2024 NFL Scouting Combine: Group II Cheat Sheet

MAC Championship - Toledo v Ohio, Maxen Hook, Quinyon Mitchell
MAC Championship - Toledo v Ohio, Maxen Hook, Quinyon Mitchell / Mike Mulholland/GettyImages
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Group II: Defensive backs - Cornerbacks

Before we go down the path of cornerback prospects, I want to acknowledge that many Rams fans are already enamored with Toledo defensive back Quinyon Mitchell, and are prepared to lobby hard for the team to select him with the 19th overall pick of the 2024 NFL Draft. But there is a huge risk in falliing in love with one player in any draft, and that risk is simply that the player may not be on the board when the team makes their selection.

We had featured our three cornerbacks in our pre-combine preview article (see slide 2) and if you want to re-visit those quick profiles, I recommend doing so. For our defense of listing Mitchell as a Day 2 prospect, that is where many draft boards projected him before his stock began to rise rapidly.

And while you are here, do not miss out the chance to learn what Quinyon Mitchell used for motivation at the Senior Bowl, you will love what he had to say about that.

Defensive backs

  • Day 1 - Nate Wiggins, CB Clemson
  • Day 2 - Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo
  • Day 3 - Khyree Jackson, CB, Oregon

Maryland cornerback Beau Brade may not be on your radar, yet, but he has the feel and production of a full service defensive back, capable of flipping from cornerback to safety and back again. Standing 6-foot-0 and weighing 210 pounds, Brade is a speedster who is surprisingly better in a receiver's back pocket than sitting back and playing zone. But if he gets a bead on the receiver or the football, look out. He has great speed that can turn any interception into a pick-six. He is fearless, not backing down when supporting the run. I like his toughness. Projection: Mid-Day 3

Wake Forest cornerback Caelon Carson is a raw coachable prospect whose value in an NFL secondary is as much potential as collegiate production. He has a natural form of balance, foot movement, quickness, and physicality that NFL scouts and personnel executives will love. he stands 6-foot-0 and weighs 190 pounds, an ideal size for an NFL cornerback. But his technique, especially his handsy style of tracking receivers, will draw flags in the NFL. He has a need to reinforce some football fundamentals before he is ready to compete for a rotational role. Even so, he possesses everything that cannot be coached. Projection: Round 3

Another player to be on the lookout for is Fresno State's Carlton Johnson. While he may be on the smaller side of defensive backs, he has solid skills in zone coverage. Johnson stands 5-foot-11, but weighs just 169 pounds. For comparison purposes, Rams DB Tre Tomlison stands 5-foot-8 and weighs 178 pounds. But moving on from his build, Johnson does bring solid secondary skills. He not only has the length and speed to be effective on the football field, but he does a solid job of anticipating routes, and shows up where the ball is coming when the ball arrives. He is raw, and will need to be coached to refine his technique. But he is confident and skilled. Projection: Priority Undrafted Free Agent signing.

Washington State's cornerback Chau Smith-Wade is a bit smaller than the ideal NFL cornerback, but don't let that cause you to overlook this promising secondary soldier. Standing 5-foot-10 and weighing 187 pounds, CSW may be giving up a few pounds and inches to his receiver, but he more than makes up for that handicap with great cover skills. He can get hot and turn into a cutpurse in a game, creating turnovers that can change the entire momentum. He is also a very willing and capable run defender, showing no fear or taking on running backs with a full head of steam. He is also in need of some coaching, as he can be prone to handsy defense if the receiver gets behing him. Projection: Round 4

That is just a small sampling of prospects to track from Group II. We'll be back to recap the highlights of the day, and offer up a new sample of Group III prospects to keep in your windshield.

And thanks for reading.