The 2022 NFL Draft is knocking on the door. All-star games and the NFL Combine have been completed, leaving pro days between us and the annual selection event. As the NFL Draft nears, here are Pro Football Network’s top 10 cornerbacks in the class!
Top 10 Cornerbacks in the 2022 NFL Draft
While the Power Five rules in the top 10, there are a couple of Group of Five cornerbacks in the group — one even takes the top spot.
10) Cam Taylor-Britt, Nebraska
Cam Taylor-Britt checks the size box standing at 5’11”, 196 pounds with 31 1/2″ arms and 4.38 40-yard dash speed. He is a rocked-up corner who is especially proficient in zone and coming downhill in run support. When Taylor-Britt identifies the play in front of him, he shows little wasted movement in his attack. Due to a tendency to bite on double-moves and take poor angles to the receiver, the Nebraska corner shouldn’t be asked to play a ton of man.
9) Jalyn Armour-Davis, Alabama
An enticing prospect, though a bit raw, Jalyn Armour-Davis is the next Alabama DB in the pipeline to the NFL. At the beginning of the 2021 season, teammate Josh Jobe actually received much of the hype in the secondary. Nevertheless, Armour-Davis is now in the driver’s seat due to a promising campaign and solid testing numbers.
At 6’1″ and 197 pounds, the Alabama CB owns impressive linear athleticism. He isn’t the best laterally, but Armour-Davis is a scheme-versatile corner with the burst and potential to become a quality starter.
8) Tariq Woolen, UTSA
Tariq Woolen is your size/speed demon in the 2022 NFL Draft class. At a towering 6’4″ and 205 pounds, Woolen ran a blazing 4.26 40-yard dash at the Combine. He even recorded a staggering 42″ vertical jump. Obviously, the physical tools are there for the taking. As a converted wide receiver, Woolen could still use some technical refinement as a corner. However, that actually adds to his allure, as the upside is immense if he can soak in NFL coaching.
7) Kyler Gordon, Washington
Kyler Gordon may be the seventh-best corner in the 2022 NFL Draft, but he isn’t even the best on his own team — more on that later. Gordon is a stellar athlete with insane burst and vertical ability at the position. He has experience out wide and in the slot, but he can improve his overall awareness in the back end. Regardless, Gordon can find a role on nearly any defense, and if he gets his head on straight, he can be a No. 2 earlier than later.
6) Roger McCreary, Auburn
28 7/8″ arms. That is what will drop Roger McCreary down boards. Because outside of limited arm length, there aren’t many holes in his game. McCreary has been battle-tested in the SEC and is fluid in and out of breaks. Although he is aggressive at the catch point, the Auburn CB doesn’t have the speed to recover once beaten downfield. Still, McCreary would be a late Day 1/early Day 2 pick were it not for his undersized arms.
5) Trent McDuffie, Washington
Trent McDuffie is why Kyler Gordon isn’t the best CB on his team. Like Gordon, McDuffie is an excellent athlete. He’s agile and possesses one of the best accelerations in the class. Additionally, he is one of the better tacklers. Add on his instincts, and McDuffie was tailor-made to be a starter in zone-heavy systems. His stature and lack of press-man reps will have some teams overlook him, but McDuffie can be a Day 1 starter for the right franchise.
4) Kaiir Elam, Florida
If you want the most physical corner in the 2022 NFL Draft, Kaiir Elam is your guy. That physicality is a bit of a double-edged sword, as if he doesn’t reign it in, it will lead to costly penalties at the next level. Nonetheless, Elam is a disrupter at the catch point and stunts receivers at the line. His skill set best translates to press-zone teams, but Elam has CB2 upside.
3) Derek Stingley Jr., LSU
Derek Stingley Jr. is my personal CB1. I’m sure I even have a “Derek Stingly Jr. no matter what” sticky note somewhere on my desk from 2019. Yet, that is a much harder sell in 2022 than it was during his true freshman season. Stingley’s ceiling is that of a true shutdown corner, but his floor is concerning.
Injuries and inconsistency have hurt his draft stock over the last two seasons. But all the traits are there to bank on — fluid hips, deep speed, and quick feet. If Stingley can live up to his potential, whatever team selects him will not be disappointed.
2) Andrew Booth Jr., Clemson
Based on physical attributes alone, Andrew Booth Jr. would be the CB1 in the class. He is downright explosive with unmatched twitchiness to mirror his opponents. Booth fits into any scheme, on any team, at any CB position.
Booth’s lack of experience (one-year full-time starter) and deep speed are negatives, but all of his positives outweigh them. His suddenness out of his backpedal is a sight to behold, and his feet are quick to react at a moment’s notice.
1) Ahmad Gardner, Cincinnati
The No. 1 cornerback in the 2022 NFL Draft is none other than Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner. The Cincinnati CB famously didn’t allow a touchdown in his three-year career, nor did he allow a single-season completion rate over 50%. At 6’3″ with 33 1/2″ arms, Gardner’s sheer size will cause issues for receivers, and his 4.41 40 time at the Combine all but solidified his CB1 standing.
Gardner’s massive wingspan helps him smother receivers from the line of scrimmage to the catch point. As is expected with taller corners, Gardner isn’t the most graceful mover, as he can be a tad slow flipping his hips. But his hand activity, demeanor, and eye discipline are top-notch. Gardner was built in a lab for press-man-heavy teams and can be a Day 1 starter.