2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Caelen Carson




  • Caelen Carson, 6-0/199
  • Cornerback
  • Wake Forest

Caelen Carson Scouting Report

By Charlie Campbell

Strengths:

  • Instinctive
  • Experienced
  • Good length
  • Ball skills
  • High points the ball
  • Smartly covers up receivers in his area
  • Can jam wideouts
  • Physical
  • Adept at taking on big receivers
  • Can outfight defenders on contested catches
  • Gritty, physical defender
  • Willing tackler
  • Can play zone coverage
  • Good fit for press coverage

Weaknesses:

  • Lacks speed
  • Could have problems running with NFL receivers
  • Has some tightness
  • Not all that twitchy
  • Might be a backup only

Prospect Summary:

Carson was a steady and productive defender for the Demon Deacons over the past four seasons. In 2020, he recorded 25 tackles, one forced fumble, one interception and four passes defended. He then notched 31 tackles, two picks and seven passes defended in 2021. As a redshirt sophomore in 2022, Carson collected 21 tackles and seven passes broken up. He finished out his career with 42 tackles, a forced fumble, zero interceptions and eight passes broken up in 2023.

Carson is a big, physical corner who should fit well in the NFL as a zone corner, plus has some press-man potential. He displays good instincts and is adept at covering up receivers who come into his area. With Carson’s height, length and strength, he is skilled at defending big receivers and battling them on contested catches. Carson possesses good ball skills and high points the ball well, which makes him a threat to pick off passes or knock them away. Carson times contact well to break up passes and is a polished defender. He is a tough corner who will get physical and push receivers around.

Carson is a physical defender who is a willing tackler and does not hesitate to dish out some hard hits. Along with tackling receivers, Carson will come downhill to attack running backs and wideouts on screens in the flat. NFL teams should not have to worry about Carson avoiding tackling in the ground game.

The big issue that keeps Carson from being a No. 1 corner is a lack of speed. He is not fast, explosive or twitchy to take on the speedy big-play threats of the NFL. Speed receivers will give Carson a lot of problems. Thus, in the pros, he should be protected from those matchups and be assigned to cover bigger receivers. Carson’s struggles to run with NFL receivers could make him more of a backup at the next level.

While evaluators liked a lot his play, team sources said speed issues could cause Carson to slide to the early rounds of Day 3 in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Prospect Comparison:

Eric Murray. Carson reminds me of Murray coming out of Minnesota. Murray was a tough, physical and gritty cornerback, but had a lack of speed. Eventually, Murray was moved to safety. He has managed to become a solid pro there after being a fourth-round pick. Carson has the potential to be a similar player who could be a third-day pick who ends up moving to safety.





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