clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2023 NFL combine workouts — cornerbacks and safeties: How to watch, players to watch

Your open thread for the second day of Combine workouts

2022 CFP National Championship - Georgia v Alabama Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images

Good afternoon, New York Giants fans!

Welcome to the second day of the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine. Today the defensive backs — that is, the cornerbacks and safeties — will take the field. While these workouts have usually wrapped up the Scouting Combine, they are always some of the most impressive of the week.

Today will also see the the punters, kickers, and long snappers work out as well.

Considering how much Wink Martindale loves the secondary and subpackages that use multiple safeties and corners, Giants are sure to be interested in today’s workouts.

How to watch

TV Channel: NFL Network, and NFL+ (streaming)
Time: 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. ET
Fans who subscribe to NFL+ can also get live coverage of on-field drills.

Players the Giants should be watching

Kelee Ringo (CB, Georgia)
The Giants were reportedly very interested in Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner and Derek Stingley at the top of the 2023 NFL Draft. Ringo is a big, long, and highly athletic cornerback who could potentially start immediately for the Giants. Adoree’ Jackson and Aaron Robinson both have injury concerns and the Giants could use a starting caliber corner to help ensure they always have at least one.

Brian Branch (S, Alabama)
Branch wore a lot of hats in Alabama’s defense. As it stands now, we don’t know how the Giants’ free agency period will work out. Julian Love emerged as an important player in his first year as a starter, but he’s also a free agent. Branch is likely the top safety in the draft and his versatility could help fill the void in Wink Martindale’s defense if Love departs in free agency.

Workout we want to see the most

Julius Brents (CB, Kansas State)
If the Giants are looking for big, long cornerbacks, then they have to look at Julius Brents from Kansas State. Brents measured in at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds at the Senior Bowl, with 33¾-inch arms and an 82-inch wingspan. Save his height, he is a bigger, longer corner than Gardner or Tariq Woolen. The question for Brents is with his athleticism, how fluid his movement skills are, and how well he is able to transition from backpedal to running or driving on the ball.

JL Skinner (S, Boise State)
Just like Brents, Skinner has a ridiculous blend of size and athleticism. He was listed at roughly 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, but was still able to play man coverage in Big Nickel packages. The question for Skinner, as with Brents, is how well he tests and how fluid he is in field drills.

Who needs a big day?

Cam Smith (CB, South Carolina)
Smith has been regarded as one of the top cornerbacks in the draft for pretty much all of the 2022 season. He’s a sticky cover corner who plays with the same kind of attitude and competitive toughness as Stephon Gilmore and Jaycee Horn. The question, however is whether or not Smith is the same kind of athlete as his fellow South Carolina alums.

Jordan Battle (S, Alabama)
This is less of a “who needs a big day” than “who could benefit the most” from a big day. Battle is obviously already on this year’s All Name Team, but the question is whether he can raise his draft stock to match his teammate’s. Battle is probably more of a traditional safety at the NFL level, but a good workout could be important for him. Convincing the NFL that he is scheme diverse would raise his value for every defensive coordinator.

Small schooler to watch out for

Darrell Luter Jr. (CB, South Alabama)
Luter Jr. has been a very productive as a small school player, and possesses good size and length to go with his ball skills. Teams will be looking to see how he matches up on the same field with his big-school peers. Luter could be a surprising “Who?” pick on draft night if he raises his profile today.

Quindell Johnson (S, Memphis)
Johnson combines good size and playmaking ability with the versatility to play center field, deep half coverage, and even come down and play man coverage. He is also a former basketball player and is regarded as a very smooth athlete for a safety. Teams are always on the lookout for versatile safeties who can drop down to cover the slot or play the true Free Safety position.

Names to know

  • Christian Gonzalez (CB, Oregon)
  • Joey Porter Jr. (CB, Penn State)
  • Devon Witherspoon (CB, Illinois)
  • Clark Philips III (CB, Utah)
  • DJ Turner (CB, Michigan)
  • Garrett Williams (CB, Syracuse)
  • Antonio Johnson (S, Texas A&M)
  • Christopher Smith (S, Georgia)
  • Brandon Joseph (S, Notre Dame)
  • Sydney Brown (S, Illinois)
  • Brandon Ward (S, Pitt)
  • Jay Ward (S, LSU)