CB Kyler Gordon, Washington*

6’0” – 200 lbs.

Background:

Washington local who redshirted after appearing in four games in 2018, then started four games the following year and finished with 32 tackles and four breakups. Started one of four games in 2020 (18 tackles, one breakup), then replaced 2021 third-round pick Elijah Molden, stepping into the starting right cornerback spot opposite Trent McDuffie this past year and totaling 45 tackles, two interceptions, and seven breakups before declaring.

Positives:

Favorable developmental trajectory after stepping into a starting role this past year and looking comfortable. Relatively tall, long-limbed cornerback who should meet almost any team’s size requirements. Freakish workout numbers; reportedly has a 42.5” vertical and 6.52 cone (Bruce Feldman). Nice footwork at the line to match releases from press coverage. Very good top-end speed to carry receivers downfield. Does a nice job of using his hands to get physical with opposing receivers and feel routes; can pin opponents to the boundary. Stays in the hip pocket on inside releases. Gets good depth with his shuffle to keep the play in front of him. Overall recognition skills look at least adequate. Very good closing burst/recovery speed. On-ball production in his only season as a starter was solid. Maintains outside leverage when playing the run; willing to come up and make tackles. Played on special teams coverage units.

Negatives:

Washington’s defense was basically limited to off-coverage and bailing from press-man, so might face a little bit of a learning curve at the next level in terms of techniques; also makes for a difficult evaluation in that he wasn’t often asked to turn and run or get his head around to locate down the sidelines. Was lined up almost exclusively on the right side of the defense this past year. Looks like he gets a little too far over his toes when backpedaling. Would like to see him feel routes at the stem a little bit more to stay glued tighter through the stem. Often tries to dip his shoulder underneath blockers instead of locking them out or shedding with his hands. Can get overwhelmed at the point of contact and look like he’s just hanging on. Doesn’t always put his body into ballcarriers; too many arm tackle attempts.

Summary:

Washington’s defensive scheme helps its cornerbacks by limiting the types of things they have to do, which can also make them difficult to evaluate. However, offers the total package from a physical and athletic standpoint and has a favorable developmental trajectory, so appears likely to be off the board by the end of the second round or so as a potential starter. Might fit best in a man-heavy scheme.

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