When the 2022 NFL Draft kicks off, Andrew Booth Jr. has the potential to be the next first-round defensive back from “Death Valley.” The Clemson CB is long, athletic, and blessed with a swagger that has come to define the cornerback position. Although there have been reports of concern over his stock, Booth has an NFL Draft scouting report that goes toe-to-toe with any of his contemporaries in this class.
Andrew Booth Jr. NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Cornerback
- School: Clemson
- Current Year: Junior
- Height: 6’0 1/4″
- Weight: 194 pounds
- Wingspan: 76 7/8″
- Arm: 31 1/2″
- Hand: 9 3/8″
Andrew Booth Jr. Scouting Report
Booth possesses the requisite size to play the cornerback position in the NFL. At 6’0″, he won’t be the tallest in the 2022 NFL Draft class, but by no means will he be the smallest. Furthermore, Booth has excellent length, which is far more critical at the NFL level. He has already demonstrated that he can put that length to good use with some phenomenal interceptions and pass breakups.
That leads nicely to the next element of his scouting profile. Booth owns excellent ball skills and tracking with strong hands. Because of this, the Clemson CB has shown he can go up and get the ball at its highest point. His ability to impact the ball at the highest point, with ludicrous vertical explosion, is extremely impressive. Additionally, this gives him an advantage in contested-catch situations.
Contrary to some rumors circulating, I believe you see Booth fight with physicality at the catch point. The Clemson cornerback is not afraid to mix it up with bigger receivers, helped by his belief that he’s the best player out there. He plays the game with archetypal cornerback swagger and has the goods to back it up.
Booth’s physicality also shows up with his willingness to impact the ground game. An aggressive playmaker in run support, he attacks his man with physicality. While there are some technical elements to smooth out as a tackler, there’s no questioning his willingness or physicality. He can use his length and physicality to shed blocks with relative ease.
An explosive athlete with improved football intelligence and versatility
Despite impressing in all of the above areas, Booth’s best attribute as an NFL Draft prospect will be his athleticism. In my notes taken during his film study, the word athletic is in block capitals, underlined, and with a box drawn around to set it aside from everything else. The Clemson cornerback is fast, fluid, and full of energy.
Booth flies around the field, flashing impressive long speed to match receivers downfield. He also owns the exceptional short-area speed to click and close with ease. The cornerback has quick feet, loose hips, and as a result, a tremendous change-of-direction ability.
Booth’s development in the mental approach to the game has been noticeable this season. In addition to his ball-tracking ability, he reads the game in front of him well. With his ability to understand short and intermediate passing concepts, he has the athletic ability to act upon his reads.
As a result, he presents as a versatile prospect who can slide into man or zone schemes. With versatility, athleticism, and a developing football intelligence, Booth has all the attributes you look for in an NFL Draft CB prospect. Like Clemson cornerbacks of past draft classes, he has the potential to be an impactful playmaker as a starting outside CB.
Areas for improvement
Although Booth has a scouting report that I believe makes him the top cornerback in the 2022 NFL Draft class, there is some room for improvement. Meanwhile, there are some injury concerns that could be impacting his eventual draft selection.
The Clemson CB battled injury, and missed a small amount of time, during his final season with the Tigers. He has essentially missed the entire pre-draft process as a result of multiple injuries. One of those required surgery. For a prospect whose stock is predicated on incredible athletic ability, that could cause an issue for NFL teams. From what we’re hearing, it already might have caused a slide down draft boards.
Booth’s physical and often overzealous approach to the game can have undesirable consequences. During his freshman season, he was ejected for throwing a punch at a Louisville player. Additionally, there are several examples on tape of him mistiming tackles or biting on route fakes due to his eagerness to make a play.
While mistiming can be an issue on tackling, there are some technical issues that can use some refinement. He can be prone to ankle tackles and shoestring attempts, which have gone largely unpunished at the college level. At the NFL level, they could be more costly. Wrapping up with consistency will vastly improve his game in this regard.
Booth’s Player Profile
A three-year starter at Archer High School in Georgia, Booth impressed early and often. As a junior, he earned first-team All-County, All-Region, and All-State honors, justifying his exceptional recruiting profile. Booth was a consensus five-star recruit, viewed as the second-best cornerback in the 2019 class and a top-25 player in the nation.
As you’d expect, college football programs across the nation battled to woo Booth. The star cornerback attracted the attention of Alabama, Ohio State, Notre Dame, and his home state Georgia Bulldogs. Yet, before the start of his senior season, Booth committed to Clemson.
His commitment to the Tigers never wavered through a senior campaign where he was named the County Defensive Back of the Year. Demonstrating ability beyond the defensive backfield, Booth became the Region Specialist of the Year. The award was further evidence of his insane athletic ability. In addition to the 3 punt return touchdowns that helped secure the specialist award, he logged 22 receptions with 557 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns in his high school career.
Booth finished his time at Archer with 162 tackles, 13 interceptions, 44 pass breakups, 4 forced fumbles, and was named an Under Armour All-American.
Booth’s career at Clemson
Booth faced a battle for snaps in a stacked defensive backfield despite his incredible athletic profile and status as a top high school recruit. Although he made his debut against Georgia Tech and played in all 13 games, he played just 65 defensive snaps behind future first-rounder A.J. Terrell and a host of talent in the secondary.
Still, his special-teams ability ensured he contributed to the team beyond his 6 tackles and 1 pass breakup. Booth may have only made four starts for the Tigers in his sophomore season, but he saw an uptick in snaps to 335 as he began to assert his influence on the ACC. Through a season where he earned second-team All-ACC, he registered 30 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 4 pass breakups, 1 sack, and 2 interceptions.
Simple statistics don’t tell the whole story of Booth’s sensational sophomore year. He earned ACC Defensive Back of the Week honors after a mind-blowing one-handed interception against Virginia. The Clemson cornerback’s athleticism had never been in question. However, with further acrobatic performances against Miami and Pittsburgh, he cemented his status as one of the most exciting cornerbacks in the country.
Booth’s NFL Draft ascension
Booth began his NFL Draft ascension in the season opener against Georgia. The Clemson cornerback impressed in a defensive slugfest with the eventual national champions. With 5 tackles (1 for loss) and a pass breakup, the ascending cornerback earned team defensive player of the week honors.
Throughout the 2021 campaign, Booth continued to showcase the athletic, playmaking ball skills that have come to define his scouting report. He logged interceptions against Wake Forest and South Carolina, finishing the year with 3 interceptions and 5 pass breakups in 11 starts. Alongside teammate Mario Goodrich, the Clemson CB earned first-team All-ACC honors.
Despite battling injury, Booth proved himself to be one of the top cornerback prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft. While he lands as the CB2 and 11th overall player on the Pro Football Network Top 300 Big Board, there are rumblings he might not live up to that standing due to his inability to test during the process. If he does fall, an NFL team will get a steal with a player that ranks as the CB1 on my personal Top 300 Big Board.
Tony Pauline’s Scouting Report for Andrew Booth Jr.
Positives: Smallish, instinctive cornerback with outstanding ball skills. Displays great patience, discipline, and awareness of what’s happening on the field. Smooth and fluid pedaling in reverse, quick flipping his hips in transition, and shows terrific playing speed with the ability to recover.
Stays with receivers all over the field, remains on the opponent’s hip out of breaks, and shows an explosive burst to the ball. Battles opponents, does not back down from a challenge, and plays big football. Fires upfield and gives effort defending the run. Instinctive, effectively diagnoses plays, and is rarely challenged by opponents.
Negatives: Gets outmatched by taller wideouts. Gets a little tall in his backpedal on occasion.
Analysis: Booth was a good nickel back at Clemson in 2020 and really elevated his game last season. He’s not the big-bodied cornerback a lot of teams want in this day and age of the NFL. Rather he’s an instinctive and athletic prospect with next-level ball skills.