Whether they suited up for Group of Five or FCS programs, there are plenty of promising prospects in this year’s NFL Draft who didn’t play in the Power Five conferences.
Here’s a look at some of the best cornerbacks from Group of Five schools who could end up providing key contributions for a pro team sometime in the near future.
1. Darrell Luter Jr. of South Alabama
Luter is being projected as a mid-round pick, and that would be a great move for an All-American defensive back of Luter’s caliber.
Luter was a third-team All-Sun Belt honoree last season after totaling 42 tackles, seven pass breakups, and an interception. The year before, he was first-team all-conference after picking off four passes and defending 10 to go with 21 tackles.
Luter could become a dependable contributor for a pro team.
Read more: Darrell Luter Jr. Has Potential To Be NFL Starter
2. Starling Thomas V of UAB
After transitioning from wide receiver to defensive back, Thomas showed great coverage abilities.
Last season, he was tied for 12th in the country among cornerbacks who played 20% of the most snaps after allowing 37.9% of targets his way to be caught, according to Pro Football Focus. He was on the All-Conference USA first team in 2022.
Thomas could play anywhere in an NFL team’s secondary.
Read more: Starling Thomas V of UAB Could Be On Track To Becoming Pro Starter
3. Nic Jones of Ball State
Jones has been a top-notch corner in the MAC.
He allowed 30 catches on 68 targets in 2022, which is a reception rate of 44.1%. That was 21st among cornerbacks in the nation who played at least 50% of the most snaps, helping him earn all-conference second-team accolades.
Jones has the frame and athleticism to join the professional ranks, and he’s shown he can make things tough for opposing wideouts.
Read more: Nic Jones of Ball State Could Thrive As A Pro
4. Myles Brooks of Louisiana Tech
Brooks was in the top 10 in reception rate among cornerbacks who played at least 20% of the most snaps in the country at 37.7%. That’s a strong indicator of how great he could be in the NFL.
Brooks was on the All-Conference USA second team in 2022. He recorded 29 tackles, three for loss, with eight pass breakups and three picks.
Brooks has plenty of potential. He’ll only become better with some NFL coaching.
Read more: Louisiana Tech’s Myles Brooks Wildly Underrated
5. Kahlef Hailassie of Western Kentucky
Hailassie boosted Western Kentucky’s defense in myriad ways.
He was in the top 50 in PFF’s grades of cornerbacks who played 20% of the most snaps in the country for coverage and overall defense. He was also tied for 10th in total tackles while allowing a 59% reception rate.
Hailassie embraced helping with run defense and is highly skilled in coverage. He should have no issue staying in the NFL for years to come.
Read more: Kahlef Hailassie From Western Kentucky Possesses Pro-Ready Skill Set