Kyler Gordon Draft Profile
University of Washington cornerback Kyler Gordon is one of the fastest risers in this year’s draft. In the Pacific Northwest, Gordon played alongside another top cornerback prospect Trent McDuffie. McDuffie played on the left side while Gordon played on the right side; the two combined to be one of the best cornerback tandems in the country. Gordon is coming from a place with a historically great tutelage of defensive backs. Last year we saw Elijah Molden get drafted on day two, and before that, we have seen guys like Marcus Peters, Desmond Trufant, Budda Baker, Taylor Rapp, and Kevin King. The University of Washington has a rich history of NFL defensive backs, and I expect Gordon will be the next big name Washington DB to enter the league.
For teams that value physicality from the cornerback position, Gordon may be their guy. Gordon is physical both when the ball is in the air and when having to make a tackle. He helps out in the run game and showed that he is capable of coming up from the cornerback position to make plays in the backfield. Against bigger, stronger players, Gordon showed that he can consistently wrap the ankles and be a reliable tackler. His physicality shows up on the tape when the ball is in the air. He does a good job at using an arm bar to push the receiver to the sideline and force him to make a difficult catch. Gordon plays with a ton of effort, while he isn’t the fastest corner, I have seen him run down players and make touchdown-saving tackles. In the NFL, coaches will the physicality, effort, and tenacity that Gordon plays with.
In the games that I watched of Gordon, he didn’t really have a ton of targets going his way, which made him a relatively hard player to evaluate. At the combine, he ran a 4.52 40-yard dash which is a very bad time for Gordon. I thought he actually looked a little faster on tape. One thing I noticed was that he has a hard time controlling his speed and is susceptible to hitches and comebacks. Once he fully commits to guarding the “go-ball” it is like he’s a sports car with a broken break. He is all gas, no breaks, which is usually a good thing, but for the cornerback position not so much. While Gordon is physical and a good tackler, he does have a hard time shedding blocks from receivers. In order to be a presence in the run game, he will need to be able to get off blocks at a consistent level. My biggest concern with Gordon has to do with his speed, but if he lands in the right scheme a defensive coordinator will be able to mask his speed with his physicality.
The ideal system for Gordon is a base cover-two team where he can use his physicality and willingness to tackle to his benefit. He reminds me a little bit of Jalen Mills because of his willingness to match up against bigger receivers. While he most likely will go towards the end of the first round, I have a third-round grade on him. I don’t believe Kyler Gordon is a player that can play in any system, but he can be really good in the right system.
Ball Skills: 7.5/10
Eyes + Instincts: 6/8
Size + Speed: 4.75/7
Man Coverage: 3.5/5
Zone Coverage: 4/5
Final Rating: 77
Pro Comparison: Jalen Mills
Team Fits: Texans, Buccaneers, Lions
Draft Ranking: Third-Round Pick
Draft Projection: Late First Round Pick