NFL Draft News & Analysis

2024 NFL Draft: Highest graded cornerbacks in every category

2T234RA Toledo cornerback Quinyon Mitchell (27) during an NCAA football game on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, in Muncie, Ind. (AP Photo/Doug McSchooler)

• PFF’s CB2 shows up in single coverage: Quinyon Mitchell takes the top spot in on plays without QB pressure and plays in single coverage, two of the more difficult phases to be successful in as well as two of PFF’s most stable metrics for cornerbacks. 

• Late-round gems?: Both popular mid to late-round names, ArkansasDwight McGlothern and Florida State’s Renardo Green, offer very different skill sets leading to each topping multiple categories 

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The cornerback position has never been more difficult than in today’s NFL, and matching players with proper schemes to maximize their skill sets has never been more vital. Looking at corners in different coverage scenarios, we can get a bit of insight into what type of role might fit them best when looking towards draft day.

Here’s how the top cornerback prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft stack up in some of PFF’s key grading facets: 

Highest PFF coverage grade on plays with no pressure: Quinyon Mitchell, Toledo (91.5)

Allowing just 181 yards on 265 coverage snaps without a QB pressure, Quinyon Mitchell overwhelmed opposing receivers, allowing a meager 44.7 quarterback rating when targeted. He showed great long speed and ability to stay in phase, giving up just three catches for 15-plus yards when the QB was kept clean. 

PFF coverage grade on passes thrown in three seconds or less: Dwight McGlothern, Arkansas (92.0)

Facing 20 targets on 145 coverage snaps, ArkansasDwight McGlothern showed some savvy route anticipation from off-coverage in 2023. He showed the ability to make an impact against a QB's first reads, forcing five incompletions and tallying three interceptions while allowing just six open targets all season on throws in three seconds or less.

PFF overage grade in single coverage: Quinyon Mitchell, Toledo (90.5)

The No. 2 CB on the PFF big board has proven to be a force in single coverage throughout his college career capped off by an impressive 2023 in which he allowed just three open targets in single coverage. Racking up 13 forced incompletions and an interception in 2023, the Toledo product has impressive ball production to back up his lofty draft stock. 

22. Philadelphia Eagles: CB Quinyon Mitchell, Toledo

PFF coverage grade at outside cornerback: Dwight McGlothern, Arkansas (92.0)

Missing three games this season, McGlothern might not have the bulk snap counts of his peers, but his per-snap numbers and ball production rival anyone in the class. Forcing an incompletion or interception on 33.3% of targets into his coverage, McGlothern allowed just five open targets in 2023.

PFF coverage grade in the slot: Jarrian Jones, Florida State (81.4)

Jarrian Jones’ closing speed consistently pops against the screen game, where he recorded six of his seven coverage stops. Allowing just 14 catches on 213 coverage snaps in the slot, the former Florida State corner flashed some ball skills as well with two interceptions and three pass deflections. 

PFF coverage grade on early downs: Dwight McGlothern, Arkansas (92.3)

McGlothern makes his third appearance on this list because all three of his interceptions and four of his five forced incompletions occurred on first or second down. When able to diagnose and close from off coverage, he flashed the ability to play with physicality with four defensive stops and zero missed tackles.

PFF coverage grade on late downs: Renardo Green, Florida State (91.3)

Aligning in press on 89 of his 121 late-down coverage snaps, the corner out of Florida State was able to make an impact when it mattered. Forcing 11 incompletions at the catch point, Green showed solid ball skills and ability to stay in phase against a multitude of routes, allowing just five first downs and one 15-plus-yard completion on conversion downs. 

PFF coverage grade on deep targets (20-plus): Renardo Green, Florida State (88.7)

Back to back for the former Seminole, Green faced 10 targets of over 20 air yards, allowing just one to be caught. Green stayed on top of receivers vertically and played through the catch point well, forcing five incompletions on deep targets. 

PFF coverage grade on passes thrown 10-19 yards: Kamal Hadden, Tennessee (84.6)

Hadden displayed the ability to stay in-phase on in-breakers and diagnose hole shots well in Cover 2, allowing just three catches on eight targets in the intermediate range. He paired good closing speed and solid ball skills to force an interception and break up one pass. 

PFF pass-rush grade: Johnny Dixon, Penn State (76.8)

Potentially overlooked among two other draftable corners on his team (Kalen King and Daequan Hardy), Johnny Dixon was a consistent threat off the edge in 2023. Showing some high-level closing burst coming from the slot or on the line of scrimmage, Dixon tallied five sacks and one QB hit to go along with three hurries.

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