Senior Bowl DB RosterA group of high-impact defenders primed to light up the showcase event, the pool of DB talent set to take the stage in Mobile for the Senior Bowl is an enticing one. With less than a week ‘till pads begin to crack for Senior Bowl practices, here is a deep dive into the group of DBs to keep an eye on. We here at The Draft Network will have you covered from every angle starting next week on-site from the Senior Bowl.
Roger McCreary, AuburnArguably the top corner to descend upon Mobile, Roger McCreary, a name we could see come off the board before the end of the first round, has everything scouts drool over as a potential CB1. He’s physical, strong in man coverage, and excellent when asked to run fit and wrangle down opposing ball-carriers.
Mario Goodrich, ClemsonWhile his tape was impressive enough as a primary zone corner with quick-twitch ability to close space and remain physical at the catch point, where Mario Goodrich has flashed exquisitely on tape this fall is in his ability to work downhill, through blocks, consistently wrapping up ball-carriers with ease. One of the top pure tackling corners in the class, if you’re an NFL team in need of a defender to stick his nose in the run game on the outside, Goodrich represents the cream of the crop in what is a deep corner class. Without a missed tackle all season long—yes, he was that good—and despite his limitations physically where it will serve him best to add some sand in his pants to further armor against the physical nature of playing defensive back in the NFL, from a foundational level, and as teams move toward the meat of the selection process, Goodrich has all the traits, at the most minimalistic level, to immediately become a high-impact, core special teamer and a perimeter defender that has the ability to slide in at CB3 from his first days as a pro—slowly working into more snaps as he becomes increasingly comfortable with the speed of the pro game. I can’t say enough positive things about Goodrich’s game. He checks a ton of boxes.
Derion Kendrick, GeorgiaAfter transferring in from Clemson, Derion Kendrick proved immediately impactful for a historic Georgia defense. A technician on the outside, his urge to make plays in the passing game is his biggest downfall as his eyes often get caught in the backfield, but he touts all the necessary fundamentals to earn substantial snaps on Sundays.
Coby Bryant, CincinnatiA back-to-back AAC first-team selection, Coby Bryant is an alpha corner with physicality and a hunger for competition unlike any defender in the country. His presence, and that frame of mind opposite Sauce Gardner, progressed into the country’s premier corner tandem. Dominating in isolation portions of practice in Mobile will weigh greatly toward his draft stock.
Jalen Pitre, BaylorOne of the more versatile defenders in the class, Jalen Pitre spent time at safety, corner, ILB, and OLB for the Bears. While his cleanest projection comes as a MOF safety where his downhill instincts and ability to make plays on the football will shine brightest, he is a chess piece at the roof of a defense.
Damarri Mathis, PittAn outside defender with the ability to remain on the hip of opposing wideouts, Damarri Mathis thrives best when confined to a phone booth on 50/50 balls. His suddenness and physicality both at the start of the route and through the stem often allow him to remain chest to chest with pass-catchers, presenting him with a clear window to bat down passes with regularity or take it the other way. While he has room to grow in his fluidity and can get flagged for being too grabby at times, it’s a simple fix, and corners like the Lakeland, Florida native are few and far between. While his initial projection as a pro could see him allotted in the slot, his physical nature could see him dominate initially on special teams if he finds himself in a crowded room for snaps.
Joshua Williams, Fayetteville StateA supremely athletic prospect, Joshua Williams is a downhill defender who isn’t afraid to stick his face in the mud in the run game. His fluid feet and quick-twitch ability to flip his hips in man pops on tape and are traits that should immediately translate to Sundays. He’s looking to become the first Bronco to be drafted since 1976.
Tariq Woolen, UTSAA former wideout, what stands out most for Tariq Woolen is his lower-half explosion and fluidity. Sure, it’s nice to have elite linear north-south speed, but if you’re unable to change directions, T-step to close, or flip your hips to remain in phase with opposing wideouts in fifth-gear, you simply won’t earn snaps at corner at the NFL level. For Woolen, his ability to consistently remain balanced with feathery feet and a powerful closing step has consistently seen him flash on film working both downhill near the LOS when asked to make tackles in open space or close on pass-catchers’ hands at the point of contact. Although many have looked to find flaws in Woolen’s game, where, yes, just because you are a premier athlete doesn’t mean it will translate in between the lines, Woolen is different and vastly unique in the fact that his herculean testing numbers aren’t just percentiles to ‘wow’ at on a spreadsheet. He’s become one of the prospects with the most to gain heading into April’s draft.
Cam Taylor-Britt, NebraskaA riser in the class, the former prep quarterback turned special teams ace turned shutdown corner showcased his skill set awfully well this fall. A long corner who thrives in zone, if Cam Taylor-Britt is able to showcase above-average ability in man in one-on-ones in Mobile, he will continue to rise on league-wide draft boards.
Tariq Castro-Fields, Penn StateThe long-tenured Nittany Lion has a ton to prove in Mobile. Currently projected as a late day-three/preferred UDFA prospect, a solid outing, especially reps in man coverage, could see a nice boost to Tariq Castro-Fields’ stock.
Jaylen Watson, Washington StateWith long arms, the 6-foot-3 Jaylen Watson will cause issues for smaller, less physical wideouts both in Mobile and in the NFL. A primary outside corner whose best football remains down the road, refinement in his technical ability in his lower half will allow his skill set to blossom.
Kerby Joseph, IllinoisBall production was the name of the game for Kerby Joseph during his breakout 2021 campaign, but miscroscoping his ability outside of creating turnovers presents a prospect with a boatload of room to grow. While masking his coverage limitations with a knack for finding the football could see him earn a role on passing downs early in his career, he’s a developmental safety who needs refinement in the other areas of his game.
Gregory Junior, Ouachita BaptistRecently dominant at the NFLPA Bowl, Gregory Junior is an intriguing talent on the outside. A physical press corner with excellent mirroring ability, he will thrive in red-zone isolation snaps. Like fellow D-II product Joshua Williams, I’m really looking forward to seeing Junior compete against some of the country’s premier wideouts.
JT Woods, BaylorOne of the most explosive athletes that will suit up in Mobile, JT Woods may rival the aforementioned Tariq Woolen as the top athlete at the event, and that’s saying A LOT. A lanky defender with easy gas that glides from sideline to sideline, Woods can do a little bit of everything at the apex of a defense.
Yusuf Corker, KentuckyAn excellent open-field tackler, Yusuf Corker’s game reminds me a ton of the role Keanu Neal served for the Dallas Cowboys this fall as a hybrid safety/linebacker. A menace near the LOS who isn’t afraid to stick his face in the mud, Corker, at the least, will become a core special teamer from the onset of his NFL tenure.
Akayleb Evans, MissouriAkayleb Evans is a disrupter on the outside. With excellent utilization of his hands to stab at the LOS in press-bail, the Mizzou standout is a master in the finer details of playing corner. Teams looking for length and physicality on the outside won’t hesitate to snatch Evans off the board in the middle rounds.
Zyon McCollum, Sam Houston StateA true ballhawk at the position, Zyon McCollum—at 6-foot-4—is rarely challenged with 50/50 balls, as quarterbacks that tested him often saw him wrangle down passes with ease. While he could add some sand in his pants to better meet the demands of playing corner at the pro level, McCollum presents an interesting athletic profile that teams can build off of.
Alontae Taylor, TennesseeThe former Volunteer enters the Senior Bowl as one of the more refined corner talents in the class. An above-average tackler with excellent fluidity to remain hip-to-hip in man coverage, Alontae Taylor quietly became one of the top corners in the SEC.
Josh Thompson, TexasA primary zone defender throughout his time in Austin, throwing Josh Thompson into the fire of man coverage will showcase the type of impact he could have from day one. A potential move to safety could be in the cards due to his prowess as a downhill thumper, but for now, he looks to be a nice addition to a defense with a heavy amount of zone principles.
Leon O’Neal Jr., Texas A&MThere’s some C.J. Gardner-Johnson to Leon O’Neal’s game, and I absolutely love it. A violent defender who will knock your mouthpiece out and let you know about it, O’Neal is a culture-changer within the secondary. It won’t take long to notice him in Mobile.
Tycen Anderson, ToledoA modern-day defender who thrives at the second level, Tycen Anderson doesn’t have many limitations to his impressive game. Whether he aligned at linebacker or as a roaming safety for Toledo, Anderson's vast skill set will see him earn snaps at a multitude of spots.
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