The 2023 cornerback class looks like an extremely solid one, in which there are both high-end talents at the top and above-average depth.
As a reminder, prospects are ranked based on in which order I think they will be picked, but it will be highlighted what are my thoughts on them. You can find previous rankings for the 2023 draft class here:
The cornerbacks are ranked based on in which order I think they will be picked, but it will be highlighted what are my thoughts on them.
1. Kelee Ringo, Georgia
6’2”, 210 lbs., Redshirt sophomore
Ringo’s production may not be as solid as his profile is. At 6’2”, 210 lbs., the former 5-star recruit is a phenomenal athlete with impressive long speed and physicality. He’s a very consistent player able to perform at a high level both in man coverage and zone coverage, as he also displays great instincts and eyes. Ringo has suffered a bit against explosive pass catchers who have great stop-and-go ability. Despite that, Ringo possesses a very solid profile with high-end raw tools. I expect him to be selected in the top half of the first round.
Personal ranking: #1
2. Joey Porter Jr., Penn State
6’2”, 192 lbs., Senior
The Penn State standout cornerback displays great ball skills and physicality. He’s excellent in press coverage where he shows the footwork, strength, and eyes to take on whichever pass catcher is in front of him. Porter has fantastic instincts and he’s a well above-average athlete who’s able to also impose himself at the catch point pretty consistently. Although, he has to refine his game a little bit and become lesser prone to flags: he’s often overaggressive and tends to draw penalties because of that. Porter has all the tools to become a great primary cornerback and I expect him to be a first-round pick.
Personal ranking: #2
3. Christian Gonzalez, Oregon
6’2”, 200 lbs., Junior
The Ducks' primary cornerback is putting together a breakout season in Eugene, which led him to rise on every draft board. Gonzalez is still a bit inconsistent and needs technical refinement, but he displays great instincts for the position and has high-end athleticism and speed to match up against pretty much anyone. Oregon’s leader in the secondary plays physical and he’s aggressive at the catch point. NFL teams will bet early on his tools and ball skills, although he’s not a finished product yet, I expect him to be selected in the first round.
Personal ranking: #5
4. Clark Phillips III, Utah
5’10”, 184 lbs., Junior
Phillips III has one of the best production profiles in the whole class, he always looks to be around the ball while making plays on it. He displays elite ball skills and timing and he’s also a well-above-average athlete who’s sticky in coverage. He can absorb direction changes extremely well and plays with anticipation. At 5’10”, 184 lbs., Phillips lacks size and many NFL teams will probably believe that he better projects as a slot corner. He’s though a very solid prospect who has the tools to have success on the outside. I expect him to be a first-round pick.
Personal ranking: #3
5. Cam Smith, South Carolina
6’0”, 185 lbs., Redshirt junior
The South Carolina promising prospect has been one of the most hyped cornerbacks in the class thus far but in reality, despite he possesses impressive physical tools, he has been pretty inconsistent to be considered to have a surefire first-round profile. Smith is a playmaker at the catch point who displays great instincts, physicality, and athleticism, but at the same time, his eyes lead him to be a little bit hit or miss. I’m still expecting NFL teams to make him a first-round pick because of his tools and potential though.
Personal ranking: #6
6. Emmanuel Forbes, Mississippi State
6’0”, 170 lbs., Junior
An absolute ballhawk with impressive ball skills, Forbes has one of the best ball production profiles in the class alongside Clark Phillips III. The Mississippi State star defensive back is a long playmaker with great eyes and natural instincts, he plays with anticipation and his size allows him to be a consistent playmaker at the catch point. He’s also a very fluid athlete with great long speed and stop-and-go ability. At the same time, he’s very slim and gets overpowered quite a lot, a factor that could lead him to struggle against bigger pass-catchers at the same level. As Forbes also needs to refine his game and be a little less impulsive, I expect him to be a second-round pick.
Personal ranking: #4
7. Mekhi Garner, LSU
6’2”, 218 lbs., Redshirt senior
A big-time physical cornerback who can also count on solid athleticism, Garner projects as a press-man corner at the next level. He can take on pretty much anyone at the line of scrimmage given his speed and strength, at the same time though, Garner is a bit undisciplined, which leads him to be inconsistent and hit-or-miss. Despite being a veteran, Garner still has to work in order to improve in that area, but he has the tools to become a reliable NFL starter. I’m expecting him to be a second-round pick.
Personal ranking: #8
8. Eli Ricks, Alabama
6’2”, 190 lbs., Junior
The former 5-star recruit and LSU transfer has seen his draft stock take a huge hit after landing in Tuscaloosa. In his first season with the Crimson Tide, Ricks has dealt with small injuries and struggled with playing time, leading him to fall from a top-15 pick to not even being considered a first-rounder. When on the field though, Ricks has shown why he has everything needed in order to become a shutdown NFL cornerback given his big-time technical refinement, footwork, athleticism, and instincts. After seeing his draft stock fall this much, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him come back for his senior season. In case he declares though, I expect him to be selected in the third round. Ricks is uber-talented and has become one of the most underrated players in the draft.
Personal ranking: #7
9. Kyu Blu Kelly, Stanford
6’1”, 189 lbs., Senior
Blu Kelly is a reliable press-man corner who is disciplined and possesses the right instincts and physical to be above average in that area. Although, there are some question marks about his athleticism as he suffers on vertical routes against speedy receivers and he struggles at absorbing direction changes. Blu Kelly has the makings of a starting NFL cornerback but he still has some work to do. I expect him to be a third-round pick.
Personal ranking: #10
10. Jarrick Bernard-Converse, LSU
6’1”, 198 lbs., Redshirt senior
The Oklahoma State transfer has been reliable in his first season with the Geaux Tigers. Bernard-Converse is a legit playmaker at the catch point, able to impose himself physically and perform in press coverage. Despite not possessing high-end athleticism, he’s a very consistent force on the outside who can become an above-average starter at the next level. I expect him to be a third-round pick.