The NFL Combine is underway with interviews and media sessions taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday and on-field workouts beginning on Thursday. One position of interest for Giants fans will be cornerback which is set to take place on Friday.
Today we’ll walk through five cornerbacks that Giants fans should keep a particular eye on based on their potential to fit the Giants’ draft plans in 2023.
How to Watch:
- Date: Friday, March 3rd (Defensive backs)
- Time: 3 p.m. ET
- Channel: NFL Network
Cornerbacks to Watch
1. Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland
6’2″ 205 pounds
Deonte Banks is one of the more polarizing cornerback prospects as some sites have him pushing to be a late first-round pick and others thinking he’s in the second or third-round mix. Since I don’t expect the Giants to take a cornerback in the first round, we’ll lead off with Banks here because he could be an option at pick 57 overall in the second round.
Banks is a smooth athlete for his size and has a track and field background, so he could fly up boards if he puts on a show in the 40-yard dash and other testing. He has the size and length that Joe Schoen liked in his time with the Buffalo Bills and brings a physicality that would go over well in New York.
2. DJ Turner, Michigan
6’0″ 180 pounds
Turner was mentioned in The Athletic’s “Freaks” list for 2022 and might be one of the more impressive physical specimens in this year’s cornerback class. Turner was one of the highest-ranked cornerbacks by Pro Football Focus and is a pest for opposing wide receivers because he combines elite deep speed, with good hips, and the ability to mirror in coverage. He’s also shown the ability to play special teams while at Michigan, which is something Schoen tends to like from his young corners.
3. Emmanuel Forbes, Mississippi State
6’0″ 180 pounds
Forbes is another potential Day Two pick at cornerback and one who could be another fan favorite since he is a competitive cover corner who battles at the catch point and forces a lot of pass breakups. However, he also picked off 14 passes in three seasons, returning three of them for touchdowns this season alone, so he has proven to be a big play threat waiting to happen. Like Turner, he is not the biggest of cornerbacks, so he will need to show well in the strength testing in order for teams to believe he can hold up in run support and against the more physical receivers in the NFL.
4. Kyu Blu Kelly, Stanford
6’1″ 190 pounds
Kelly has good size for a cornerback and started at Stanford for four years, which is a great sign when it comes to experience. He’s also the son of a former NFL player, so he plays with solid instincts and can go make a play on the ball. He plays with clear aggression and, as he said at the Senior Bowl, he just wants to “go out there and rip it out. When I get a chance, I will make a play.” If he can test well in the 40-yard dash and cone drill and answer concerns about his speed, Kelly could push to be a 3rd round option for the Giants.
5. Julius Brents, Kansas State
6’4″ 205 pounds
Brents is pretty massive for a cornerback, which will make him one of the more intriguing corners to watch at the Combine. He was tremendous in 2022 season, registering four interceptions and four pass deflections while recording 94 tackles across his two seasons at K-State and allowing a completion rate of just 46.2% in 2022, according to PFF. He uses his size and length well, being disruptive in press situations by being physical and disrupting the timing of routes. He is currently a potential third-round pick option for the Giants, but it’s also rumored that he could run a sub-4.4 40-yard dash, which would make him fly up draft boards.
6. Tyrique Stevenson, Miami
6’0″ 215 pounds
There are some who thought Stevenson was the best corner in Mobile at the Senior Bowl and he moved firmly into the Day Two conversation. He plays big and isn’t afraid to mix it up, which comes from his experience press man, but he doesn’t have as much experience playing zone as some of the other corners and the Giants use a fair amount of zone coverage with their secondary. At the combine, he will need to display his movement skills and fluidity plus his read-and-react to suggest he can also play other defensive schemes.
7. Garrett Williams, Syracuse
6’0″ 190 pounds
We mocked Williams to the Giants as a possible Day Three in our last seven-round mock draft, and this is what we said: Williams is a physical and aggressive defender that showcases an alpha mentality whenever he’s on the field. He’s a tremendous athlete with good change-of-direction skills and showcased a strong ability to make plays on the ball. His draft stock will likely be impacted by his recovery from an ACL injury, but this is a risk the Giants can take this late in the draft.
8. Alex Austin, Oregon State
6’1″ 190 pounds
Alex Austin is a potential Day Three pick for the Giants and was one of the starting cornerbacks for the Oregon State Beavers. He also played wide receiver and returned punts/kicks, so there is a diversity in his game that will appeal to Joe Schoen and the Giants. His calling card is his speed since Austin was a standout sprinter in the 100 and 200-meter, which he will undoubtedly look to put on display in the 40-yard dash. However, Austin is also a fluid mover in coverage and can match wide receivers in press-man while showing the ability to “click-and-close” in zone overage to prevent yards after the catch. His stock could rise at the combine.
9. Riley Moss, Iowa
6’1″ 185 pounds
Moss was one of the cornerbacks we wanted Giants fans to watch going into the Senior Bowl this year. He registered as the fastest defensive back at the Senior Bowl, which should quiet the concerns about his need to move to safety. At Iowa, Moss had 11 interceptions, 37 passes defended, and three defensive touchdowns over his career and has good size at 6’0″ 192 pounds. He is versatile enough to play in a variety of coverages and smart enough to limit his mistakes, so the only real knock on him has been his health concerns while at Iowa.
10. Darius Rush, South Carolina
6’2″ 2oo pounds
We mentioned Rush in our Giants Senior Bowl coverage, saying Joe Schoen comes from the Buffalo Bills where they loved to draft big, physical cornerbacks, so Darius Rush measuring in at 6’2″ and 196 pounds would likely have piqued his interest. He used that size to smother wide receivers all week. Rush showed tremendous hip fluidity and foot speed for his size, and while he struggled a bit against the run, he has the makings of a truly strong cover corner. Since South Carolina plays mainly zone, there were some concerns that Rush would be exposed in man coverage, but that just didn’t happen.
For more Giants coverage, like this NFL Combine article, visit amNY Sports