There’s been a recent wave of risers within the 2021 NFL Draft cornerback class. As a result, other proven players have fallen down the board. One of those overlooked NFL Draft prospects is Cal cornerback Camryn Bynum. What does Bynum bring to the table as an NFL Draft prospect, and where might he fall on the draft board when April rolls around?
Camryn Bynum NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Cornerback
- School: California
- Current Year: Redshirt Senior
- Height: 6’0 3/8″
- Weight: 198 pounds
- Wingspan: 76″
- Arm: 30 3/4″
- Hand: 9 5/8″
Tony Pauline’s Camryn Bynum Scouting Report
Positives: Four-year starter and two-time captain of the Cal football team. Tough, instinctive cornerback with terrific ball skills. Quick flipping his hips, loses nothing in transition, and rarely makes mental mistakes or gets beaten on the field. Plays heads-up football, possesses next-level ball skills and awareness, and displays excellent hands for the interception. Rarely challenged by opposing quarterbacks. Plays faster than his 40 time, takes proper angles, and gives effort defending the run. Squares and wraps up tackling.
Negatives: Struggles against larger pass catchers. Ran better than expected during pro day workouts but had the propensity of getting beat deep in college. Lack of deep speed will be an issue at the next level.
Analysis: Bynum was a terrific cornerback four years running at Cal and has the ball skills and instincts to start at the next level. He finished a terrific college career by performing well at the Senior Bowl and will be good value as Day 2 of the draft closes out.
Camryn Bynum Player Profile
Often, higher-ranked high school recruits have clearer paths to playing time, while the lower-ranked recruits have to work to get out of the weeds. Being a three-star recruit in the 2016 recruiting class, Bynum had a bit of a choice to make. Depending on what school he went to, he could have opportunities early, or he could be forced to wait for his chance.
Bynum had offers from schools with more roster clarity like San Jose State, Colorado State, Army, Nevada, Boise State, and Boston College. However, he instead chose to suit up for the Cal Golden Bears of the Pac-12. From there, he broke the trend, proving that hard work can reap benefits sooner rather than later.
Camryn Bynum’s career as a Cal cornerback
It would, of course, take a year for Bynum to see the field. Then just 180 pounds, Bynum had room to add to his frame. He also needed a year of acclimation to the Power Five level. A year was all Bynum needed, however. When he came back in 2017 as a redshirt freshman, he wasted no more time looking to make an impact.
In 2017, Bynum became an immediate contributor for the Golden Bears. He amassed 58 tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss, a half-sack, 2 interceptions, and 8 passes defended in 12 games. It was a stellar freshman campaign, but Bynum didn’t bask. He just kept going.
He started all 13 games in 2018, tallying 48 tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss, a half-sack, 2 interceptions, and 9 deflections. And in 2019, he again reprised his role as a top defensive playmaker, earning 59 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 1 interception, and 9 deflections in 13 games.
Bynum’s short but impactful 2020 season
In March of 2020, Bynum tore his meniscus. It was a two-pronged time of adversity, but Bynum, relishing the challenge, ultimately saw it as an opportunity to put his head down and grind through his rehabilitation to the 2020 season.
The Cal cornerback managed to return for fall camp. However, when the Pac-12 postponed the fall season, it put Bynum in a tough spot. On September 6, Bynum announced his decision to opt-out of a potential spring or winter season, to instead prepare for the NFL Draft. However, when the Pac-12 reversed course just a month later, reinstating the fall season, Bynum opted back in.
Bynum only played four games for the Golden Bears, but he had another productive season. In that span, the Cal cornerback logged 19 tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss, 1 interception, and 2 pass deflections. For the first time in his career, he earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors. With his 2020 season now concluded, Bynum had nothing left to accomplish in college. So he turned his sights to the NFL Draft.
Analyzing Camryn Bynum’s NFL Draft profile
There’s a lot to like in Camryn Bynum’s game. On the surface, he’s one of the more under-the-radar cornerbacks in the 2021 NFL Draft. However, on tape, he flashes a lot of the necessary traits to be an eventual starter, and a versatile one at that.
Bynum’s athletic profile is solid. He stands just above 6 feet tall with decent length and density. For his size, Bynum also possesses good functional athleticism. He’s very fluid when transitioning his hips, and he shows flashes of impressive explosiveness when coming downhill. Additionally, he tracks most receivers downfield and sticks to hip pockets.
The Cal cornerback has fairly easy movement skills, and this allows him to traverse the field with ease, both in man coverage and zone coverage. In the short-range, his lateral athleticism is also excellent. When he squares up players, he brings solid tackling ability as well.
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Beyond his athletic profile, Bynum brings an aggressive, physical style of play to the field, as well as excellent instincts. Bynum plays with fast feet at the line, and he couples those feet with active hands in press coverage.
Even against larger receivers, he’s not afraid to disrupt route stems with his hands, and he flashes ball skills in contested situations. In run defense, his proactive playstyle shows up as well. Bynum has the instinctive quickness to sidestep blockers and shoot into the backfield for losses, and he’s fairly physical against blockers, especially those who mirror him in size.
What are the concerns with Camryn Bynum?
Off of his positives, Cal cornerback Camryn Bynum is a very enticing NFL Draft prospect. Having said that, there are some areas of concern to take into account.
While Bynum is a good athlete, I don’t know if he has elite speed or explosiveness. He has no trouble mirroring larger receivers or non-elite athletes, but how will he fare against the more dynamic receivers of the NFL?
Bynum doesn’t always have the best recovery quickness and closing speed, especially against sharp in-breaking routes. He can also give up too much space on slants. Additionally, while Bynum shows flashes of ball skills, he can be more consistent in this area. At his best, Bynum can track passes at all three levels and extend to make plays on the ball. However, in some instances, he’ll fail to locate the ball, or position himself properly to make a play.
The fact that Bynum shows the capacity for playmaking is promising, but it’s a trait he’ll have to hone further at the professional level. Bynum can also stand to further bulk up his frame and increase his raw play strength.
Camryn Bynum’s best fits in the 2021 NFL Draft
The positives outweigh the negatives for Bynum, who’s a decent athletic prospect with good instincts and physicality to match. Since 2017, he’s been one of the most productive cornerbacks in college football.
Bynum is versatile, with snaps logged on the boundary, in the slot, and at safety. He’ll have a chance to reinforce that reputation in the NFL. Of course, he also has some questions to answer, and his showing at the Senior Bowl didn’t quite resolve those issues.
PFN Draft and Betting analyst Jarrett Bailey had the task of scouting the defensive backs at the Senior Bowl this year. In his summary of Bynum’s play, he noted similar inconsistencies to those that appeared on tape and had this to say about Bynum’s week in Mobile in the National Team Practice Report:
“It was a week of ups and downs for Bynum. He was beaten on multiple occasions in one-on-ones, but Bynum did have his moments where he was unshakable and made plays on the ball. He could be a hit or miss guy at the next level.”
Bynum can struggle against opposing quickness and sharp route breaks. Sometimes he trusts his instincts to a fault, pulling the trigger too quickly on plays. Luckily, given his physical fluidity and instincts, many of Bynum’s faults seem coachable. And Bynum, a two-time captain, is a very coachable football player. Yet, he’ll be 23 years old by the start of his first season, so it’ll be up to the team that drafts him to waste no time with his development.
Which teams could fit Bynum’s skillset best?
If Bynum can reach his full potential, he could be a starter at the NFL level. His modest versatility gives him some trans-positional appeal for teams who favor that flexibility in the secondary.
Right now, he seems to be an early Day 3 prospect who potentially jumps into the end of Round 3. Teams like the Carolina Panthers, San Francisco 49ers, Cincinnati Bengals, and Houston Texans, could utilize his talents. However, his solid man-zone versatility makes him an ideal match in that Day 3 range for plenty more teams.
The sheer volume of late risers in this cornerback class has rendered Bynum a relative afterthought. However, Bynum should not be forgotten, either. He doesn’t quite have the size-speed combination that some of the top cornerbacks are lauded for, but he has an enticing skill set in his own right — one that could ultimately help an NFL team win down the road.
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