Denzel Burke’s Draft Profile | Ohio State, CB Scouting Report

A premier playmaker with unique versatility and two-phase ability, what does Denzel Burke's 2025 NFL Draft scouting report say about his stock?

Ohio State Buckeyes cornerback Denzel Burke returned to school to compete for a national championship, but he also has a chance to compete for Round 1 capital with his 2025 NFL Draft scouting report. How does Burke profile as a prospect, and what is his ultimate upside?

Denzel Burke’s Draft Profile and Measurements

  • Height: 6’1″
  • Weight: 193 pounds
  • Position: Cornerback
  • School: Ohio State
  • Current Year: Senior

Burke was a two-way high school player who suffered a season-ending injury in his final season. But that didn’t stop him from hitting the ground running as a starting cornerback at Ohio State in his true freshman season.

The talent was clear from Burke, who was a four-star recruit and a top-250 national prospect on multiple boards. However, Burke demolished expectations with a dominant 2021 campaign — one that saw him rack up 35 tackles, a pick, and 12 pass breakups.

Burke’s natural playmaking ability on the ball as a former wide receiver helped him produce early. For his play in 2021, he earned Freshman All-American honors and third-team All-Big Ten recognition.

Though Burke regressed a bit in 2022, he came back strong with another stellar season in 2023, racking up 24 tackles, an interception — his first since 2021 — nine deflections, a forced fumble, and three tackles for loss.

Now a senior and one of the elder statesmen of the Ohio State secondary, Burke returns as a fearsome obstacle in coverage and support for opposing offenses. The traits that earned him that reputation may also earn him a spot in the first round next April.

Burke’s Scouting Report

Strengths

  • Has a lean frame with great length and a large disruption radius.
  • Explodes out of his stance and accelerates effortlessly with powerful knee drive.
  • Possesses elite long-track explosive capacity and long-strider range attacking downhill.
  • Has enough long speed to prevent WRs from stacking when he’s able to match in-phase.
  • Has the fluidity to undergo 180-degree transitions off the line and recover positioning.
  • Fleet-footed, hyper-active short-area mover who plays low, sudden, and free.
  • Has sharp decelerative capacity at the top of routes, freely retracting his strides.
  • Shows great patience and spatial awareness in short and intermediate zones.
  • Can effectively key in on WR’s hips on comebacks and react quickly to route breaks.
  • Showcases superb reaction to stimulus when matching WRs in press at the line.
  • Improved coverage discipline and synergy in 2023, and has exciting coverage variability.
  • Has a tight, efficient pedal in off-man and zone, and leverages routes very well.
  • Physical CB who uses his length to gather, jam, and pass off receivers across zones.
  • Former WR whose elite coordination, control, and ball skills translate as a playmaker.
  • Brings urgent, combative energy in run support, and triggers downhill quickly.

Weaknesses

  • Despite fluidity, experiences occasional hitches when attempting to swivel and sink.
  • Doesn’t quite have quantifiably elite recovery speed when receivers get a step on him.
  • Occasionally relies on grabs to a fault when looking to recover past the five-yard mark.
  • Still drifts a bit too tall at stems at times, limiting sink and recalibration quickness.
  • At times, plants too early at stems and is rendered flat-footed, compensating with grabs.
  • Can be baited into hesitating and over-setting by lateral moves and rocker steps.
  • On occasion, goes for deflections when he has an opportunity to generate turnovers.
  • Can be prone to missed tackles from time to time, grazing past his targets.
  • Doesn’t have an abundance of nickel and slot experience, and may be confined outside.
  • Dealt with shoulder, hand, and ankle injuries at various points, and missed a year in high school.
  • Will turn 23 years old in November of his rookie campaign.

Current Draft Projection and Summary

Entering the 2025 NFL Draft cycle, Burke grades out as a fringe first-round prospect who could be considered anywhere from the late first-round range to early Day 2. He’ll be a slightly older prospect with an injury history, but he has the high-end tools, scheme and phase versatility, and playmaking ability to command Round 1 capital.

Burke broke onto the scene as a wunderkind true freshman in 2021, and though he had a down year in 2022, he rebounded in 2023 with another stellar campaign — showing off his compelling two-phase skills in the process.

At 6’1″, 193 pounds, with elite explosive athleticism and a near-elite blend of speed, fluidity, and twitch, Burke passes the eye test with flying colors, and he’s also a former WR with certifiable ball skills. He’s proactive with the ball in the air and a physical, fast-flowing player in run support, too.

For Burke, the next step for growth in 2023 was improving his technical refinement, man coverage discipline, and further honing his mental acuity. He accomplished all those things, and now, his profile is impressively complete, with coverage variability in man and zone to accentuate his traits.

Had he declared for the 2024 NFL Draft, Burke would have been a late first-round prospect on my board. He returns with that same grade. With versatility across man and zone coverage, sharp processing, and playmaking ability on the ball and in support, Burke can be a quality starter early in his NFL career, with impact starter upside.

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