Decamerion Richardson’s Draft Profile | Mississippi State, CB Scouting Report

There's still work to do for Decamerion Richardson, but with his 2024 NFL Draft scouting report, he has one of the class' highest ceilings.

Mississippi State’s Decamerion Richardson could be one of the biggest sleepers in the deep 2024 NFL Draft cornerback class. What does Richardson’s scouting report say about his NFL potential, and what does he need to do to reach his ceiling?

Decamerion Richardson’s Draft Profile and Measurements

  • Height: 6’2 1/4″
  • Weight: 188 pounds
  • Length: 32 3/8″
  • Wingspan: 77 7/8″
  • Hand: 8 7/8″
  • Position: Cornerback
  • School: Mississippi State
  • Current Year: Senior

Prospect evaluation is ultimately about projecting what players can be. And in that exercise, Richardson stands out as a high-potential investment for NFL teams to consider.

Richardson first joined the Mississippi State Bulldogs as a three-star recruit in 2020, joining a defensive backfield that’s produced NFL talents like Martin Emerson and Emmanuel Forbes.

In his third year, Richardson saw his first full-time starting action, amassing 85 tackles, a tackle for loss, and three pass breakups in 2022. In 2023, he reached a career-high seven pass breakups and declared for the 2024 NFL Draft with eligibility remaining.

Richardson sometimes gets lost in the 2024 NFL Draft class, but all of the physical tools are there, and at its best moments, the tape is extremely compelling. At the NFL Combine, Richardson reaffirmed that potential with a 4.34-second 40-yard dash, a 6.96 three-cone, a 35″ vertical, and a 10’8″ vertical.

All of the measurements and testing numbers tell of unmatched upside with Richardson — but are there silver linings on the tape to warrant taking him early in the 2024 NFL Draft? That’s what we’re here to discuss.

Richardson’s Scouting Report

Strengths

  • Lean CB prospect with length, hyper-elite explosive capacity, and true vertical speed.
  • Has the instant acceleration and long strides to instantly close gaps out of transitions.
  • Charged-up short-area athlete with hyperactive twitch and energy in all phases.
  • Possesses impressive sink and hip fluidity for his size, and plays low in his stance.
  • Corrective twitch and fluidity, in concert, allow him to snap into phase and attack plays.
  • Has the malleability to seamlessly transition from shuffle-steps to vertical trail coverage.
  • Floats on his pedal, and can use shuffle-steps and kick-slides to maintain hip leverage.
  • Can plant-and-drive on quick hitches and curls with closing speed akin to teleportation.
  • Has shown he can play square to WR releases while using feet first in press-man.
  • Flashes impressive reaction to stimulus and recovery instincts against stacked releases.
  • Can manage route relationships in side-saddle and throttle up to erase vertical threats.
  • Has stellar zone awareness, and can pass off routes while monitoring the short range.
  • Eye discipline and crisp reactive athleticism enable him to navigate overlapping routes.
  • Able to recognize bubble screens and instantly trigger from depth with ruthless energy.
  • Ultra-physical, combative support CB who channels his burst into point-of-contact force.

Weaknesses

  • Fluidity isn’t quite elite, as taller frame can impact sink back toward the ball.
  • Occasionally widens his feet too far matching releases, which can snag hip transitions.
  • Sometimes relies on his length to a fault when WRs manage to offset him at stems.
  • Can be too aggressive in recovery, grabbing at WRs with extraneous physicality.
  • Hesitation and gather steps through plant-and-drive transitions can delay responses.
  • At times, prematurely commits to routes tracking outside his zone, leaving options open.
  • Is sometimes too comfortable in side-saddle, and lets WRs sneak into his blind spot.
  • Can improve at feeling WRs in his hip pocket and matching movements down the field.
  • Can be baited into drifting too far vertically and laterally by diamond releases.
  • Double moves can bait him into halting his feet, making him susceptible vertically.
  • Often fails to get his head back around on the vertical plane and find the football.
  • Has a wide disruption radius, but struggles to play the ball with precision at the catch.
  • Sometimes plays too far into blockers’ frames, and leaves extra cutback space outside.
  • Brings great effort in support, but reckless technique can make him easier to control.
  • Support angles are too narrow on occasion, allowing cutback space inside for runners.

Current Draft Projection and Summary

Richardson grades out as a top-100 prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft. He has a heightened degree of projected versatility, and for either man-heavy or zone-heavy schemes, he’s worth consideration in the mid-to-late Day 2 range.

It’s not brash to say that Richardson might have one of the highest ceilings in the 2024 NFL Draft CB class. He has truly effortless explosiveness and closes ground in a blink with his accelerative capacity and long-strider athleticism.

Going further, for his size — 6’2″, 188 pounds, with arms well over 32″ long — Richardson has extremely impressive short-area twitch, agility, malleability, and recovery athleticism, with enough sink to channel his speed through direction changes and supplement transitions.

On film, Richardson’s complete physical pallet yields a complete technical toolbox as well. He can match and jam WRs in press-man, using feet first. He can pedal and plant in off-man and uses shuffle-steps and side-saddle to maintain hip leverage in zone.

To top it all off, Richardson plays with a play pace that matches his blistering speed. He exudes relentless energy coming downhill in run support, and he’s quick to react to route modulations and breaks in off-man and zone coverage.

Having said all this, the 23-year-old still has room to improve. His technique can feature slight inefficiencies at times, and he’s susceptible to double moves and blind-spot manipulation. Richardson also struggles to track and play the ball down the field, which can allow big plays to go through unobstructed for opposing offenses.

KEEP READING: Who Has the Most Draft Picks in 2024?

In the immediate timeline, Richardson has enough matching awareness, technical versatility, range in recovery, and support utility to be a rotational boundary corner in the NFL, and he could take starting reps sooner rather than later. At his ceiling — if he can reach that point — Richardson has impact starter potential.

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