ACC

Cordrea Tankersley, Clemson: 2017 NFL Draft Scouting Report

Has the highlight tape of Cordrea Tankersley solidified him a spot in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft?

More times than not, quarterbacks drop-back to throw and find Cordrea Tankersley in their way. Now, he’s not rushing off the edge or blitzing up in the middle like a linebacker. No, he’s going toe-to-toe with the best wide receiver on the field.

Clemson has developed some very promising players over the last few years, and you can add another cornerback to their list. In 2016, it was Mackensie Alexander and for 2017, it’ll be Cordrea Tankersley.

Not every player can play both the safety and cornerback position. Cordrea Tankersley can. He’s got tremendous upside for a cornerback who’s built like a safety. At times, he even looks like a wide receiver matching up against another wide receiver. His tape isn’t jaw dropping or eye opening. It’s satisfying. I’ve watched his tape over and over again and told myself, he’s a first rounder. I even held back on this scouting report just to see what would do against Ohio State. Needless to say, I’m satisfied.

Over the last two years, Tankersley has generated nine interceptions and 19 pass deflections. Don’t forget, he gets to add to those stats, as he plays Alabama for the National Championship in one week. In 2015, Tankersley was paired with Mackensie Alexander for one of the best defensive back pairings in the country. For the most part, Tankersley was the reason behind it. He saw 30 more passes thrown his way (77 passes) and quarterbacks posted a 35.1 completion percentage when throwing in his direction. Safe to say that 2015 was the breakout year for Cordrea Tankersley and in 2016, he proved he was no fluke.

With the tape that I’ve seen on Cordrea Tankersley, the obvious can be stated. He has a fluid backpedal and great size for a number one cornerback. At 6’1 and 200 lbs. he looks like a safety matching up with wide receivers in press coverage. With time, he has the ability to matchup on an island with anyone. If the cornerback position isn’t an easy translation for him in the NFL, he could pull a Malcolm Jenkins and play safety.

December 31, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Parris Campbell (21) runs the ball against Clemson Tigers cornerback Cordrea Tankersley (25) during the first half of the the 2016 CFP semifinal at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Last year, Tankersley seemed to struggle with receivers that ran an inside route. Whether it be a drag, slant or in routes, he allowed the catch more times than not. This year, the same thing seems to occur. Most of this is because of him not trusting his backpedal. Before the ball is snapped, he’s moving backwards and giving up any route that goes inside. He’s also not the best tackler I’ve seen. Whether it be against Virginia Tech or Notre Dame, I saw him miss at least three open field tackles.

My overall perception of Cordrea Tankersley is a first round cornerback who could go anywhere in the 20’s range of the 2017 NFL Draft. I’ve officially moved him in front of Michigan’s Jourdan Lewis. Part of their performances in their bowl games have a lot to do with it, but I’ve also liked what Tankersley is producing for a player of his size. Not just for the numbers but just his positioning on the field.

He makes things very difficult for quarterbacks and could translate to a very good player in any scheme.