NFL Draft News & Analysis

2024 NFL Draft: The top-10 cornerback prospects if everyone in college football was eligible

2T2BEEE FILE - Alabama defensive back Kool-Aid McKinstry (1) sets up for a play against Mississippi during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. McKinstry has been selected to The Associated Press midseason All-America team, Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023.(AP Photo/Vasha Hunt, File)

• Two 2025 corners lead the way: Michigan’s Will Johnson and Notre Dame’s Benjamin Morrison would be the top corners in this class if they were eligible.

• Travis Hunter makes the top 10: The rising Colorado junior places sixth and is the biggest unicorn in college football because he’s able to play both corner and wide receiver at a high level.

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The NFL is unique to other sports leagues in that players cannot enter it until they are three years removed from high school. 

What if that rule changed and players could enter the draft after playing just one year of college football? Here’s how the top-10 cornerback prospects would shake out for the 2024 NFL Draft if everybody in college football was eligible to be selected.

(Please note: Only players eligible for the 2024, 2025 and 2026 NFL Drafts were considered. Incoming true freshmen were not eligible. Also, the 2024 rankings are how I view the prospects, not necessarily what’s reflected on PFF’s big board.)

Click below to view our other all-eligible prospect rankings

QB | RB | WR | TE | OT | IOL | DI | EDGE | LB

1. Will Johnson, Michigan, 2025

Johnson immediately lived up to the five-star billing that he had coming out of high school. As a true freshman in 2022, he posted a 91.1 PFF grade in man coverage that led all corners in the Power Five.

He followed that up by allowing just a 29.1 passer rating into his coverage as a sophomore, which was fifth among all cornerbacks in the country. On six targets against Marvin Harrison Jr. and Rome Odunze this past season, Johnson allowed just three catches while also coming down with an interception. 

He has all the physical traits you’d want in a corner at 6-foot-2, 202 pounds with excellent speed, footwork and ball skills for the position. If he was eligible to be selected in 2024, he’d be the first corner off the board. In fact, he would’ve been the first one taken in 2023 as well. Johnson has the makings of a special cornerback prospect who’ll likely be a top-five pick next April.

2. Benjamin Morrison, Notre Dame, 2025

While Johnson’s first two seasons were special, Morrison’s weren’t too far behind. As a true freshman in 2022, he tied for the Power Five lead with six interceptions while his 29.2 passer rating allowed was third. In 2023, he was tied for eighth in that same group with 13 forced incompletions.

Morrison’s posted an 86.8 single-coverage grade since 2022, which paces all returning Power Five corners. On seven targets against Marvin Harrison Jr. over the last two years, he had more forced incompletions (three) than allowed catches (two). While there’s work to do as a tackler, Morrison has elite ball skills for the position. Both he and Johnson could be top-10 picks in 2025 and would likely be the first corners off the board this year if eligible.

3. Kool-Aid McKinstry, Alabama, 2024

McKinstry is rarely brought up as the top cornerback in the 2024 class despite having the tape to back up that claim. He’s been named a first-team PFF All-American in each of the last two seasons. In that span, his 26 forced incompletions in single coverage are tied for the most among all cornerbacks in the nation.

While he’s only an above-average athlete, McKinstry’s shown the ability to be a lockdown corner with his intelligence and ability to thrive in man or zone coverage.

4. Quinyon Mitchell, Toledo, 2024

Like McKinstry, Mitchell has been incredibly dominant over the past couple of years. He finished as the nation’s highest-graded cornerback in both 2022 and 2023 and has the most forced incompletions in that span (35).

Mitchell followed that up with the best pre-draft process of any prospect in the draft, dominating the Senior Bowl and testing as the most athletic corner in the draft at the combine. With that, he cemented himself as a first-round pick and potentially the first cornerback off the board.

5. Cooper DeJean, Iowa, 2024

The best way to describe DeJean is that he’s just a damn good football player. He excels as an outside corner, slot corner and is an outstanding run-defender in addition to his stellar coverage abilities. He’s the only cornerback in the country since 2022 with 90-plus PFF grades both in coverage and as a run-defender.

DeJean is about as NFL-ready as it gets and still has a high ceiling thanks to his natural athletic gifts. 

6. Travis Hunter, Colorado, 2025

There’s versatile and then there’s Travis Hunter. Not only did he serve as Colorado’s top corner in 2023, he was also second on the team with 721 receiving yards. Hunter played 1,044 snaps in nine games, which was the most in college football. 

Even though he practically never came off the field and was routinely matched up with the opposition’s best receiver, Hunter still impressed with three interceptions which put him second among Pac-12 corners. 

He has the best ball skills of any corner in the country and is a freak athlete, which shouldn’t be surprising considering how effective of a receiver he is. While focusing on one position full-time may allow him to excel even more, the Buffaloes will happily settle with their marathon man being a well-above-average player at two incredibly valuable positions. 

7. Tacario Davis, Arizona, 2025

The first thing you notice about Davis is his freakish size at 6-foot-4. That length allows him to significantly bother receivers at the catch point. The sophomore posted a 27.8% forced incompletion rate in 2023, fifth among Power Five corners. In single coverage, Davis forced more incompletions (14) than he allowed catches (11). 

He moves very well for a corner his size, which makes it very difficult for receivers to beat him. Davis entered the transfer portal back in January but is still listed on Arizona’s roster and was recently participating in team workouts, making it likely that he’ll be returning to Tucson for his junior campaign.

8. Terrion Arnold, Alabama, 2024

Thanks to quarterbacks avoiding his aforementioned teammate, McKinstry, Arnold was able to have a breakout junior campaign. His 88.4 PFF grade in 2023 was fifth among Power Five corners while his 90.6 PFF run-defense grade tied for second.

Arnold still needs some polish, but he has the top-tier athletic traits to bet on.

9. Nate Wiggins, Clemson, 2024

Wiggins has elite athleticism at 6-foot-1, running a 4.28-second 40-yard dash. He only surrendered a 44.4 passer rating into his coverage this past season, which was a top-15 mark among Power Five corners. 

Wiggins needs to get stronger (173 pounds), but he has the tools and competitiveness to be a long-term starting cornerback.

10. Jabbar Muhammad, Oregon, 2025

Muhammad is currently the only player on this list who’ll have a new home in 2024 after transferring to Oregon from Washington. The junior led all cornerbacks this past season with 19 forced incompletions, 17 of them coming in single coverage. 

While not the biggest at 5-foot-10, 183 pounds, he has excellent burst for the position and brings a feisty, ultra-competitive approach to his game.

2026 Prospect to Know: Malik Muhammad, Texas

Muhammad was a top-five cornerback recruit coming out of high school and immediately showed why as a true freshman. His 79.9 PFF coverage grade was second among all Big 12 corners while his 20% forced incompletion rate was fifth.

He’s not an elite athlete but has good instincts and polish for someone his age. 

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