The 2021 NFL Draft class of cornerbacks keeps getting deeper
Sifting through all the bowl-opt-outs, transfer portal entries, and 2021 NFL Draft declarations, there’s one under the radar prospect that caught my eye, Oregon State cornerback Nahshon Wright. This week Wright declared for the 2021 NFL Draft after playing two seasons as a Beaver.
If anyone has seen the latest “Last Chance U” season, you would’ve fallen in love with Laney star cornerback Rezjohn Wright, his younger brother. Spoiler alert, at the end of the season, Rezjohn would follow his older brother to Oregon State, who also played at Laney. Nahshon has been able to go from JUCO star to a two-year starter at Oregon State.
Getting size and length at the cornerback position is the name of the game in the NFL, and Wright brings enough for everyone in the room. Standing at 6’4 and long arms Wright won’t have any trouble matching up with big NFL wide receivers and tight ends out wide. In 18 games over two seasons at Oregon State, he posted 64 tackles, five interceptions, and 11 passes defended. Everything you want to see from a box score perspective.
What Wrights brings to 2021 NFL Draft
At that size, what you worry about is lack of speed and fluidity at cornerback, but it’s a different story with Wright. He’s got great speed, reportedly ran a 4.45 40 yard dash in the spring. His hips turn quickly as he’s got a lot of twitch in his long body.
Wright plays well in press and off-man coverage. He runs step for step with receivers in their routes, which helps him make so many plays on the ball. Something you love to see his great hands at the catch point, and Wright is almost like a receiver. Wright looks very comfortable in zone, disciplined with his eyes on the quarterback, and recognizes route concepts well; he can mirror routes well in press coverage.
Some elements of Wright’s game still need work. He loses at the line of scrimmage when he tries a one-arm jam. His length could be lethal to knock receivers at release but misses too often and loses that rep. He is a willing tackler in the run game, but struggles to get off blocks and will miss diving at ankles. He rarely gave up big plays, but when he did, the receiver got Wright on his heels and ran a slant or crossing route across his face.
Wright shows a lot of NFL traits on film. His size is what gets you excited, but he shows there’s more to his game. Still raw in some areas with his technique, but sky’s the limit for this kid. Guys with his athleticism don’t come around often, and he’s still flying under draft board radars. Teams will be chomping at the bit to get him after he tests at the combine.
Grade: Mid-Late Day Two
Comparison: Kevin King