Just one year ago, Clemson had a cornerback selected in the top half of the NFL Draft. Less than a year out from the 2022 NFL Draft, Andrew Booth has the potential to be the next first-round defensive back from “Death Valley.” Long, athletic, and blessed with a swagger that has come to define the cornerback position, does Booth’s scouting report confirm his first-round candidacy or question his credentials?
Andrew Booth NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Cornerback
- School: Clemson
- Current Year: Junior
- Height: 6’0″
- Weight: 195 pounds
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Andrew Booth 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 exceptional length, which is far more critical right now and at the next 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. Additionally, this gives him an advantage in contested-catch situations.
Physicality and athleticism
Booth also has an advantage in contested-catch situations due to his physicality. 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 shows with his willingness to impact the ground game.
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 go toe to toe with 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.
Areas for improvement
With four starts in two years (including just 65 snaps in 2019), Booth is relatively inexperienced compared to some other 2022 NFL Draft cornerback prospects. That inexperience shows on film, with some areas of his game requiring refinement before he can be considered an elite prospect.
By his admission, Booth relies on his athleticism over his football intelligence. Although there was clear development in this area between 2019 and 2020, he’ll need to demonstrate a continual progression in this area in the upcoming college football season.
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.
However, these are all issues that the Clemson cornerback can iron out with further experience. Booth should be a full-time starter for the Tigers this year. Thus, offering him every opportunity to develop the positive elements of his game while eradicating the negative. If he does, there’s no reason why he won’t be one of the top cornerbacks in the 2022 NFL Draft class.
Andrew 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.
Andrew 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.
Derek Stingley Jr. is the deserved frontrunner to be the top cornerback in the 2022 NFL Draft class. Still, Booth is likely to be amongst a group of athletic playmakers who will push him all the way to April. The upcoming season will determine how hard the Clemson cornerback pushes the likes of Stingley and Kaiir Elam and whether he can join former teammate Terrell as a first-round NFL Draft selection.
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Oliver Hodgkinson is an NFL Draft Analyst for Pro Football Network. You can follow him on Twitter at @ojhodgkinson.