Sometimes one of the forgotten men in the 2023 NFL Draft CB class, Miami Hurricanes product Tyrique Stevenson has the tools to surprise and exceed his draft billing when his opportunity comes along. Stevenson has quietly been acing every portion of the draft process, and his physical profile alludes to immense upside at the professional level.
Tyrique Stevenson NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Cornerback
- School: Miami (FL)
- Current Year: Senior
- Height/Weight: 6’0″, 198 pounds
- Length: 32 3/8″
- Hand: 9 5/8″
The 2023 NFL Draft cornerback class has an established group up top — one that includes Christian Gonzalez, Devon Witherspoon, Joey Porter Jr., and Kelee Ringo, among others. Stevenson is an under-the-radar prospect who might also deserve to be near the top of the positional board. He has the pedigree, tape, and testing numbers to hold a place in the conversation.
Stevenson was a high four-star recruit in the 2019 class. A top-50 prospect out of Miami Southridge High School, Stevenson was tabbed as a potential early-round NFL draft pick very early on in his career. His play helped him land with the Georgia Bulldogs, where he quickly found playing time with his unique skill set.
In 2019, Stevenson managed 13 tackles and a sack, along with five pass deflections. He doubled that deflection total in 2020 while playing the hybrid slot (STAR) role and also added 34 tackles and a tackle for loss. Stevenson often flashed in the slot, but he desired more opportunities as a traditional CB. He also missed home and decided to transfer to Miami in January 2021.
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While the Georgia defense enjoyed a dominant run in 2021, Stevenson experienced his own personal success, embarking on a career-best year with the Hurricanes. He earned his first career interception and also racked up 43 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, a half-sack, and four deflections.
In 2022, Stevenson returned as a starting boundary CB for the Hurricanes. More often than not, he dissuaded QBs from throwing his way. And when they tested him, he capitalized, logging career-high figures in both interceptions (2) and pass deflections (7), as well as recording 1.5 tackles for loss.
After his career-best campaign, Stevenson declared for the 2023 NFL Draft. Along the way, he also earned an invite to the Reese’s Senior Bowl, where he stood out against premier competition. It’s all led to this point — the doorstep of the 2023 NFL Draft. And at the event, there’s a chance Stevenson could command early-round billing.
Tyrique Stevenson Scouting Report
Georgia’s defense is clearly an environment conducive to success for prospects, but sometimes, people need a change. Edge rusher Jermaine Johnson II capitalized on a decision to transfer from Georgia in 2021. Stevenson did the same in his time with Miami.
Few cornerbacks on the 2023 NFL Draft circuit are more well-put together than Stevenson. The Miami CB stands at 6’0″ and around 200 pounds, with an extremely strong and dense frame. He also has excellent proportional length, with arms that measure over 32″. Stevenson’s frame is an asset for him, as is his natural athleticism.
The Miami CB is a supremely explosive athlete who brings excellent closing speed coming downhill. He’s an instant long-striding accelerator with elite explosive capacity. That explosiveness helps him recover from transitions that aren’t as clean, and it, along with his speed, allows him to quickly undercut routes.
At the NFL Combine, Stevenson only confirmed his explosive athleticism, recording a 38.5″ vertical jump and a 10’5″ broad jump. He also ran a 4.45 40-yard dash with a 1.51 10-yard split and logged a solid 7.09 three-cone time.
Stevenson’s explosiveness is one of his bedrock traits, but the Miami CB also has enough fluidity to work with. He can quickly snap his hips upfield when pressing WRs against the boundary. Moreover, he transitions with little strain and doesn’t experience much delay. After jamming outside, he can flip his hips back and re-enter phase to pick up his acceleration. He isn’t the quickest on 180-degree transitions, but he’s shown to be smooth and composed.
Stevenson also scores well with his agility and twitch. He has the twitch and corrective athleticism to adjust tackling angles with little notice. He quickly stacks direction changes and carries his acceleration upfield. Furthermore, with his exceptional twitch, Stevenson can snap into place on recovery. He’s an amped-up mover with fast feet in tight spaces. He glides laterally to match WRs off the line, and with his recovery athleticism, he can quickly recollect himself and redirect momentum after lurching on jams.
Stevenson’s raw talent grants him a high ceiling, but he also has a decently high floor — routinely showing bright flashes with his technique. The Miami CB actively uses his outside hand when tracking deep to pinch receivers close to the sideline after transitioning. He brings patient, decisive hands in tight coverage. When tracking upfield, Stevenson actively swats hands. He also jams in rapid succession, with his length granting him great force.
When working in off-man and press-man coverage, Stevenson has shown he can maintain patience and discipline. He can effortlessly match wide receivers and tempo his footwork as they conduct releases. Stevenson has a nice shuffle step off the line, which he uses to keep leverage while getting depth. At his best, he’s patient and well-timed, jamming as soon as receivers commit. His mix of short-area quickness, length, and precise physicality allows him to match and gather WRs with uncommon reliability.
Stevenson can play low in his stance and sink his hips on transitions. He can also use fast feet to match WRs at the line and stay loaded. In zone coverage, he appears adaptable, and he actively squares up receivers as they approach stems. In zone, Stevenson flashes good awareness. The Miami CB can quickly pick up underneath routes and close in. He can also process leverage and glide to his man in two-on-one situations.
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Expanding on Stevenson’s processing, the Miami CB is able to act swiftly on stimulus off the line. If WRs commit upfield, he can immediately flip his hips and accelerate. Moreover, Stevenson processes breaks well and has good reaction quickness. He keeps his eyes on the backfield in zone coverage and is quick to redirect downhill on delayed draws. He’s also aware of blind spots and promptly snaps around when receivers try to manipulate his field of vision.
As a playmaker, Stevenson actively gets his head back around in zone coverage to track the ball if it comes his way. While he could improve in this phase, he’s not a liability. He at least obstructs the passing lane in tight coverage and has shown to deliver with his focus in clutch moments.
Among other things, Stevenson flashes great long speed in pursuit and quickly accelerates in the open field when chasing down plays. He also brings great promise as a run defender. Stevenson willingly comes downhill, sharply recognizes screens, and explodes past blockers. He fully extends and engages blockers with his length while manipulating them and disrupting lanes outside, waiting until they commit to angles to exit his stance and attack.
Stevenson’s size and length make him a handful for WRs. He’s fast to shed blocks with combative hands. And while he could be a more consistent tackler, Stevenson’s flashed the ability to take down ball carriers in the open field.
Stevenson’s Areas for Improvement
There are very few glaring weaknesses in Stevenson’s game, but there are several notes across the board in the negatives department. Stevenson doesn’t quite have elite fluidity, as he does sometimes get locked up when carrying through 180-degree transitions. His change of direction isn’t always smooth, either. He sometimes needs to take a few steps to gather himself before redirecting.
In coverage, Stevenson occasionally gets too grabby and aids transitions with tugs. This could draw penalties at the next level. Going further, he sometimes attempts to jam while imbalanced, which renders him flat-footed, causing him to lurch and delay his response. He can be worked off-balance by crafty releases and occasionally gets worked too high in his stance when matching backward, which impacts his transitions.
Elsewhere, Stevenson could anticipate better in zone coverage. He’s sometimes a bit too hesitant to close downhill and clamp down on routes. The Miami CB maintains too much cushion at times and can better use opportunities to squeeze receivers against the sideline. On play fakes, he occasionally lets wide receivers sneak by him.
Interestingly, Stevenson’s most work-in-progress trait might be his ball-tracking and playmaking consistency. The Miami CB could do a better job maintaining his speed when tracking the ball, as he sometimes prematurely decelerates. His overall ball tracking is sometimes questionable, and he could gain a more consistent understanding of proper positioning.
Stevenson should also better use his length to target the ball at the catch point. Luckily, he improved in this area over the course of the 2022 campaign.
Moving ahead, Stevenson doesn’t quite have elite long speed. His speed is more than competent, but he can lose a step when tracking vertical routes, and he sometimes overpursues tackling angles in run support and plays himself out of position. Missed tackles are a frequent result of this. In the future, Stevenson needs to make a more concerted effort to gain leverage and wrap up at contact.
Current Draft Projection for Miami CB Tyrique Stevenson
Despite the relative lack of buzz surrounding Stevenson, he grades out as a top-50 talent and a top-10 CB prospect on my board. His athletic testing could render him a surprise Round 1 pick, but he’s assuredly a high-priority prospect in the Day 2 range. Especially for teams that employ lots of press-man, he has a very exciting skill set.
Stevenson’s path to this point as a former highly-rated four-star recruit hasn’t been entirely orthodox. But a change of scenery in 2021 proved to be very beneficial for him. Not only did Stevenson find an opportunity at Miami to distinguish himself as a boundary CB, but he also upped his game and put together some of his best tape in coverage.
Stevenson’s Senior Bowl showing put his best traits on display. In one-on-ones, he was incredibly patient but also opportunistic at the line — using his fast play pace and disciplined feet to match receivers and his length and proactive physicality to contain them. His press work is strong, but he also has the fluidity and high-end explosiveness to recover and close gaps when needed.
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Stevenson is an athletic CB prospect, but he’s by no means a project. His traits translate on the field, and he has the patience, discipline, and precise technique to maximize those traits. His combination of length, play strength, and elite burst can be tough for WRs to work past. He also has stellar agility and twitch, range in pursuit, passable fluidity, and he incubates his natural talent with good fundamentals and foot speed.
While Stevenson’s fluidity isn’t elite, he truly has a scheme-diverse skill set. With his length, patience, physicality, corrective athleticism, and recovery speed, he can be a handful in press-man. But he also has the awareness and explosiveness to be dangerous in zone. Stevenson can be a quality NFL starter on the boundary, but he also has the versatility to rotate into the slot and generate mismatches.