The Washington Huskies have two potential early-round cornerbacks in the 2022 NFL Draft. And after watching Kyler Gordon, it’s reasonable to say that Gordon might have a better 2022 NFL Draft scouting report than his formidable counterpart. Like his teammate, Gordon could potentially challenge for a spot in Round 1. Here’s how Gordon meets the criteria.
Kyler Gordon NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Cornerback
- School: Washington
- Current Year: Redshirt junior
- Height: 6’0″
- Weight: 200 pounds
Kyler Gordon Scouting Report
Jimmy Lake’s tenure as the Washington head coach was a catastrophe. But credit has to be given where it’s due. The man scouts and develops defensive back talent better than most at the college football level. Washington has produced recent NFL playmakers like Byron Murphy, Kevin King, Elijah Molden, and Keith Taylor Jr. This year, they bring two of their best prospects yet into the fold with Trent McDuffie and Gordon.
The first-round hype is undoubtedly warranted for McDuffie, but Gordon also deserves to be viewed in that light. In fact, the two players are very close on the board. Both are elite athletes with relatively high floors. McDuffie is a great player, but Gordon has the extra playmaker gene that sets players apart.
Kyler Gordon’s athletic profile
Listed on Feldman’s Freaks List in the 2021 offseason, Gordon reportedly has a 42.5-inch vertical and a pro agility time of 3.87 at 6’0″, 200 pounds. The numbers make him one of the most otherworldly athletes in the 2022 NFL Draft, and his tape backs up that reputation.
Gordon is an extremely explosive and twitchy athlete who accelerates quickly and emanates energy in coverage. He’s a fluid mover with smooth hips and easy change-of-direction ability. Moreover, the Washington CB possesses impressive agility in short ranges. He can get low in his stance and stack quick direction changes while keeping his balance.
A history with dance, kung fu, and ballet has helped Gordon refine his efficiency of motion. But you simply can’t replace traits — and Gordon has them. With his fast feet, fluid hips, and short-area burst, Gordon is incredibly sticky in coverage. He flashes insane closing speed at the catch point, and he can hit a rare second gear when initiating toward plays.
Furthermore, Gordon has exceptional long speed in pursuit. He can track down plays from across the field and from non-ideal angles. The Washington CB can flip his hips and double back across the field in an instant. His twitch allows him to adjust tackling angles on short notice. In a similar vein, Gordon has the explosiveness and recovery athleticism to close ground quickly after initial losses.
Execution beyond the physical traits
Gordon’s physical upside is undoubtedly the chief selling point on his scouting report. Yet, the Washington product also has impressive refinement — he’s not just a project.
Mentally, Gordon is strong. Though his processing isn’t quite as consistent as McDuffie’s, Gordon is able to read keys and recognize distinguishing play concepts as they develop. He has good awareness in zone coverage and has shown he can manage and manipulate spacing in two-on-one situations. Additionally, Gordon has an eye for route concepts, which helps him quickly adapt when reading plays.
Gordon processes well, but beyond that, he plays with inspiring physicality and proactivity. He has a larger, stronger frame than McDuffie. But even then, Gordon doesn’t shy away from bigger opponents. He willingly uses physicality at the line and can also use that physicality to engage and shed blocks. Gordon is an effusive tackler who brings an intense closing burst at the contact point. He has the capacity to dish out hard hits and force the ball loose.
Overall, Gordon appears to have a good mix of patience and aggressiveness as a defender. Nevertheless, his most enticing executional trait is his ball skills. Gordon flashes excellent ball skills — an area in which he clearly exceeds McDuffie. He can track the ball in the air and rise, contort, and extend to convert on opportunities that come his way.
Areas for improvement
It’s easy to get enamored with prospects like Gordon, but it’s also important to list areas they can improve. For Gordon, most of the issues are minor inconsistencies.
Gordon is sometimes late to react to route breaks, and he can smoothen his weight transfers when responding to in-breaking routes. He can occasionally be a bit quicker reacting to plays like screens and outside runs. While his trigger is good, the Huskies CB can engage a bit quicker. Like many DBs, he can be indecisive when there’s a lot of sensory information to sift through. He has visibly improved there since 2020, however.
Gordon sometimes gives too much of a cushion off of route breaks. The Washington product also has minor hiccups with tackling angles at times. In run defense, these plays are more prevalent. Gordon can be more consistent in disengaging blocks in a timely manner. He can also wrap up and use his strength more consistently as a tackler. While he’s solid in this area, there are some missed tackles on tape.
Among other things, Gordon can still be a bit more controlled at times. With his athleticism, he sometimes plays himself out of leverage. Additionally, he has room to play the ball more consistently at the catch point. And while his length is solid, it may not be proportionally elite.
Kyler Gordon’s 2022 NFL Draft scouting report overview
In McDuffie’s scouting report, I said that he easily has the traits to enter the Round 1 discussion at cornerback. Gordon is in a similar range — and he may end up higher than McDuffie on my final board.
McDuffie is a bit more consistent as a processor and a tackler, and he’s an elite athlete in his own right. But Gordon has better size, ball skills, and is exceptionally physical. On top of that, he processes well. He’s trending up, and he has more upside than his teammate — which is saying a lot.
In a class with Andrew Booth Jr. and Derek Stingley Jr., Gordon might be the group’s best athlete. It’s rare to have so many elite athletes in one batch, but the 2022 NFL Draft’s cornerback class is special on paper. And Gordon is a big part of that.
Gordon is one of several CBs who belong in the Round 1 discussion. And his testing might drive him even higher up the board.
Kyler Gordon’s Player Profile
Athleticism can be honed to an extent at the collegiate level. But more often than not, you either have it, or you don’t. Gordon was clearly a tier above his counterparts early on in his football career. A two-way player at Archbishop Murphy High School in Everett, Washington, Gordon caught 82 passes for 2,209 yards and 25 touchdowns at wide receiver. Meanwhile, on defense, he earned 16 interceptions in his final three varsity seasons.
Gordon’s production earned him a four-star billing in the 2018 recruiting class. The Everett product had offers from schools like Notre Dame, as well as West Coast powers like Oregon, USC, and UCLA. But for Gordon, staying in-state presented the best opportunity. Thus, the 242nd overall recruit in the 2018 class signed with the Washington Huskies.
Gordon’s career at Washington
Gordon was primarily a reserve in 2018. He preserved his redshirt and started off slow, but that gradual start would yield exciting results in the 2019 season.
In 2019, Gordon played in 13 games and started four, amassing 32 tackles, a tackle for loss, and 4 pass deflections. Despite starting just four games, Gordon earned honorable mention recognition in the Pac-12.
Gordon was once again a rotational starter in 2020, but the truncated four-game season stymied a lot of growth that would’ve taken place. Luckily, Gordon has caught up and then some in 2021.
Through 10 games in 2021, Gordon is having a career year. The Washington CB has 33 tackles, a tackle for loss, 2 interceptions, and 6 pass deflections. Gordon has always had the traits, but now he’s converting on plays and generating a greater impact. All the while, his NFL Draft stock is soaring through the roof.
Kyler Gordon’s 2022 NFL Draft ascension
Simply put, Gordon is an exciting prospect with a relatively high floor and a sky-high ceiling. There aren’t any red flags, either. He doesn’t have an injury history, and he’s set to be 22 years old at the start of the 2022 season, so age isn’t a concern. And in interviews, Gordon comes off about how you’d expect a player of his caliber. He’s focused, with small glimpses of levity — but in truth, he lets his play on the field do the talking.
This year, Gordon’s play has been loud. In every phase, he’s making things happen, and he’s finally realizing the full extent of his physical upside. Between the tape and the testing that’s to come, there isn’t much stopping Gordon from rising into the early rounds — so long as he stays the course.