NFL Hot Press: 2023 NFL Draft Could Lack Top Corner

2023 NFL Draft Could Lack Top Corner

Updated July 8, 2022
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.

Entering training camp for the 2021 season last year, LSU cornerback Derek Stingley was already held in very high regard in the scouting community based off of his tremendous freshman season in 2019. Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner was also on the radar of scouts as a pro prospect with size, speed, and the potential to rise. Both players ended up being viewed as special prospects and were ultimately selected in the 2022 NFL Draft as the top-four picks. League sources shared with that they do not yet see a corner prospect in the same league as Stingley or Gardner for the 2023 NFL Draft.

“Obviously, we are super early, but watching the corners this summer, I don’t see a corner like Stingely or Saucy,” said an AFC director of player personnel. “Hopefully, some guys break out or an unknown guy emerges. The Illinois corner has a chance to rise, but I don’t see a skill set like those two.”

The Illinois corner being referred to is Devon Witherspoon. Among scouts who have done some preliminary work on the prospects for the 2023 NFL Draft, other cornerbacks who possess some buzz are Texas A&M’s Antonio Johnson, Mississippi State’s Emmanuel Forbes, and Alabama’s Brian Branch and Eli Ricks. A couple other corners who are on the radar but are said to need to show improvement include Georgia’s Kelee Ringo and Penn State’s Joey Porter Jr.

If some of these prospects don’t rise and emerge for the 2023 NFL Draft, it could end up being a class similar to 2019 when only one corner went in the first round, and that was a late first-rounder, when the New York Giants took DeAndre Baker out of Georgia with the 30th pick. A lot can and will change in the months to come, but entering training camp, NFL sources do not see a corner prospect of the same caliber as Stingely or Gardner.