2021 NFL Draft Odds: CB

Odds, trends and analysis

The NFL Draft takes place April 29–May 1, 2021 and will return to some form of familiarity. Last year’s draft happened two months into the COVID-19 pandemic and was relegated to Zoom– removing all in-person aspects like fans, hugs, and the like. Thankfully, the 2021 draft will return fans and in-person drafting when it takes place in Cleveland, Ohio. The Greater Cleveland Sports Console is taking protocols from Super Bowl LV in Tampa and the NBA Playoff Bubble in Orlando to hold a safe draft that’s as close to normal as they can get.

With the central focus shifted off the virus, it’s time to take a look at this year’s draft pool. We’re here to give you positional rundowns, including who the favorites are to be drafted where and what players are generating league buzz.

NFL draft odds: First CB drafted

First cornerback selected odds are now posted at top US sportsbooks. Alabama CB Patrick Surtain is the consensus favorite to go off the board first.

First CB Picked

Game
04/29/2021
(Eastern Time)
(EST)
Patrick Surtain II
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-225
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-300
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-276
Jaycee Horn
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+175
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+225
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+210
Caleb Farley
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+850
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+1600
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+900
Greg Newsome II
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+2000
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+2500
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+1200
Eric Stokes
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+3300
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+3500
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+5000
Asante Samuel Jr
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+4000
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+4000
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+3300
Ifeatu Melifonwu
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+4000
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+8000
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+8000
Kelvin Joseph
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+4000
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+5000
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+3000
Aaron Robinson
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+4000
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OTB
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+8000

How to bet on first CB drafted

Most online sportsbooks have options for several NFL Draft bets, including an option to bet on the exact order of the first three picks. To find this section, click the NFL tab and look for “Draft Props” or “Player Draft Specials.” To bet on the first player off the board at their position, find a tab for “First Pick by Position” and view the odds listed below.

NFL Draft: 2021 CB profiles

Patrick Surtain II, Alabama: Surtain II checks several boxes of desired NFL cornerbacks: size, physicality, technique. His dad was a Pro Bowl corner for Miami and Kansas City and Surtain II developed into a five-star high school recruit before starting three years at Alabama. He’s an excellent press corner (unlike Caleb Farley, who plays off) that will find his role as a boundary corner in the NFL. The concern with Surtain is his top speed and ultimately his ceiling. Surtain is never out of position, but he plays more under control and is less of a playmaker than Farley is.

Regardless, Surtain will be drafted in the top half of the first round, likely by either the Denver Broncos (9) or the Dallas Cowboys (10). Most experts slot Surtain at either nine or 10 and Farley at the other spot. The biggest allure is in his pedigree and experience, while Farley is viewed as more of a risky choice. It’s a coin toss as to which will be the first corner drafted this year.

Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech: Caleb Farley is the complete package– big (6′ 2″), athletic, smart, he has it all. Farley was commonly left alone on one-on-one coverage by Virginia Tech with little to help and lots of space to work with. He excelled on his own, shutting down just about every receiver he faced. Even without playing in 2020 (opt out), Farley is at the top of most draft boards. The concern surrounding him, keeping him from being a top-five pick or a runaway CB1 is a busy injury history; he missed all of 2018 with an ACL tear (noncontact) and was dealing with back spasms in 2019, causing him to miss three more games.

Aside from the injuries, though, Caleb Farley is a complete prospect. While him and Patrick Surtain II are nearly interchangeable in mock drafts at back-to-pack teams, Farley is more often than not projected to be the first corner taken. The Denver Broncos draft ninth and the Dallas Cowboys draft 10th, making that a prime landing spot for Farley. The fit with Denver– who is likely losing A.J. Bouye this offseason– would be perfect for him. The scariest part about Farley is that he was a high school quarterback and switched to corner in college at Virginia Tech. As he gets more polished, the better he’ll get.

Jaycee Horn, South Carolina: There may not be a better fit for Jaycee Horn than the Arizona Cardinals at the 16th pick of the first round. He’s another son of a former Pro Bowl corner (Joe Horn), and he also started three seasons in the SEC at South Carolina. Horn excelled as both a slot cornerback and a true cornerback during his career, playing physically at the line of scrimmage and containing the SEC’s best pass catchers.

The concerns arise around his tackling ability and off-ball coverage ability, with Horn whiffing on a noticeable amount of tackles during his time in college. Horn would best fit with teams that play zone and press coverages, but would likely struggle to find his footing with teams that play off-ball coverage. In most mock drafts, Horn falls either 15th to the New England Patriots or 16th to the Arizona Cardinals, with not many other outcomes being presented.

Greg Newsome II, Northwestern: If there’s a surprise corner that could sneak into the first round, it’s Greg Newsome II from Northwestern. He’s a physical defensive back who has the size to step up with some of the NFL’s bigger guys and his draft stock has risen quickly as the offseason has moved forward. Not just size, but athleticism jumps off the tape when watching Newsome work; he was able to keep up with the Big Ten’s receiving corps regularly, guarding guys from Chris Olave to Rondale Moore.

“Twitch” is a great word when describing Newsome’s playing style. He’s quick in breaks with fast feet and really sets himself up as a potential NFL star. He’s currently a fringe first rounder, often landing with the Green Bay Packers at the 29th pick. However, Newsome more commonly falls to the second round, not usually lasting past the 45th or so pick.

NFL Draft CB History

Here is a list of the first CB taken in each NFL Draft going back to 2010.

YearTeamPlayerCollegePick (No. overall)
2020DetroitJeff OkudahOhio StateNo. 3
2019NY GiantsDeAndre BakerGeorgiaNo. 30
2018ClevelandDenzel WardOhio StateNo. 4
2017New OrleansMarshon LattimoreOhio StateNo. 11
2016JacksonvilleJalen RamseyFlorida StateNo. 5
2015MinnesotaTrae WaynesMichigan StateNo. 11
2014ClevelandJustin GilbertOklahoma StateNo. 8
2013NY JetsDee MillinerAlabamaNo. 9
2012DallasMorris ClaiborneLSUNo. 6
2011ArizonaPatrick PetersonLSUNo. 5
2010ClevelandJoe HadenFloridaNo. 7

NFL Draft strategy and trends

While this year’s class is a bit thinner than recent years, the top two prospects carry a big stick. Each of the top three players (Farley, Surtain, and Horn) present a different style that suits different schemes. Beyond those three, it’s up in the air as to whether any more corners are chosen on the first day. A heavy edge rush class and deep offensive line group appease more to the later picks in the first round, pushing guys like Newsome and Georgia’s Eric Stokes to a likely Day 2 selection.

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