M.J. Devonshire’s Draft Profile | Pittsburgh, CB Scouting Report

Pittsburgh CB M.J. Devonshire had three pick-sixes in college. With his 2024 NFL Draft scouting report, can he sustain his production in the NFL?

Where does Pittsburgh CB M.J. Devonshire rank in the 2024 NFL Draft with his scouting report?

Devonshire was one of the more productive Panthers defenders in recent memory, and if he can keep developing his game, he could make a similar impression in the NFL.

M.J. Devonshire’s Draft Profile and Measurements

  • Height: 5’10 3/4″
  • Weight: 186 pounds
  • Length: 32 7/8″
  • Wingspan: 78 3/4″
  • Hand: 8 3/4″
  • Position: Cornerback
  • School: Mississippi State
  • Current Year: Senior

A product of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, Devonshire always gave hints of his eventual upside. As a senior in high school, he notched eight interceptions and eight punt-return touchdowns, dominating the competition in more than one phase of the game.

As a three-star recruit, Devonshire initially joined the Kentucky Wildcats in 2019. But playing behind future NFL defenders like Kelvin Joseph and Carrington Valentine, he saw little playing time. Ahead of the 2021 season, Devonshire transferred to Pittsburgh — 40 minutes from his hometown — to play football for vaunted defensive mind Pat Narduzzi.

Narduzzi has a reputation for developing talent in the secondary, and Devonshire quickly benefited from his oversight. He saw an increase in playing time in 2021, and in 2022, he emerged as a dynamic playmaker, logging eight pass breakups, three interceptions, and two pick-sixes.

In 2023, Devonshire gave the Panthers an encore performance as a turnover-generator, amassing 32 tackles, a half-tackle for loss, four interceptions, a pick-six, and 10 pass breakups. His INT and PBU numbers were career-highs.

Now, on the heels of appearances at the East-West Shrine Bowl and the NFL Combine, Devonshire approaches the 2024 NFL Draft. He has the production and the talent, but there’s still a sense he’s a sleeper. Perhaps it’s time to change that.

Devonshire’s Scouting Report

Strengths

  • Has an incredibly unique frame, combining a low center of gravity with elite length.
  • Hyperactive, hyper-explosive athlete who moves with bristling energy and foot speed.
  • Can match releases with fast, efficient feet, then turn 90 degrees and track vertically.
  • Has shown to mirror WR movements and swivel his hips and feet to recover ground.
  • Natural mover in side-saddle, with the long-strider speed to limit vertical separation.
  • Can use his speed and bend to adjust his tracking angle and take away space downfield.
  • Able to monitor adjacent vertical routes in side-saddle and undercut seam passes.
  • Can swivel his base overtop off-man stems to keep hip leverage and stay square.
  • Has the route IQ and recognition ability to instantly plant-and-drive on in-breakers.
  • Can disguise pre-snap looks with his ability to play press or pedal and shuffle in zone.
  • Has a tight pedal in zone with fast, composed footwork, and can flip his hips effortlessly.
  • Opportunistic playmaker with a wide catch radius and the speed to house interceptions.
  • Has the play recognition to ID screens and optimal angles by reading blocking looks.
  • Plays with great urgency in all phases and has the range to stay close to the ball.
  • Brings actionable slot-boundary versatility, as well as coverage variability beyond that.

Weaknesses

  • Frame is slightly high-cut, which can source slight hitches on direction changes.
  • Frame is also extremely light and lean, which can impact play strength on tackles.
  • Can be too hasty with extensions in press-man, locking his hips with two-hand jams.
  • Tendency to grip and tug at WRs through route stems can increase penalty risk.
  • Needs to learn how to more efficiently control his length and carriage in press-man.
  • Sometimes slows or halts his feet when extending, allowing receivers to capitalize.
  • Can be late to roll his hips and break on in-breakers as an off-man nickel defender.
  • Doesn’t have great swivel flexibility or sink overtop boundary comeback routes.
  • While ball skills are great, sometimes struggles to turn his head when working vertically.
  • Often needs to take gather steps to supplement 180-degree transitions in support.
  • Sometimes engages front-side blockers when he has a clear path to the ball carrier.
  • Doesn’t always have great tackling form, at times failing to wrap with his length.
  • Will be 24 years old at the start of the 2024 season.

Current Draft Projection and Summary

Devonshire grades out as a mid-Day 3 prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft and is worthy of consideration in that range for teams needing developmental upside at cornerback. Particularly for teams in need of off-man, zone, and slot-boundary versatility, he could field consideration early on Day 3.

The physical tools are extremely appealing with Devonshire. At around 5’11”, 186 pounds, he has uniquely long arms (almost 33″), and his 4.45 40-yard dash and 38.5″ vertical are representative of his speed and explosiveness — both on the vertical plane and on click-and-close reps.

Going further, Devonshire is a smart, well-versed cover man with great route-recognition ability and spatial management skills in zone coverage. He also has the pedal ability and hip leverage maintenance skills to play in off-man.

 

In press-man, Devonshire shows upside as well. His unique frame allows him to play low while also getting his hands inside his opponent’s frame. Yet, his desire to impose physicality can yield over-aggression and a lack of discipline, which can cause cascading technical issues.

At almost 24 years old, Devonshire still has work to do with his press-man and off-man technique, plus he lacks high-end hip fluidity. His relatively high-cut frame can impact his transition freedom and recovery in tight quarters. Expanding on his frame, Devonshire’s lighter build affects his play strength, tackling, and utility in support.

KEEP READING: Top CBs in the 2024 NFL Draft

With support limitations and questions in man coverage, Devonshire’s path to consistent starting reps is unclear. But if he improves his technique and fills out his frame a bit more, there’s an outcome where he maintains a role on defense.

Devonshire has the speed, explosion, length, processing ability, urgency, and slot-boundary versatility to be a solid rotational presence and spot-starter in zone and off-man heavy schemes. On top of it all, Devonshire is an instinctive turnover generator with gravity as a playmaker — a trait that could elevate his ceiling down the line.

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