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Under-the-Radar Cornerbacks for the Colts in the 2021 NFL Draft

Which day three corners fit the Colts in this class?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 01 Outback Bowl - Minnesota v Auburn Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Under-the-Radar series continues with the focus today being on cornerbacks. The Colts run a heavy cover two defense so, naturally, the emphasis on draft corners will be in regards to that scheme. So, the Colts value corners who are a bit bigger and better suited to defend the run than most teams would.

Luckily, this class appears to be one of the bigger cornerback classes in a long time. Most of the top rated guys in this class— Jaycee Horn, Patrick Surtain, Caleb Farley, Greg Newsome— are over 6’0” and 200 pounds and the depth of the class is the same way. With that in mind, here are a couple under-the-radar options for the Colts at cornerback on day three of the draft.

Benjamin St-Juste, CB, Minnesota

NCAA Football: Penn State at Minnesota Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Benjamin St-Juste is one of the most Chris Ballard day three picks in this entire class. St-Juste had an excellent season in 2019 with the Golden Gophers, as he totaled 10 pass deflections on the year and was dominant in run defense. While he had a bit of a down year in 2020 due to teams just throwing away from him, he still earned an invite to the Senior Bowl, where he had a strong week.

St-Juste is far from a perfect prospect in this draft, but his strengths are exactly what Chris Ballard loves. He is an outstanding run defender and tackler, perhaps the best tackling cornerback in the class. In the short and intermediate area of the field, he is a reliable corner who plays physical and aggressive. He is also outstanding in the red zone, where he has locked up many top receiver prospects over the past two years. He won’t be high for me due to his struggles down the field covering vertical routes, but he could be a valuable player in a cover two zone.

Israel Mukuamu, CB, South Carolina

NCAA Football: Florida at South Carolina Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

While he didn’t have quite the Senior season that was expected, Israel Mukuamu is still an interesting corner prospect in this class. South Carolina hurt his development by switching him back and forth between cornerback and safety, but the film he put up in 2019 at corner was really strong. For his career, he finished with 86 tackles, 4 tackles for a loss, 10 pass deflections, and 7 interceptions.

Mukuamu was fully expected to work his way into top cornerback status with a strong 2020, but injuries and position flipping really hurt that development. As a corner, he has elite length and size for the position (6’4” 205 pounds). He uses this size to be a strong run defender who simply kills quick screens and bubble screens. He isn’t an outstanding athlete but he has enough flexibility and speed to be suitable for the Colts’ scheme. He also showcases superb ball skills, which is evident by his 7 interceptions in just 22 games played. He has a ways to go with his technique but he’s a guy to take a shot on with a day three pick.

Camryn Bynum, CB, California

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 05 Oregon at Cal Photo by Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

My favorite cornerback on day three of this draft is Camryn Bynum. He may not be a top level athlete but he plays the way that every corner should play. He is one of the more experienced corners in this class, starting since his freshman season and having 42 starts under his belt. In those four years, he totaled 184 tackles, 8 tackles for a loss, 1 sack, 28 pass deflections, and 6 interceptions.

Bynum isn’t a superb athlete (a little above average which is passable) but he makes up for that in many ways. He is a feisty and physical corner who attacks receivers relentlessly on every play. In press, he has a very developed and diverse ways to win. He is rarely beat off the line which is so big in today’s NFL. He is a great run defender who is always willing to step up and fill in the box. If there is one day three corner to bet on lasting in this league, my bet would be on Camryn Bynum.

Jason Pinnock, CB, Pittsburgh

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 21 UCF at Pitt Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Going more to the upside side of day three, Jason Pinnock has the potential to be a steal in this draft. Pinnock has flown a bit under the radar but after having an insane Pro Day (4.49 forty time, 39.5 inch vertical, and a 4.1 second shuttle time), he is climbing up boards. He finished his career with 54 tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss, 19 pass deflections, and 6 interceptions.

Pinnock was well on his way to being a top cornerback prospect after his 2018 season until inconsistencies and changes in his technique derailed him a bit. He was a strong press man player in 2018 but looked completely lost during his final two seasons. Still, seeing that he can be a strong press player is a positive sign. I, personally, am more excited about his abilities in zone. He has good eyes and attacks the ball in the air. He also has great closing speed that allows him to recover from any technical mistakes. While he is a bit of a project, I see a lot of similarities in his game to Marvell Tell’s rookie year with the Colts.

Honorable Mentions

  • Shemar Jean-Charles, Appalachian State: While he may not have great athleticism, his ability to play the ball in the air is a top trait (led college football in pass deflections last year). Also has that connection to newest Colts’ DB Coach James Rowe.
  • Mark Gilbert, Duke: Once a top corner prospect, Gilbert has barely played since 2018 due to injuries. He tested as a top tier athlete, has great length, and put out some really strong tape back in 2018. Risky but could be worth a late round flier.
  • Rodarius Williams, Oklahoma State: Underwhelming athlete on film but he is a scrappy corner who has sound technique.
  • Nate Hobbs, Illinois: Excellent athlete who attacks the ball in the air. Raw but there’s something to work with there.