Why the Slide?: Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson

This series was created in response to questions about why certain well-known prospects went unselected in NFL drafts. For these articles, I reach out to sources with NFL teams to find out why their organizations passed on drafting a given player, and/or, what were the reasons for other teams to pass on that prospect. The positive response to “Why Undrafted” and questions from readers about why prospects were drafted lower than the media expectations led us to create the parallel series “Why the Slide?”

Both series are back this year. Feel free to email me requests for Why the Slide? and Why Undrafted? at [email protected]. I can’t promise to get to all of them, but I will do my best and definitely will respond to the email.

After the 2021 season, it became common place to see Clemson’s Andrew Booth projected as a first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Booth (6-0, 195) showed a good skill set in college with size, speed and athleticism. He played well for the Tigers in 2020 and was even better in 2021, totaling 37 tackles, three interceptions and three passes broken up. The consensus opinion had Booth as the fourth-rated cornerback behind Derek Stingley, Ahmad Gardner and Trent McDuffie. Thus, it was surprising to some when Booth slid into the second round and other corners like Kaiir Elam and Roger McCreary went before him.

Team sources told WalterFootball.com the main reason for Booth sliding was health. He had two hernia surgeries at different times over the past year, including in Spring 2022. While Booth is expected to be cleared in time for training camp, the repeated medical issues were the catalyst for him to slide in the 2022 NFL Draft.

The Minnesota Vikings traded down in the second round and then traded back up to the 10th spot in order to land Booth. That was a very good landing spot for him because he could be a starter quickly in his NFL career. The previous Minnesota regime blew a lot of early-round picks on cornerbacks, so the team has a wide open depth chart. Jeff Gladney and Mike Hughes were busts. Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander also did not live up to expectations and moved on. Veteran Patrick Peterson is returning in 2022, but he is not a long-term player at this point in his career.

Booth could be a starter immediately. Peterson could draw the assignment of No. 1 wide receivers, but Booth could eventually take over as Minnesota’s No. 1 corner in 2023 or 2024. Regardless, he is in a great position to be a long-term starter with the Vikings.

2024 NFL Mock Draft - April 9

NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 22

Fantasy Football Rankings - Feb. 19

NFL Picks - Feb. 12