April 12, 2024

13 Best Cornerbacks in 2024 NFL Draft, Ranked

The 2024 NFL Draft features a slew of exciting cornerback prospects. From high-end first-rounders to late-round gems, there’s plenty of talent to be found in all seven rounds.

SB Nation surveyed several of its draft analysts to determine the consensus top-ranked cornerbacks. There was a lot of variation: one player’s vote spread went from eight to eighteen, and another player’s from three to nine.

Due to the variation, we identified the top 13 cornerbacks by including every prospect who received a top-10 vote.

13. Max Melton, Rutgers

Melton received one vote in eighth place. The Scarlet Knights standout was one of the top performers at the NFL Combine. Melton posted the best broad jump among all cornerbacks at 11 feet, his vertical jump of 40.5 inches was third, and he ran a 4.39 40. Melton possesses dazzling athleticism, and by becoming a more technically advanced player could help Melton reach his performance ceiling.

12. Cam Hart, Notre Dame

Hart has eye-popping size for the position at 6-foot-1 and 202 pounds. The Baltimore native was one of the most competitive cornerbacks in attendance at the Senior Bowl. Athleticism is evident after Hart posted a 39.5-inch vertical and 10-foot-10 width. Hart is versatile enough to thrive in man- or zone-heavy systems, but he is at his best when allowed to cover ground and work downhill in zone.

11. Kris Abrams-Draine, Missouri

Abrams-Draine is another versatile cornerback who will likely kick the bucket. Abrams-Draine had a standout performance at this year’s Senior Bowl, showcasing his competitiveness during one-on-one practice reps. The Mobile, Alabama native then posted a 4.42 at the NFL Combine. Rare ball skills are at the forefront of Abrams-Draine’s skillset. He collected an outstanding 40 career passes defended and seven interceptions at Missouri. Special teams versatility is also present: Abrams-Draine returned 32 kicks and kicks in college.

10. Mike Sainristil, Michigan

Size is the only question mark that could be classified as a negative in Sainristil’s scouting report. Sainristil unfortunately lacks the size needed to play borderline cornerback at 6-foot-1 and 182 pounds, likely making him a role-specific player for an NFL defense. He still managed to get one vote in eighth place. He was a key piece on a historically impressive Michigan defense that led the program to the National Championship. Sainristil is one of the smartest defenders in the draft with an innate ability to diagnose route concepts.

9. Khyree Jackson, Oregon

He is underrated by many, and Jackson has one seventh-place finish in our polls. First and foremost, Jackson possesses excellent size for the position at 6-foot-4 and 194 pounds. A lower-body explosion allowed Jackson to hit a broad jump of 10 feet 1 at the NFL Combine, the third-best mark of any cornerback competing. Jackson, a former transfer from Alabama, produced 10 pass breakups and three interceptions at Oregon last season.

8. Kamari Lassiter, Georgia

There are concerns about size, as Lassiter measures under 6-foot-1 and weighs just 186 pounds. However, Lassiter plays considerably larger on tape. The Bulldogs defenseman is extremely competitive and physical in the contact window. Lassiter is also versatile enough to play both nickel and boundary corners. That positional flexibility will be beloved by NFL defensive coordinators during this process.

7. TJ Tampa, Iowa State

One of our voters had Tampa right at the top at number three on the CB board, but no one else had him in the top six. Tampa has a wingspan of almost 79 inches, historically in the 89th percentile. Tampa uses that length to capture the catch point with 22 career passes defended. Instincts that allowed Tampa to thrive in Iowa State’s zone-heavy scheme are at the forefront of his call.

6. Ennis Rakestraw Jr., Missouri

Rakestraw Jr. didn’t test particularly well, but he’s a great footballer. Rakestraw Jr. shows lightning-quick feet in coverage and he makes fluid transitions to mirror his receiving assignment in and out of the breaks. Rakestraw Jr. has good length for the position and he likes to disrupt a receiver’s timing at the line of scrimmage.

5. Kool Aid McKinstry, Alabama

McKinstry’s preparation process was complicated by an injury. Widespread reports indicate that the talented Alabama cover man is set to undergo surgery for a Jones fracture injury in his right foot. The naturally gifted McKinstry still managed to run a 4.47 at Pro Day while nursing the injury. A team could get a draft weekend discount on McKinstry, who combines athleticism, size and speed to thrive in press coverage.

4. Cooper DeJean, Iowa

Although DeJean received one second-place vote, he ranked lower on every other ballot. It’s a shame DeJean wasn’t healthy enough to perform at the NFL Combine. Whispers around the league indicated that he was capable of achieving a result of 4.3. On tape, DeJean possesses the instincts necessary to make a zone-heavy plan work.

3. Nate Wiggins, Clemson

Wiggins earned one of our first-place votes, but no one else had him higher than three. There are good reasons why Wiggins is divisive. The Clemson standout posted a career-best 4.28 at the NFL Combine, a mark bettered only by Xavier Worthy’s record of 4.21. However, playing strength is a concern after Wiggins weighed 173 pounds in Indianapolis, a two percentile number per MockDraftable.

2. Territory Arnold, Alabama

Arnold received two first-place votes, but was lower on the list for others. Arnold is a very athletic cornerback who has all the tools needed to develop into a quality starting corner. The Tallahassee resident Reportedly ran a 6.65 3-cone at Alabama’s Pro Day last week, which would have been the second-fastest mark at the NFL Combine. Arnold is my personal favorite as the first cornerback drafted in April.

1. Quinyon Mitchell, Toledo

Mitchell entered the pre-draft process as an intriguing prospect after totaling 52 pass breakups and six interceptions in Toledo, but NFL scouts wanted to see how he would perform against better competition. Mitchell answered those questions by perhaps being the best overall performer at this year’s Senior Bowl. Mitchell continued to impress decision makers by running a 4.33 in Indianapolis. Mitchell has firmly established himself as a first-round pick.

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