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2024 NFL Draft: Ranking Top 15 Cornerback Prospects

Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Kool-Aid McKinstry
Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Kool-Aid McKinstry (1) celebrates after a missed field goal by LSU at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

A number of cornerbacks will likely go in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft. But who will be the first to come off the board? These 15 players are all candidates to be among the first cornerbacks taken.

Here are the top 15 cornerbacks available in the 2024 NFL Draft.



15. Andru Phillips, Kentucky

Rated on a 1-9 scale.

Big Board Rank: 95

Height: 5-foot-11

Weight: 190 pounds

Andru Phillips projects as a No. 3 cornerback who fits best in the slot. He really should only play on the outside if asked to play in shallow zones because he’ll get bullied by bigger targets. In the slot, he has the quickness, transition ability and closing speed to stay with today’s slot receivers.

Additionally, if asked to press, he should have an easier time doing so against the smaller targets. Playing in the slot will also allow him to help more in the run game, something he’s not afraid to do. Granted, he could become a better tackler. While he can man up slot receivers, he can make a difference in zones, using his high football intelligence and fluidity all over the field.

He has limited collegiate experience and may have a tough time early on, but he has high-end traits that should allow him to develop into a strong NFL player. He could carve out a role on special teams based on his willingness to be physical in the run game, but he may have a tough time given his size and inefficient tackling ability.

>>READ MORE: Phillips' Full Scouting Report

14. T.J. Tampa, Iowa State

Big Board Rank: 87

Height: 6-foot-1

Weight: 189 pounds

T.J. Tampa projects as a No. 3 outside-only corner in a press-man or zone scheme at the next level. He has the length to be a solid press corner if he consistently gets contact at the line and reroutes receivers. He also has the zone awareness to play as a Cover-2 or Cover-3 defender.

Tampa lacks the quickness and reactive ability to slide down into the slot, making him someone who will need to stay outside to succeed in coverage. He will best be used on third downs as an outside press corner. He needs to bulk up a little bit, but he has the size, speed and toughness to be an effective member of most special teams units.

>>READ MORE: Tampa's Full Scouting Report

13. Kris Abrams-Draine, Missouri

Big Board Rank: 81

Height: 5-foot-11

Weight: 179 pounds

Kris Abrams-Draine projects as a No. 3 corner, playing predominantly on the outside. He is scheme versatile, but his physicality and feel for routes would be best suited for a man-heavy scheme where he can play a mix of press and off-man. His length, physicality and long speed make him a key contributor on all special teams units, especially if he can develop his tackling form in space.

>>READ MORE: Abrams-Draine's Full Scouting Report

12. Mike Sainristil, Michigan

Big Board Rank: 75

Height: 5-foot-9

Weight: 182 pounds

Mike Sainristil has all the makings of a top-level slot corner in the NFL. He has scheme versatility and will thrive whether asked to play primarily man or zone coverage. While he played outside some in college and getting a few reps out wide in base personnel at the next level is not out of the question, he will be best used inside in the nickel role. Sainristil should play there on third downs, as well.

He has a small amount of experience returning punts in college and will be solid on kickoff coverage if asked to be. However, he will likely not do this often past his first season due to the value he will bring on a play-to-play basis.

>>READ MORE: Sainristil's Full Scouting Report

11. Josh Newton, TCU

Big Board Rank: 63

Height: 5-foot-11

Weight: 190 pounds

Josh Newton projects best as a No. 3 cornerback with inside/outside versatility in a press-man or zone coverage scheme. Pressing will allow him to stay on top of receivers, and playing zones will help him use his awareness and ball skills. He is a natural outside corner, though he should be capable from the slot, which could ultimately turn into his best position. He’ll need to improve in the run game and quit giving up the inside, but he has the traits to see time at the next level.

On third downs, pressing him at the line will put him in the best position to succeed. His skill set suggests he should be at least a sufficient contributor on most special teams units.

>>READ MORE: Newton's Full Scouting Report

10. Jarvis Brownlee Jr., Louisville

Big Board Rank: 58

Height: 5-foot-10

Weight: 194 pounds

Jarvis Brownlee Jr. projects as a No. 3 cornerback with inside/outside flexibility at the next level. In a zone scheme, he can excel on the outside, where he can press and then work back into a zone and use his instincts to make plays. In a man scheme, he could work the slot with his reactive athleticism and physicality, where he’d likely fit best on third downs.

He also projects as a core special teams player, with extensive experience on all units throughout his collegiate career due to his physical playing style.

>>READ MORE: Brownlee's Full Scouting Report

9. Caelen Carson, Wake Forest

Big Board Rank: 55

Height: 6-foot

Weight: 199 pounds

Caelen Carson has the qualities of a capable starter who is best suited to play outside, but he has the versatility to serve as a third corner both inside and outside early in his career. He also shows the ability to serve as a backup safety, playing zone well and reading the entire field when asked to. He has the quickness and transition to play in the slot, but he may need more seasoning there before he can become more than sufficient, making him an outside player on third downs.

Carson is scheme-versatile but would work best in zone or press until he trusts himself in off-man, though that could be where he excels if everything comes together. While he is a four-year player, multiple season-ending injuries have limited his snaps. So, he still has plenty of room for growth, he just needs more reps. His tenacity, speed and tackling skills will also help him contribute as a core special teams player.

>>READ MORE: Carson's Full Scouting Report

8. Kalen King, Penn State

Big Board Rank: 46

Height: 5-foot-11

Weight: 191 pounds

Kalen King projects as a No. 3 corner in a balanced man and zone coverage system. He also has the experience and versatility to play in the slot, even though he is more comfortable outside. His playing temperament and physical toughness will allow him to play on special teams at the next level.

>>READ MORE: King's Full Scouting Report

7. Kamari Lassiter, Georgia

Big Board Rank: 35

Height: 6-foot

Weight: 186 pounds

Kamari Lassiter projects as a No. 3 cornerback who is better on the outside but has the flexibility to play inside or out in either a zone or off-man scheme. He has the willingness to play press but will need to get stronger and less grabby if he wants to play it consistently against bigger receivers.

Lassiter will be best staying outside on third downs. The combination of his playing speed, toughness and tackling skills suggest he will make his mark early on in his career as a special teamer while developing his coverage traits to be a starting corner in a few years.

>>READ MORE: Lassiter's Full Scouting Report

6. Cooper DeJean, Iowa

Big Board Rank: 34

Height: 6-foot-1

Weight: 203 pounds

Cooper DeJean projects as a high-end No. 3 corner in a zone or press-man scheme at the next level, although zones will use his strengths better consistently. He can play inside and outside due to his speed, short-area quickness and high football intelligence. He also has the smarts to, if a team wanted, slot in as a safety to diagnose things on the backend.

On third downs, he can play zones on the outside or slide into the slot to take away quicker targets. He has some ability to play on core special teams units, but his dynamic return ability is something that should allow him to step in right away and contribute.

>>READ MORE: DeJean's Full Scouting Report

5. Terrion Arnold, Alabama

Big Board Rank: 32

Height: 6-foot-0

Weight: 189 pounds

Terrion Arnold projects as a No. 3 cornerback by his second season with the ability to play inside and out in primarily a man scheme for a team that asks its corners to press a fair amount. Due to some size and strength limitations, he may struggle some on the outside early, but he has the skill set to be given the opportunity. In the meantime, he should be an asset in the slot, which could become his best position.

On third downs, allowing him to work out of the slot will use his strengths early on. With his speed, toughness and willingness in the run game, he should be a core special teamer on most units.

>>READ MORE: Arnold's Full Scouting Report

4. Quinyon Mitchell Jr., Toledo

Big Board Rank: 28

Height: 6-foot-0

Weight: 195 pounds

Quinyon Mitchell projects as a starting three-down corner. He is a twitchy corner with great closing speed and ball skills and is solid all around in coverage. He will be best used in a scheme that asks him to be in man coverage on the outside or playing deep zone.

While he has the goods in pass coverage, he must improve his effort in the run game to be consistently trusted at the next level. Mitchell should not be considered for slot use until he shows improvement in this area. He has special teams experience covering kicks and punts and projects as a sufficient special teamer but does not show the urgency to be a difference-maker in this area.

>>READ MORE: Mitchell's Full Scouting Report

3. Ennis Rakestraw Jr., Missouri

Big Board Rank: 17

Height: 5-foot-11

Weight: 183 pounds

Ennis Rakestraw Jr. projects as a solid starting corner at the next level who plays predominantly in man coverage. He should excel in off-coverage, given his transition ability, but he should also excel in press, assuming he can get a little bit stronger and improve some of his technique. He has the instincts to be effective in zones but will be much better off for a defense in man. While he should mainly be an outside corner, he can slide into the slot in nickel and dime packages and not miss a beat.

He likely won't play much on special teams, given he’ll be a starting corner, but he could contribute such as by being a jammer on punt returns.

>>READ MORE: Rakestraw's Full Scouting Report

2. Nate Wiggins, Clemson

Big Board Rank: 14

Height: 6-foot-1

Weight: 173 pounds

Nate Wiggins projects as a high-end NFL starting cornerback who is scheme-versatile. He plays man coverage best but would also be more than adequate in zone coverage. If he can get a little bit stronger and fill out his frame, his skill set presents potential for elite status among NFL cornerbacks. While he can be a good slot corner, he should see most of his time on the outside.

On third downs, allowing him to press at the line and use his reactive athleticism to mirror receivers will help his defense the most. He’d likely be a good jammer on punt returns, but shyness in the run game and as a tackler makes him a player who likely only sufficiently contributes if needed on special teams.

>>READ MORE: Wiggins' Full Scouting Report

1. Kool-Aid McKinstry, Alabama

Big Board Rank: 13

Height: 6-foot-0

Weight: 199 pounds

Kool-Aid McKinstry is an ideal fit for a defense that uses a lot of man coverage, and he will be asked to shadow the elite pass catchers in today's NFL. He has a rare blend of size, quickness and long speed, along with physicality that will embarrass receivers attempting to block him. He can be effective in any scheme and potentially grow into any role.

His dynamic athleticism and flashes of savvy and passion could lead to him being one of the top players on defense at the next level. He is truly a four-down player and can assist special teams on coverage and as a returner.

>>READ MORE: McKinstry's Full Scouting Report