Finding Broncos: 10 CB Prospects to Pair With Patrick Surtain II

The Denver Broncos need someone opposite Patrick Surtain II. What are the options in the NFL draft?

While the Denver Broncos got solid play from Fabien Moreau opposite Patrick Surtain II, the team needs more. The Broncos need to have a threat there, and Moreau, while solid, wasn't that. 

The Broncos traded up to draft Riley Moss last year, but he didn't see the field in that role. After betting on growth from Damarri Mathis and not getting it, the Broncos shouldn't make the same mistake with Moss. 

Denver needs to add competition for the starting job opposite Surtain, and if Moss wins it, great. Moss shouldn't be handed the job with barely seeing the field as a rookie. 

Fortunately, plenty of corners in the 2024 NFL draft class could bring that competition with Moss for the starting job opposite Surtain, so let's get into some of those options. 

Quinyon Mitchell | Toledo

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Mitchell helped himself by having one of the best performances during Senior Bowl week. He's exceptionally athletic and versatile, able to play anywhere in the secondary in any coverage scheme. 

Mitchell's ball skills are near the best in this class, if not the best. The physicality is there; he isn't afraid to trigger downhill and be physical against the run. 

Now, the negatives to Mitchell's game are mostly consistency and nit-picking. He can occasionally be late and slow with his backpedal, and his transitions are not always prompt. 

Mitchell dominated the competition he played consistently, though he didn't always face the toughest matchups. When he did face tougher competition, he still held his own but wasn't quite as dominant. 

Kool-Aid McKinstry | Alabama

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McKinstry's game has good agility and fluidity. He's physical and willing to help as a run defender. The physicality shows up with his press and at the catch point, where he attacks the receiver's hands to make catches more difficult. 

The versatility isn't there, as McKinstry needs to be a press boundary corner. He can still work in man and zone, but the farther from the line of scrimmage he gets, the more issues arise. He doesn't have the long speed to stick and carry defenders down the field and doesn't track the ball very well. 

Ennis Rakestraw Jr. | Missouri

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The instincts are outstanding with Rakestraw, and he has great twitch and fluidity to stick in man coverage. His length is effective, and he uses that and his physicality quite well when working in press coverage and attacking the catch point. 

Rakestraw is a better man corner than zone, but he has the traits needed to grow as a zone corner. His ball skills need to be improved, as he has broken up 21 passes but only one interception over four years. The tackling is inconsistent, but it did show improvement over this past season. 

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Kamari Lassiter | Georgia

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Lassiter has a great football IQ, and he processes and diagnoses plays quickly, which helps his effectiveness in working in zone coverage. He isn't the most physical corner, but he is willing to help as a  run defender, though he tries to go around blockers rather than through them. The athleticism and recovery athleticism are above the required level for the NFL. 

Lassiter's feel and eye discipline in coverage needs to be more consistent, as he can get caught peeking and lose his assignment in coverage. The biggest concern will being more disciplined with his hands at the NFL level, where he will get in trouble for holding and pass interference with how handy he gets after the first five yards. 

T.J. Tampa | Iowa State

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Tampa has great length, and the explosion testing is expected to be great. He was also a wide receiver, and he showed his ability to read routes and help him stick with his assignment when working in man. The physical tools and traits are all there, but it is a matter of putting them together. 

The short area quickness, long speed, and physicality are all there. Tampa is willing against the run, and the athleticism oozes from him. 

Tampa's technique has to be developed in every phase. The versatility is there, and he may have some of the highest upside in this class, but the floor is extremely low. 

Caelen Carson | Wake Forest

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Entering the 2023 season, there were concerns about Carson's ball skills and production, but he picked up four interceptions and four broken-up passes. There are still concerns about locating and tracking the ball, which compounds some concerns about his hands to secure interceptions. He also is inconsistent with his technique, which gets him into a bad position, and his recovery athleticism isn't there. 

There is scheme versatility, and Carson is quick to diagnose route concepts. He's highly competitive and will bring good physicality against the run. 

The footwork is quick and clean and helps keep in a good position most of the time. Carson can work inside and out and has the potential to be a quality second corner.  

Mike Sainristil | Michigan

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As a former receiver, Sainristil sometimes runs routes better than the receivers he faces. His route recognition and ability to read passing concepts are second to none in this class. He brings excellent ball skills and is very physical in coverage and against the run. 

Sainristil might be the top pure nickel corner in the class. The size isn't there to live on the boundary, and that can see him get bullied by bigger physical receivers. While he can work in man and zone coverages, he is a better fit in a zone-heavy scheme early on as he will need to develop his transitions in man coverage. 

D.J. James | Auburn

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James is a tall and skinny corner who must add more mass to his frame for the NFL. He brings plenty of experience in man and zone coverages and multiple spots in the secondary. 

James' versatility is some of the best in this class, heightened by his excellent instincts and football IQ. Not only is he quick with his processor, but he is quick with his feet, and his recovery athleticism is fantastic. 

There are concerns about carrying receivers downfield with James' long speed, and he also doesn't maintain eye discipline when working in zone coverages. He might be limited to a slot or safety role at his current build and will need to bulk up to live on the boundary. There are also concerns about his ability to help against the run. The mentality is there, but the build is not. 

Jarvis Brownlee Jr. | Louisville

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Brownlee is a physical press corner who is more than willing to use his physicality as a run defender. He does well to stay in phase in coverage and rarely sees moments of panic when in coverage, even when he gets a little out of position. The athleticism is there, and he works well under the receiver, making the quarterback adjust to make a more difficult throw. 

As physical as Brownlee is, bigger receivers often bully him when going off against them, as his size isn't ideal. He might find himself working in the slot more than a boundary corner due to his frame. There are also concerns about the ball skills, as he attacks the receiver more than attacking the ball, limiting those turnover opportunities. 

© William Bretzger-Delaware News Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

King is a fluid mover with good instincts who can work in man and zone coverages. He doesn't have the elite long speed, which can create some issues at the NFL level. 

There are also issues with consistency in his technique and times where King reads routes wrong, with the lack of recovery athleticism to make up for it. Lowering his backpedal and pad level will be a priority for NFL coaches.

The coverage scheme versatility will be a boost for NFL teams, but King's play against the run will also be a significant boost. He's quick to read plays, triggers downhill with an aggressive and physical approach, and will work through blockers to bring down the ball carrier. He isn't afraid to come in and take on pulling offensive linemen as a run defender. 


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