After dominating the first round in the previous cycle, the Georgia Bulldogs have a number of potential first-round prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft, and that includes CB Kelee Ringo. A tall, physical cornerback with exceptional play speed, Ringo’s scouting report reveals that he could be one of the first defensive playmakers to be selected next April.
Kelee Ringo NFL draft profile
Kelee Jahari-Hale Ringo was a five-star recruit and the top cornerback in the 2020 recruiting class. While amassing 712 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior running back, Ringo earned All-American recognition following his three years contributing for Saguaro High School. Meanwhile, he was an AIA DIII state champion in both the 100m and 200m.
Having opted for Georgia over offers from 30+ teams that included Alabama, Ohio State, and Notre Dame, Ringo redshirted his freshman season in 2020. While not uncommon, especially at the SEC level, it was surgery to a torn labrum that kept the imposing cornerback from seeing the field early in his career.
Ringo earned freshman All-SEC honors in 2021. In 15 appearances, he tallied 34 tackles, eight pass breakups, and two interceptions. While his first interception came against UAB, his second helped Georgia to secure their first national championship in 40 years. The 79-yard pick-six was the first interception returned for a touchdown of his career. The Georgia CB is expected to be the leader of the Bulldogs’ secondary in the 2022 college football season.
- Position: Cornerback
- School: Georgia
- Current Year: Redshirt Sophomore
- Height/Weight: 6’2″, 205 pounds
Ringo scouting report
Studying Ringo’s tape for his 2023 NFL Draft scouting report, there are some very obvious areas of excellence that immediately stand out. Furthermore, there’s excitement about some of the more nuanced elements of CB play where the Georgia prospect prospers. However, with just one season of starting experience under his belt, there’s also room for development before he’s anointed the top CB prospect in the class.
Let’s begin Ringo’s scouting report with some of the more obvious strengths as they relate to transitioning to the NFL. At 6’2″ and a listed 205 pounds, the Georgia CB certainly meets the size requisite for the position. Interestingly, it’s reported that Ringo played as heavy as 220 pounds during the 2021 season. He’s certainly an imposing figure. Additionally, he appears to possess excellent functional length.
For a player of his size, you’d expect Ringo to play the game with physicality. There’s no disappointment here. In all phases of coverage, the Georgia CB goes to battle with aggression and a physical presence. He’s more than capable of getting his jabs in at the line of scrimmage, can be physical along the wide receiver’s route, and out-muscles his man at the catch point.
This physicality is also evident in run support. There were examples of Ringo bringing the runs of some of even the most physical backs in the nation to an abrupt end. There’s no questioning his tackling ability. He uses his long arms to wrap up and is more than capable of lowering his shoulder and absorbing contact. There are few examples of missed or broken tackles on his tape.
Additionally, Ringo uses his length to help disengage from blockers with impressive regularity. Furthermore, Ringo can also be used to impact the passing game as a blitzer.
While his size and physicality are impressive, Ringo’s athletic profile is perhaps more enticing. The former track star has a 10.43-second 100m and 21.18-second 200m on his résumé. While that doesn’t always translate to play speed, it does in the Georgia CB’s case.
Ringo’s more than capable of matching even the fastest wide receivers down the length of the field. Some of those covered in games studied included Jameson Williams and Wan’Dale Robinson.
While his straight-line speed is outstanding, particularly for his size, Ringo has other athletic bonuses on his 2023 NFL Draft scouting report. The Georgia CB moves with a twitchiness and hip fluidity you wouldn’t necessarily expect for his size. As a result, he’s able to stick like glue in man coverage against even the most agile receivers. It’s rare to see him give up much in the way of separation.
Ringo also possesses the short-area burst to close rapidly and make a play on the ball. This is just one element of what are impressive catch-point skills. The Georgia CB regularly gets his long arms to the ball to be a disruptive presence. He’s able to use a combination of length, physicality, body control, and reliable hands to pose a productive problem at the catch point.
Ringo’s areas of improvement
While Ringo’s 2023 NFL Draft scouting report is packed full of potential, there are areas for improvement. The Georgia CB is still young and has just one season of starting experience. So naturally, there will be some development ahead. At this point in time, however, it can be the difference-maker between being one of the best or ascending to the very top of the class come next April.
While praising his physicality, Ringo needs to be mindful of being too aggressive. This is particularly the case at the catch point. In the games studied, there were several plays that were tantamount to wrestling moves. Even if they might go unpenalized at the college level, they won’t do in the NFL.
During the games studied, there were several times where the Georgia CB was deceived by elements of trickery that resulted in big plays being conceded. Those included quarterback pump fakes, biting on receivers stop-starting on their routes, and backfield misdirection. Ringo can work to rectify these misreads during the upcoming season.
One of the biggest areas for improvement will be in ball tracking and eye discipline in coverage. There were several examples in the games studied where the Georgia CB would turn his head back to the QB too early. In doing so, he not only lost track of the ball, but also his coverage assignment. This wasn’t always punished with giving up a big play. Yet, that was more by luck than judgment.
Current draft projection for Georgia CB Kelee Ringo
With his size, length, physicality, and ball skills, Ringo looks to be one of the top cornerbacks in the 2023 NFL Draft. While his best alignment at the next level is as an outside press-man CB, Ringo also possesses the fluid athleticism to be used in the slot. At this point in time, it would be a surprise to see him fall out of Round 1 next April. If he elevates his game, Ringo can challenge right at the very top of the CB class.