The 2022 NFL Draft is just hours away and our positional previews continue chugging along. After breaking down the edge-rushing crop of talent — which is a high-profile group — we shift out to the cornerback position, which also has quite a bit of intrigue.
While a pass rush will also keep the opposing aerial attack at bay, a solid secondary is the ultimate security blanket for any defense. And for a number of teams that could use a boost at the position, the first round will be incredibly important to get a top-notch prospect.
On Pro Football Focus’ big board of the top 250 college football prospects, three of the top 11 overall prospects are cornerbacks with an additional three (six in total) featured in the top 31.
Here are the top six cornerbacks ranked by PFF along with their overall ranks and their 2021 stats.
2022 NFL Draft Running Back Rankings
1) Derek Stingley Jr., LSU (ranked 2nd overall)
- 3 games, 8 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1 forced fumble (Career stats: 25 games, 73 tackles, 6 INT, 7.0 tackles for loss, 2 forced fumbles)
2) Ahmad Gardner, Cincinnati (4th overall)
- 13 games, 40 tackles, 3 INT, 4 passes defended, 3.0 sacks, 5.0 tackles for loss
3) Trent McDuffie, Washington (11th overall)
- 11 games, 35 tackles, 0 INT, 6 passes defended, 1.0 sack, 4.0 tackles for loss
4) Andrew Booth Jr., Clemson (23rd overall)
- 11 games, 37 tackles, 3 INT, 5 passes defended, 3.0 tackles for loss
5) Kaiir Elam, Florida (29th overall)
- 10 games, 29 tackles, 1 INT, 5 passes defended, 1.5 tackles for loss
6) Jalen Pitre, Baylor (31st overall)
- 14 games, 75 tackles, 2 INT, 7 passes defended, 3.5 sacks, 18.5 tackles for loss
2022 NFL Draft: Top CB taken odds
As it stands on Thursday morning, Ahmad Gardner is the favorite to be the first cornerback taken in the NFL Draft despite Derek Stingley Jr.’s high ranking.
Odds courtesy of DraftKings, who are offering new users a to win $150 on a $5 bet when they wager on the NFL Draft. To claim this offer, click here.
Potential Landing Spots
Where might each of these cornerbacks go? The oddsmakers at DraftKings have the top five favorites (any position) for each pick in the first round.
- No. 2 (Lions): Ahmad Gardner (+2233)
- No. 32 (Lions): Daxton Hill (+800)
- Detroit’s 31 passing touchdowns allowed was tied for the third-most yielded in the NFL last season.
- No. 3 (Texans): Derek Stingley Jr. (+133), Ahmad Gardner (+443)
- No. 13 (Texans): Derek Stingley Jr. (+750)
- The Texans will try to cushion the loss of Terrance Mitchell, who they cut in March, to pair alongside Desmond King.
- No. 4 (Jets): Ahmad Gardner (+333)
- No. 10 (Jets): Derek Stingley Jr. (+666)
- The Jets’ secondary came up with just seven interceptions last season, tied for second-fewest in the NFL. They also allowed the third-most passing yards in the league.
- No. 5 (Giants): Ahmad Gardner (+383)
- No. 7 (Giants): Ahmad Gardner (+258), Derek Stingley Jr. (+341)
- Given the cap crunch, it appears that No. 1 corner James Bradberry will be headed out of town. The Giants’ secondary allowed the seventh-most passing first downs last season (216).
- No. 9 (Seahawks): Derek Stingley Jr. (+400)
- The Seahawks yielded the second-most passing yards in the NFL in 2021 with just 11 interceptions.
- No. 12 (Vikings): Trent McDuffie (+550), Derek Stingley Jr. (+550), Kaiir Elam (+600), Ahmad Gardner (+1000)
- The Vikings brought Patrick Peterson back, but Minnesota’s secondary needs more depth behind him.
- No. 15 (Eagles): Trent McDuffie (+800)
- No. 18 (Eagles): Trent McDuffie (+600)
- The CB position has long been an area of need for the Eagles, who allowed 409 completions last year — fifth-most in the NFL.
- No. 17 (Chargers): Kaiir Elam (+350)
- The Chargers have the pass rush to get to the quarterback, but when he gets the ball off, there hasn’t been much resistance. Only seven teams had less than their 11 interceptions last season, but they made a big move in getting JC Jackson.
- No. 21 (Patriots): Andrew Booth Jr. (+900), Kyler Gordon (+1200)
- The Patriots might have had the second-best passing defense in the NFL last season, but the loss of Jackson to LA is one that needs to be addressed.
- No. 25 (Bills): Andrew Booth Jr. (+900), Kyler Gordon (+900), Kaiir Elam (+1000)
- Levi Wallace is now in Pittsburgh and the book is still out on whether Dane Jackson is good enough to be a full-time starter within Buffalo’s vaunted defense.
- No. 27 (Buccaneers): Daxton Hill (+700)
- The Bucs could be looking to add some more depth to an already solid defensive backfield.
- No. 29 (Chiefs): Kyler Gordon (+1000)
- The Chiefs allowed the sixth-most passing yards in the NFL last season and their 27 touchdowns allowed was in the bottom half of the league, as well.
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