2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Miami (FL) CB Corn Elder

Miami's Corn Elder (29) intercepts the ball in overtime to help seal a 36-33 win against Nebraska at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. (Charles Trainor Jr./Miami Herald/TNS)

From now until the 2017 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.

Corn Elder/CB Miami (FL) – 5’10/1 179

The Good

– Versatile player with experience playing all over the field (field/boundary/slot) and types of coverage (man/zone/fire zone blitzes)
– High football IQ, quick to diagnose and explosive coming downhill, making up for lack of size
– Successful in off man and zone coverage, good feet, and little wasted motion transitioning and coming downhill
– Above average speed, should test well (low 4.4’s)
– Good feel for route concepts and where/when routes break
– Competent tackler when playing with proper technique
– Shows plus ball skills in zone coverage when he can diagnose and react
– Special teams value, played on coverage units even during senior year
– Minor return background

The Bad

– Undersized, underweight, with below average length (30 7/8 inches)
– Needs to consistently aim higher as a tackler, drops eyes and causes him to miss
– Not as successful in man coverage as he is in zone, struggles to stay in-phase and has more difficulty playing catch points
– Has to be a little more fluid in turn in man coverage, pedal is a bit clunky
– Lacks significant starting experience
– Did not have much production, didn’t create many turnovers

Bio

– 21 career starts
– Career: 158 tackles, 3 INT, 1 FF
– 2016 First Team All-ACC
– 12 kick and 12 punt returns, 2 total return touchdowns (one of each)
– Star running back in high school, rushed for over 2600 yards and 39 touchdowns his senior year
– Played football and basketball in high school, planned to play basketball for Miami too before changing his mind
– Suffered a torn meniscus in knee at end of freshmen season of college

Tape Breakdown

I’ll be upfront about it – I think Elder is the next William Gay. Not a big dude, but a good athlete (remember, Gay ran a 4.48 at his Pro Day) who plays bigger than his size and will excel in a zone scheme. And in two years, he could be the man to replace him.

It’s easy to scoff at him because he is undersized; 179 is light, lighter than even Senquez Golson was. But he’s gotten the most out of his size at the U and profiles as an excellent slot corner at the next level.

His versatility jumps off the page. A guy who did everything in college. Left corner, right corner, field/boundary, playing in the slot, blitzing from the slot and the outside, experience in man and zone. The list is exhaustive.

That alone speaks to a high football IQ that will shorten the NFL transition but you see it on the field, too. Watch him know this swing pass is coming, split the receivers, and make a big-time tackle in the backfield.

Immediately, you get the feel he will fit in the Steelers’ scheme.

But he has long speed too. His bio says he ran a 4.42 in high school. At the Combine, I don’t think he’ll run anything worse than 4.45. Understand he has the angle here but watch him chase down Dalvin Cook to save a touchdown.

Now to the bad. He has his own version of getting trucked by Adrian Peterson like Gay did. Watch this Pitt tight end run him over in 2015.

That’s what happens when you’re a small guy. And why he profiles in the slot at the next level. He’ll struggle against the big receivers of the AFC North (Pryor, Green).

He’s better in zone coverage at playing the ball when he can get vision on the QB and drive with explosion. Worse in man coverage. Didn’t look great there at the Senior Bowl nor here, trying to come downhill in man against this Florida State receiver. Makes an effort to break the ball up but doesn’t have the length or strength to do so.

Elder gives a lot of effort as a tackler and will support the run, a critical but underrated component of playing in the slot. But he needs to raise his tackling angle and shoot a little higher to miss less often. Here, he’s coming in too low on QB Mitch Trubisky and misses, letting him get the edge and pick up extra yards.

It’s not entirely clear how the Steelers will attack the cornerback position this year and I don’t see there as being a *wrong* answer. If they choose to wait and opt against drafting one within the top three rounds, Elder will present strong value in probably the 4th.

He’ll be a “hair on fire” player on special teams in Year One and groomed to take over for Gay in Year Two. That’s a plan for success.

Projection: Early Day Three

Games Watched: vs Virginia Tech (2015), at Pitt (2015), vs Florida State, vs North Carolina

Previous 2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles
Deshaun WatsonHaason ReddickMarshon LattimoreCorey ClementTim Williams
Jourdan LewisTakkarist McKinleyBrad KaayaNathan PetermanO.J. Howard
Charles HarrisAlvin KamaraTyus BowserDavid NjokuDeMarcus Walker
Chidobe AwuzieDeShone KizerMarlon MackCameron SuttonZach Cunningham
Corey DavisCarl LawsonPatrick MahomesKareem HuntEvan Engram
Derek RiversRyan AndersonJoshua DobbsJordan LeggettSamaje Perine

About the Author

Alex Kozora

Full-time blogger from mom’s basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.

  • McBringleberry

    I’m with you on all accounts, Alex. Would love Elder early day 3

  • falconsaftey43

    I think he could be a decent slot CB. I think I like Kazee a little more. Could you break him down as well?

  • Spencer Krick

    He sounds like a solid mid-round CB.

  • Steelers12

    similar to dare i say Will Gay

  • Steelers12

    could be a good mid round pickup but i rather go with Kazee

  • Steelers12

    yes him and Lewis i like better

  • 20Stoney

    How can you not like a guy named Corn Elder?

  • Aw, Shucks. 😉

  • popsiclesticks

    Not a huge fan but I get the reasoning and wouldn’t make any all caps posts about it if they took him.

  • William Weaver

    That is a corny name but I must respect my Elders.. lol

  • Alex Kozora

    booooooo

  • Ike Evans

    Corn was better then artie in college foreal…..i think his size and hips will specialize him in the pros but i think hes a day 1 starter at slot on most teams

  • PaeperCup

    This is the draft of ridiculous names. Corn Elder, Taco Charlton, JuJu Smith, Jake Butt, Malik Hooker, Budda Baker…and some just unusual names…Teez Tabor, takkarist, Chidobe,

  • William Weaver

    Lol

  • falconsaftey43

    Don’t forget Fish Smithson and Ironhead Gallon!

  • PaeperCup

    That’s right! How could I forget Fish?

  • CP72

    You can say it… cause Alex already did several times in the breakdown.

  • steelburg

    I agree. I’m a huge fan of the guy and the Will Gayle comparison IMO fits. I’m going to be focusing on his 40 time because even though may look fast on tape that’s not always the case. Ayers looks plenty fast in college amd pros IMO but he lined up and ran a 4.7 40.

  • Steelers12

    maybe i didn’t clarify the joke, i thought everyone hate the thought of drafting him because everyone was beating down Gay for his play against the Patriots

  • TheGURU

    The kids a Gamer.. I watch a ton of Miami games and he’s every bit as good as Artie Burns.. and he’s more physical. It’s crazy how deep this DB class he’s an absolute steal for anyone if he drops to the 3rd

  • William Weaver

    Guess that would make our secondary “ethanol”.. corn/burns.. lol

  • Alex Kozora

    Ok, that one made me laugh pretty good.

  • William Weaver

    Does he have any kids? Any “children of the corn?” Lol ok, I better quit while I’m behind. Haha

  • Rotten Sircus

    He also returns kicks. I like him in the 4th round team him up with Artie & who knows !!!

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I like Elder as he brings not only the ability to cover but also ST’s. I do think he is raw as a cover corner and needs more work but I like the way he tackles and how he plays ST. I also like the fact he can recover when beaten.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Ayers ran a slow 40 because he had a minor injury that was slowing him down. His agent said he is a 4.4 guy

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I agree…like Kazee better and both can be had at about the same time in the draft.

  • Steelers12

    and can’t Kazee play some safety

  • Kelly A

    That miracle touchdown against Duke back in 2015, I believe Elder was the one reponsible for it. I urge anyone to watch that play; Duke vs Miami 2015. Very raw, very athletic, I believe he and Artie Burns Jr. would do great things together.

  • Alex Kozora

    We will definitely be breaking Kazee down!

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    There’s a Steelhammer in there somewhere too. Does Taco have a brother named Burrito?.

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    Another Mighty Morphin Midget. He didn’t look that good at the Senior Bowl.

  • Austin Willie

    Hey Alex do akhello Witherspoon please from Colorado