Top 5 Cornerbacks in the 2024 NFL Draft

Similar to 2023, the cornerback class in the 2024 NFL Draft is looking just as strong and deep. Based on initial assessment, there is both elite talent at the top as well as depth throughout Day 1 and Day 2. Today, we’ll be looking at my 5 favorite cornerbacks in the draft.

#1 Kool-Aid McKinstry, Alabama

Important Stats to Know

  • Had 18 forced incompletions, which tied for 2nd among all corners in the country in 2022.
  • Had 16 pass breakups last season, and he limited opposing receivers to a 46.3% catch percentage. 
  • Also an excellent punt returner, who averaged 15.8 yards per return.
  • Had a QB rating when targeted of 59.0 in 2022.

Highlights

Kool-Aid McKinstry has elite tools and length at 6’1 and 195 pounds. His physical foundation and frame give him the highest upside of any cornerback in the 2024 NFL Draft.

At 6’1″ and 195 pounds, he has the length to jar receivers and block passes at the catch point. Despite being a junior, he’s already a master technician with excellent footwork.

Fit with the Philadelphia Eagles

By the end of the 2023 NFL season, James Bradberry will be 31 and Darius Slay will be 34. While 4th-round, Kelee Ringo has all the tools and upside to grow into a CB1, it makes a ton of sense to look at grooming a future CB1 in Philadelphia if McKinstry is still on the board. Kool-Aid McKinstry attending college in Tuscaloosa is the cherry on the top considering the Eagles do not draft any players outside of Alabama or Georgia. Fit Grade: 10/10.

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#2 Kalen King, Penn State

Important Stats to Know

  • 1 of only 3 FBS players with 20-plus passes defended in 2022.
  • Led all corners in college football with a 93.3 PFF grade and 18.3 passer rating allowed in single-coverage.
  • His 15 forced incompletions in single-coverage were tied for third as well.

Highlights

Kalen King is an NFL-ready cornerback prospect who should thrive both in the slot and on the boundary at the next level.

While Joey Porter Jr. received most of the recognition in 2022, Kalen King is a budding star in Penn State’s secondary. All signs point to Kalen King being a first rounder in 2024.

Fit with the Philadelphia Eagles

It’s hard to imagine a better fit than Kalen King in Philadelphia due to his upside as a shutdown corner. King has seen significant playing time since his true freshman season in 2021 and has a real chance to upset Kool-Aid McKinstry as CB1 in the 2024 NFL Draft. Fit Grade: 10/10.

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#3 Cooper DeJea, Iowa

Important Stats to Know

  • His 5 picks in 2022 was tied for 4th best among Power Five corners.
  • Very good in run support: His 15 run-defense stops were tied for the most among all corners in the country last season.
  • Cooper DeJean was the only corner in the country with 85-plus grades both in coverage and in run defense, per PFF.

Highlights

Cooper DeJean has elite versatility. He excels both in coverage and as a run-defender either. Cooper can thrive on the outside or as a slot corner. He can simply do it all.

Cooper DeJean is a big-time playmaker in coverage, but could also transition to safety at the next level due to his top notch versatility and frame.

Fit with the Philadelphia Eagles

Sitting here in May, we currently don’t know much about new Eagles defensive coordinator Sean Desai and what defense will look like in 2023. However, we do know that Howie Roseman prefers to have elite versatility when drafting for defense. Cooper DeJean is the Swiss army knife of the 2024 draft and surely has Howie’s attention this season. Fit Grade: 7/10.

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#4 Tony Grimes, Texas A&M

Important Stats to Know

  • He’ll be a young 22 years of age after entering the NFL his rookie season.
  • Only logged 1 interception and 7 deflections in 2022 but expects to have much higher production at Texas A&M in 2023.

Highlights

Tony Grimes has all the tools and length to develop into a CB1 in the NFL. With some improved technique in 2023, Tony Grimes has first round potential in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Tony Grimes’ combination of amazing fluidity, foot speed, length and 5-star recruit pedigree makes him a near lock for the first round in 2024.

Fit with the Philadelphia Eagles

Tony Grimes will be THE guy in 2023 for the Aggies, who lost 4 cornerbacks to the transfer portal over the last few months. It’s important to note that much of Grimes’ ranking is based on projection. He was a star cornerback for UNC, and I expect him to become a household name in the SEC this season. If he performs well, I expect Tony Grimes to be a major target for the Eagles in the back end of round 1. Tony Grimes should also be a huge winner of the draft process due to his elite athleticism. Fit Grade: 8/10.

#5 Denzel Burke, Ohio State

Important Stats to Know

  • Only allowed a 48.4% completion rate while forcing 10 incompletions and not allowing any touchdowns as a true freshman in 2021.
  • Regressed as a sophomore, allowing a 110.2 passer rating when targeted in 2022.
  • Had one pick and 12 pass deflections last season.
  • Struggled with consistent in 2022, but ended the season well: In the final 7 games, Burke gave up 12 receptions on 22 targets for 101 yards — an average of just 14.4 yards allowed per game.

Highlights

Denzel Burke has CB1 potential due to his plus size and ability to shut down bigger receivers. With some improved technique in 2023, the sky is the limit for his draft stock.

Denzel Burke is a physical press corner at 6-foot-1, 190 pounds who projects best at the line of scrimmage and on the outside.

Fit with the Philadelphia Eagles

The cornerbacks at Ohio State was one of the team’s weak links in 2022. Burke didn’t develop into the lockdown corner that many expected last year after his true freshman season, but that could all change in 2023. Four-star transfers CB Davison Igbinosun and S Ja’Had Carter should round out a much improved secondary for the Buckeyes this year. Burke enters this season as one of the leaders of Ohio State’s 2023 defense and has first-round talent. Fit Grade: 7/10.

Honorable Mentions

  • Josh Newton, TCU
  • Jason Marshall Jr., Florida
  • Will Johnson, Michigan
  • Max Melton, Rutgers
  • Tyreek Chappell, Texas A&M
  • Benjamin Morrison, Notre Dame
  • D.J. James, Auburn
  • Nate Wiggins, Clemson
  • Kamari Lassiter, Georgia

This a deep dive into the top 5 cornerbacks in the 2024 NFL draft so far.

Christopher Deibler
Christopher Deibler

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