2023 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Mekhi Blackmon

  • Mekhi Blackmon, 5-10/182

  • Cornerback

  • USC

  • Mekhi Blackmon Scouting Report
    By Charlie Campbell

  • Good feet
  • Effective slot cover corner
  • Runs the route with the receiver
  • Prevents separation
  • Quick
  • Agile; athletic
  • Loose hips to turn and run with speed receivers
  • Recoverability
  • Has ball skills
  • Not a gambler
  • Can play off-man coverage
  • Can play zone coverage
  • Experienced
  • Should be able to contribute quickly

  • Weaknesses:
  • Limited to slot corner
  • Undersized
  • Could struggle with big receivers
  • Gets boxed out
  • Receivers make catches over him
  • Could be picked on in the red zone
  • Short
  • Thin

  • Summary: Even though they are at a disadvantage, there are plenty of small cornerbacks who turn into quality NFL players. Blackmon could easily keep that tradition alive because he looks like a future nickel corner who could be a solid player to line up in the slot. Blackmon played at Colorado for four seasons before transferring to USC. With the Buffaloes, Blackmon did not play much in the 2018-2020 seasons. During 2021, he recorded 41 tackles, an interception and four passes broken up. With the Trojans, Blackmon was very good in his final season of college football, recording 66 tackles, three interceptions and 13 pass breakups. Blackmon then had an excellent week of practice at the Senior Bowl, impressing teams and helping his draft grade.

    There is a lot to like about Blackmon as a slot corner. He has quick feet to run the route with receives and keep them from getting separation. When they do gain a step, Blackmon shows a nice burst and skilled recoverability. He has body control and does a nice job of playing the ball. He also possesses impressive ball skills to hit passes away and is a threat to create interceptions. Additionally, Blackmon is a willing tackler who will contribute to run defense. He is a gritty player who finds a way to contribute in both phases.

    Obviously, Blackmon faces some limitations because he is short and light for an NFL corner. He played bigger than his measurements at the Senior Bowl, but taking on tall pro wideouts is going to be a problem. Pro teams are lining up big wide receivers in the slot, and that could create a coverage mismatch going against Blackmon. Teams could specifically target Blackmon in the red zone, so he will need to be protected and put in the right situations to be effective. Hence, some teams view him as a backup only and have him graded on Day 3. Others like him more as a potential starting nickel corner and have him projected to Day 2 of the 2023 NFL Draft.

    Player Comparison: Jourdan Lewis. Blackmon reminds me of Lewis (5-10, 188) coming out of Michigan, and they are almost identical in size. Both are smaller slot cornerbacks who can run with receivers. They also face size limitations and can’t play on the outside. Lewis was a third-round pick in 2017, and Blackmon could go in that range during the 2023 NFL Draft.


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