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2021 NFL Draft: Top CB prospects who fit Falcons

A look at the top draft prospects at every position group who might fit with the Falcons


Editor's note: This is the fourth installment of a 10-part series on top prospects who fit the Falcons based on positions of need.

The Atlanta Falcons have a new regime in place, beginning at the top with general manager Terry Fontenot and head coach Arthur Smith. Not only have they been busy putting together their respective staffs, but they're also been evaluating every single player on this roster.


The Falcons finished last season with a 4-12 mark, in last place of the NFC South and, as a result, hold the No. 4 overall pick in the NFL Draft. They've missed the postseason for three straight years. In short, there's some definite areas on this roster that will need to be addressed in the offseason.

The Falcons' four biggest needs heading into free agency and the NFL Draft right now appear to be at edge defender, secondary (cornerback and safety), running back and offensive line. Over the next several weeks we will look at the top draft prospects at every position group and how they might fit with the Falcons.


Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech

  • 2019 stats: 20 total tackles, 12 PD, 4 INT in 10 games
  • Draft position in Matt Tabeek's latest mock draft: 6

Summary of big board rankings:

  • The Draft Scout: 13
  • Pro Football Focus: 13
  • Dane Brugler's top 100: 10
  • Daniel Jeremiah's top 50: 5

Brugler's analysis: "Farley checks boxes with his size, speed and reaction skills while also developing his comfort level on defense, which has allowed him to anticipate the action and play ultracompetitive. With only two years of experience at corner, he needs continued work with his route recognition and fundamental muscle memory, but the majority of his flaws are due to inexperience and not inability."

Jeremiah's analysis: "Farley has outstanding size, length and speed for the cornerback position. He mixes up his technique and effectively re-routes wideouts with a one- or two-hand jam in press coverage. He's very fluid/loose and stays in phase with his man underneath and down the field. Farley has a quick/smooth pedal in off coverage and his patience helps him handle double moves. He shows exceptional burst when he does drive on the ball. The redshirt junior has plenty of speed to carry vertical routes. He can find and play the ball down the field. He's aggressive to fill versus the run, but he will fall off a few tackles. Overall, Farley has all of the ingredients to be a No. 1 cornerback at the next level."

Pro Football Focus: "He's got the size and speed part of the position down pat and was pretty darn good at the coverage part when we last saw him in 2019. He allowed a passer rating of only 26.8 that season."


Patrick Surtain II, Alabama

  • 2020 stats: 37 total tackles, 9 PD, 1 INT in 13 games
  • Draft position in Matt Tabeek's latest mock draft: 9

Summary of big board rankings:

  • The Draft Scout: 10
  • Pro Football Focus: 16
  • Dane Brugler's top 100: 11
  • Daniel Jeremiah's top 50: 14

Brugler's analysis: "With his foot athleticism, body range and ball skills, Surtain plays sticky coverage and doesn't panic downfield, consistently staying balanced and in phase. While he is athletic and false steps are infrequent, he lacks suddenness in his movements, giving explosive receivers a chance to separate early."

Jeremiah's analysis: "Surtain has an ideal blend of size, speed and ball skills. He's at his best in press coverage. He doesn't consistently re-route receivers, but he avoids false steps and has plenty of speed to stay on top versus the vertical passing game. He will struggle at times versus smaller/quicker pass catchers. Like most big corners, he lacks top-flight short-area quickness. He has good eyes from off coverage, though. He identifies route combinations and makes aggressive plays on the ball. He is tough to fill versus the run and he's a reliable tackler in the open field. Overall, Surtain is a very similar prospect to Marlon Humphrey when he was coming out of Alabama. I envision similar success for Surtain at the next level."

Pro Football Focus: "You won't find a better combination of size, length and technique in the draft. All Surtain doesn't have is the high-end speed you'd like when drafting a corner early."


Jaycee Horn, South Carolina

  • 2020 stats: 16 total tackles, 6 PD, 2 INT in seven games
  • Draft position in Matt Tabeek's latest mock draft: 25

Summary of big board rankings:

  • The Draft Scout: 26
  • Pro Football Focus: 24
  • Dane Brugler's top 100: 20
  • Daniel Jeremiah's top 50: 23

Brugler's analysis: "With his length and athleticism, Horn matches up well vs. size and shows more ownership for the catch point than most receivers, displaying improved route recognition the last three seasons. While his aggressive nature is a strength to his game, it also works against him at times — he is the type of corner who immediately finds the official after each play to make sure no flags were thrown (five penalties in seven games in 2020)."

Jeremiah's analysis: "Horn is a big, physical cornerback with plenty of speed and instincts. He's physical with his hands to consistently re-route in press coverage. He is fluid when he opens up and can run/stay in phase with vertical routes. His short-area quickness is good for a big cornerback. However, he has some bad habits to break in off coverage. He catches and grabs too much. He will draw a lot of flags at the next level if that doesn't get cleaned up. He does do a good job of locating and playing the ball downfield. He has outstanding hands to finish with the ball. He is more than willing in run support (see: huge hit versus Auburn). Overall, Horn needs to play with more confidence from off coverage (to avoid panicking and grabbing), but he has the skills to excel right away as a press-man cornerback."

Pro Football Focus: "Horn has the athleticism and mindset of a man corner at the NFL level - he's not going to back down from anyone. He allowed only eight catches from 24 targets for 116 yards across seven games this year."


Asante Samuel Jr., Florida State

  • 2020 stats: 30 total tackles, 6 PD, 3 INT in eight games
  • Draft position in Matt Tabeek's latest mock draft: Day 2

Summary of big board rankings:

  • The Draft Scout: 98
  • Pro Football Focus: 29
  • Dane Brugler's top 100: 34
  • Daniel Jeremiah's top 50: N/R

Brugler's analysis: "Samuel plays with outstanding reaction quickness and ball awareness to turn and locate or drive on throws in front of him. His lack of size shows up in coverage and vs. the run, but he is a heady player who trusts his skills, very similar to his Pro Bowl father."

Pro Football Focus: "Samuel was arguably college football's smoothest athlete at the position. He allowed only 179 yards in eight games and allowed a passer rating of only 46.2."


Greg Newsome, Northwestern

  • 2020 stats: 12 total tackles, 7 PD, 1 INT in three games
  • Draft position in Matt Tabeek's latest mock draft: Day 2

Summary of big board rankings:

  • The Draft Scout: 65
  • Pro Football Focus: 60
  • Dane Brugler's top 100: 65
  • Daniel Jeremiah's top 50: 31

Jeremiah's analysis: "Newsome is a tall, agile cornerback. He played a lot of off coverage in Northwestern's scheme. He stays crouched in his pedal and is always under control. He's fluid when he opens up to turn and carry vertical routes. He stays in phase and he can locate/play the ball. He doesn't have an explosive plant/drive, but he does have the awareness to anticipate throws. He has excellent instincts versus the run and pass. Against the run, he will hang on blocks too long at times, but he is a solid tackler once he frees himself. I expect Newsome to develop into a reliable starting cornerback very early in his NFL career."

Pro Football Focus: "Newsome looked like a different player on the 387 snaps we saw from him as a junior in 2020. He only allowed 12 catches from 34 targets for 93 yards all season."


Tyson Campbell, Georgia

  • 2020 stats: 29 total tackles, 5 PD, 1 INT in 10 games
  • Draft position in Matt Tabeek's latest mock draft: 30

Summary of big board rankings:

  • The Draft Scout: 43
  • Pro Football Focus: 52
  • Dane Brugler's top 100: 31
  • Daniel Jeremiah's top 50: N/R

Pro Football Focus: "Campbell is an ultra-smooth athlete who is still only scratching the surface of what he could be. Zone teams will love the fact that he's missed only six tackles on 99 attempts in his career."

Brugler's analysis: "Campbell is straight out of central casting with his length and athletic profile, boasting uncommon high-end traits. He doesn't play loose and needs to improve his route anticipation, but all the talent is there for him to grow into an NFL starter."

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