaking abilities he also got torched a good bit and was very inconsistent.

DB18 Hamsah Nasirildeen | Florida State, S

I referred to Nasirildeen back in December as a jack of all trades, but a master of none. He kind of reminds me a lot of a less impactful Isaiah Simmons. He is massive in size and a great athlete, but his role is limiting him into a specific set of teams with a particular need. He isn’t a typical LB, but he is almost too huge to play FS. He is an amazing tackler, probably the best of this entire group, but how will he do in coverage? He moves extremely well for such a big guy and the hope is that someone will turn him into a Kam Chancellor type role.

DB19 Richie Grant | UCF, S

Draft media has gone crazy over Richie Grant following the Senior Bowl…as to why? I have no clue. When I turn on Grant’s tape I am not impressed by much outside of his tackling abilities. I can see him only as an NFL free safety and fear for his abilities to roll down to cover the slot. On tape he comes across as slow mover, slow to process, frequently burned deep, and clunky. However, he had a great week at the Senior Bowl, is one of the top run stoppers and is a high character player. I think he is a very limited athlete, but should get a shot at the next level to prove he can get it done despite not fitting the mold as a prospect.

DB20 Shaun Wade | Ohio State, CB

Shaun Wade is another great run defender, but cornerbacks rarely get drafted based off of that alone. In 2020 he was an absolute hack down the stretch, and turned into a major liability in the college football playoffs. He is a great tackler, but super weak in press coverage and his struggles began once he left his slot role from 2019 to play outside. Perhaps he was a product of two stronger, 1st Round corners along side him. Regardless, the fact that he couldn’t handle the jump to the outside corner probably turns him into an NFL slot or Free Safety.

DB21 Tre Brown | Oklahoma, CB

Tre Brown was a corner in the Big 12, but a horrible run defender. He is small, but plays up to his size, and is one of the best deep zone corners in this group. He is concerning in man coverage, but as a power 5 three year starter he will get a shot in the pros.

DB22 Tay Gowan | UCF, CB

Gowan had just one year of a starting role (opted out of 2020), which makes him a bit of a mystery. He is tall (6’2″) and long and had a phenomenal season in 2019 where he allowed just 13 first downs. He has the type NFL Skillset, good technique and a great mover, but he is a bit of a mystery prospect with just 12 games of tape.

DB23 Benjamin St-Juste | Minnesota, CB

St-Juste is another lanky cornerback who started seeing a rise in stock immediately following his week in Mobile at the Senior Bowl. He excelled in 1 on 1 drills and demonstrated excellent cover skills, but he is a subpar athlete who likely will be limited at the next level.

DB24 Kary Vincent Jr. | LSU, CB

Kary Vincent Jr. became a key starter for the 2019 LSU National Championship team, but opted out of the 2020 season. He is small and probably will stay in the slot, but it is worth noting that he has olympic level speed and was a track star along with football.

DB25 Talanoa Hufanga | USC, S

Hufanga was the Pac-12 defensive player of the year and probably will play strong safety and possibly even a pass rushing linebacker as well. He split time between the box and deep as a free safety. He has the big hitter mentality and will play the role of enforcer.

DB26 Israel Mukuamu | South Carolina, CB

Israel Mukuamu is another huge corner and will match up well with big guys and even TEs. He is very athletic, but not technically sound in the least. He opted out after 6 games filled with really bad tape from zone coverage, so his ceiling is very limited.

DB27 Trill Williams | Syracuse, CB/S

Trill Williams is a great athlete, and played slot the past two seasons. He started his career playing an outside corner roll in 2018, but was moved to slot likely because he is great in man coverage.

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