T.J. Tampa’s Draft Profile | Iowa State, CB Scouting Report

With his scouting report, Iowa State CB T.J. Tampa has one of the highest ceilings in the 2024 NFL Draft. What makes him an enticing prospect?

Iowa State CB T.J. Tampa is unique to the 2024 NFL Draft class with his combination of length and explosiveness, and his scouting report bears watching as a result. Physical tools always play a role in elevating prospects down the line, but does Tampa have what it takes to sneak into the early rounds?

T.J. Tampa Draft Profile and Measurements

  • Height: 6’0 7/8″
  • Weight: 194 pounds
  • Length: 32 1/8″
  • Wingspan: 79 3/8″
  • Hand: 9 5/8″
  • Position: Cornerback
  • School: Iowa State
  • Current Year: Senior

Before he joined up with the Iowa State Cyclones, Tampa was a three-star, two-way recruit who played both WR and CB at Lakewood High School in St. Petersburg, Fla.

In his final two seasons at Lakewood, Tampa caught 67 passes for 1,323 yards and 18 touchdowns. His physical tools amounted to distinct big-play ability on offense, but once he arrived in Ames, the Cyclones saw an even brighter future for Tampa as a defensive back.

After playing mainly on special teams in 2020, Tampa saw an uptick in defensive snaps throughout the 2021 season. In 2022, he emerged as a full-time starter and earned Second-Team All-Big 12 honors while amassing 40 tackles, five tackles for loss, a pick, and nine pass breakups.

In 2023, now firmly on the NFL Draft radar, Tampa returned with a 44-tackle, three-TFL, two-interception, and seven-deflection campaign, fielding First-Team All-Big 12 honors for the first time in his career.

Now, as he transitions to the NFL, Tampa stands out in a smaller CB class relative to its 2023 predecessor. The 2023 class was known for its long, athletic prospects. The 2024 group doesn’t have that same profile at the same volume, but Tampa fits the bill.

Tampa doesn’t have elite vertical speed, as his 4.58 40-yard dash emphasized at his pro day. But at around 6’1″, with 32″ arms, he’s explosive and agile — made more distinct by his 6.97 three-cone and his 4.07 short-shuttle time in the 90th percentile.

Where does Tampa fit in the NFL, and what can he do to maximize his athletic profile? His full 2024 NFL Draft scouting report can help answer those questions.

Tampa’s Scouting Report

Strengths

  • Explosive long-strider with powerful knee drive and instant acceleration.
  • Plays faster than his 40 time and can cover large swaths of ground out of transitions.
  • Long, athletic cover man with elite reach and a wide disruption radius.
  • Possesses smooth fluidity and swivel freedom for his size, allowing for easy recalibration.
  • Flashes high-end corrective twitch, foot speed, and stopping ability at stems for his size.
  • High-IQ defender who can quickly recognize screens and quick outs and trigger downhill.
  • Adaptable zone and off-man defender with great route IQ and blind spot awareness.
  • Can vary his technique from pedals and kick-slides to trails all while keeping leverage.
  • Exceptional zone awareness enables him to hawk in front of intermediate outs.
  • Brings easy throttle control on his pedal in off-man and zone and manages depth well.
  • Boasts quick reaction in man and recovers quickly when WRs bait vertically.
  • Patient and disciplined in off-man and naturally gathers receivers in space with length.
  • Former WR with natural ball skills and the length to snare passes beyond his frame.
  • Tenacious attacker coming downhill who willfully encumbers blocks and levies big hits.
  • Patient but also proactive and powerful when attacking blocks and boundary runners.

Weaknesses

  • Long speed, while solid, is visibly non-elite, and can be exposed against explosive WRs.
  • Doesn’t quite have elite hip fluidity and can experience hitches on sharp transitions.
  • Sometimes struggles to sink and fully hinge around without delay on comebacks.
  • Functions more effectively with a runway to open his strides when accelerating.
  • Is occasionally a bit late to recognize crossers underneath in zone and redirect.
  • Needs to trust his eyes a bit more at times to trigger quicker on screens.
  • Sometimes overruns initial stems on multi-layered routes and lacks elite recovery.
  • Has good tempo and sequencing in press-man but can be uncontrolled with base width.
  • Occasionally prone to faulty pursuit angles when crashing downhill in support.
  • Has a habit of throwing himself into contact and can improve his wrap-up technique.
  • Took reps in the slot on occasion, but projects better as a boundary CB.

Current Draft Projection and Summary

Tampa grades out as a top-64 prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft. On my board, he’s a top-10 CB prospect in the class, worthy of early-to-mid Day 2 capital. With his high-end physical talent, playmaking ability, and physicality in support, Tampa can adequately meet several schematic demands.

In a class where many of the top-rated CB prospects are closer to average size, Tampa stands out as an impressive size-adjusted athlete with stellar length and disruptive reach. He has an impressive playmaking radius with his combined length and recovery speed, and his attack explosiveness is in a tier of its own.

Beyond his length and vertical explosiveness, Tampa also has good size-adjusted fluidity, exceptional short-area energy and throttle control, and the corrective twitch to adjust his alignment and recover positioning quickly on routes. At the catch point, his past as a former receiver amounts to superb ball skills.

If all this wasn’t enough, Tampa has a very good operational floor on top of his high-level physical profile. In off-man and zone, Tampa is a variable technician with smooth throttle control and adaptability, keen awareness and eye discipline, and stellar spatial instincts.

Tampa doesn’t have elite fluidity or long speed, and he can stand to accrue more experience and control as a press-man cornerback. Still, he has the foot speed, twitch, length, sequencing, and powerful extensions to dictate routes from there, too.

In support, Tampa has the closing explosiveness, power generation ability, sturdiness as a block combatant, and disposition to generate appeal, even if his trigger can be a bit quicker at times, and his tackling form more consistent.

KEEP READING: Top CBs in the 2024 NFL Draft

Ultimately, with his combined physical talent and versatile schematic framework, Tampa presents value for all teams in the early rounds. At his peak, he has the upside to be an impact starter at the professional level with press, off-man, and zone utility.

Draft with your friends today! PFN’s Mock Draft Simulator now supports multiple drafters during the same draft! Ensure your player rankings are up to date on the 2024 NFL Draft Big Board and you know what every NFL team needs before drafting.

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