Skip to content
GO TO bet365 Sports
There is more exciting NFL action on Sunday
  1. NFL

NFL Draft top cornerback prospects: NFL teams to dive into deep corner pool

The 2023 cornerback draft class is deep enough for several prospects to be taken in the first round with a view to being legitimate day one starters for their new teams.

Last year, the third and fourth picks were cornerbacks and while there might not be anyone as talented as Sauce Gardner out there this time, there are some talented types to watch out for.

Christian Gonzalez - Oregon

Gonzalez, who is -120 to be the first cornerback drafted, has the length and top-end speed that scouts look for in an NFL cover corner. 

During a college career that began in Colorado and finished in Oregon, he racked up over 125 tackles, four interceptions and 17 pass breakups. 

All his picks came in 2022 when Gonzalez tied for 22nd in the nation for them, and it would probably have been more if opponents didn't keep throwing away from him. 

He was rarely burned for big gains with three of his INTs coming on plays of 20-plus yards downfield when he only allowed two receptions for 69 receiving yards. 

A 40-yard dash time of 4.38 ranks in the 89th percentile for his position and the 6ft 1in prospect also scored well in other highly-relevant pre-draft measurables such as arm length. 

He demonstrated sufficient explosiveness with a 41.5 inch Vertical jump and a Broad jump of over 11 feet. 

His Relative Athletic Score is an elite-level 9.95 out of 10 and puts him in rare company with the likes of six-time Pro Bowl corner Jalen Ramsey.

Devon Witherspoon - Illinois

Witherspoon, -120 to be the first corner to go in the NFL Draft, is a very different type to Gonzalez with fewer physical traits that pop off the page. 

He's only 5ft 11in and 181 pounds with arms around three quarters of an inch shorter, but he seems to make up for that with his iron will and ability to punish in the tackle. 

A cornerstone of the Illini's top-ranked FBS scoring defense, Witherspoon recorded 17 passes defended, three interceptions and 41 tackles (2.5 for loss) in 12 starts in 2022. 

He didn't work out at the Combine because of a hamstring injury, but boosted his draft stock by clocking 40-yard dash times of 4.46 and 4.42 seconds at a private workout for scouts this week.

Joey Porter Jr - Penn State

Son of the former Pittsburgh Steelers and Miami Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter, the Penn State star has the potential to be as big a name in the NFL as his famous father. 

In his four seasons with the Nittany Lions, Porter recorded 113 total tackles, 20 passes defended and an interception, earning All-American honors in 2022. 

He's among the taller members of his position group and weighs almost 200 pounds, but that sort of size comes at the cost of speed and explosiveness, according to his workout numbers. 

His game film tells a different story, however, as Porter - +2000 to be the First Cornerback Drafted - plays with a physical toughness that shines through in run support and the job of getting the ball carrier to the ground. 

He may not have the polish of some others and can occasionally get too physical with receivers, leading to him being handsy downfield. 

But he looks up at all the right times in coverage, has solid ball skills, and can quickly close gaps to receivers with his long stride.

Related NFL News

Five stars to follow ahead of the Draft

NFL Draft top tight end prospects: Best talents for a decade up for grabs

Brian Branch - Alabama

Branch, +2500 to be the first CB drafted, performed at a high level throughout his college career with the Crimson Tide as mainly a nickel corner. 

But he projects to be a strong safety at pro level due to his slower-than-average speed and lack of experience in man coverage. 

Branch was excellent at deciphering the offensive play and snuffing it out with 14 of his 90 total tackles last season being behind the line of scrimmage in addition to three sacks. 

He also recorded seven pass breakups, two interceptions, and returned a punt for a touchdown to illustrate his all-round ability. 

Scouts rave about Branch's football smarts and it would be no surprise to see him go to the New England Patriots, who tend to value those traits over athleticism. 

He also left a major lasting impression in his final Alabama appearance by recording a career-high 12 tackles, including four for a loss and one sack, plus an interception in the Sugar Bowl.

Deonte Banks - Maryland

Banks, +4000 to be the first corner drafter, is a special athlete that has almost the prototypical size, speed and agility for an NFL corner. 

He moves exceptionally well for his 6ft height and clocked a 4.35 time for the 40-yard dash that made a lot of people sit up and take notice. 

He might have been underrated at Maryland because of some erratic performances in high-profile games against Ohio State. 

But the Terrapins' scheme was challenging for its corners with Banks often put in one-on-one situations with comparatively little help on every snap. 

Aside from his dash time, which put him in the 92nd percentile, Banks recorded a 42-inch vertical jump (97th percentile), an 11ft 4in broad jump (98th percentile), and has 32-inch arms, which should ensure he goes within the first 31 selections.

Related Articles

bet365 uses cookies

We use cookies to deliver a better and more personalized service. For more information, see our Cookie Policy

New to bet365? Bet $1 & Get $365 in Bonus Bets

Join Now

Deposit required. Bonus Bet winnings are added to Bonus Bets balance. Bonus Bet wager excluded from returns. T&Cs, time limits and exclusions apply.