2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Cornell Powell

Cornell Powell

Cornell Powell is a receiver who was hidden in the Clemson depth chart for the first four years of his collegiate career. Coming into the 2020 season, he had only caught 15 passes before exploding in the last seven games of the season. Powell comes in with an intriguing frame and brings a smooth, balanced game to the table. The small sample size can be a bit scary and he certainly has room to improve in certain areas, but because of his breakout year and measurable, he is a guy who has risen up teams’ boards in the past few weeks. 

Make sure to check out all of our other 2021 NFL Draft Scouting Reports.

Player Bio

Name: Cornell Powell 

Jersey: #17

Position: Wide Receiver 


School: Clemson

Class: Redshirt Senior

Height: 6’0” 

Weight: 210 lbs 

Speed (8.25/10)

While Powell isn’t going to take the top off of the defense, he certainly possesses adequate speed for the NFL. He ran a 4.47 40 at his pro day, and it looks like he plays around that speed on film, if not faster. Powell is able to accelerate very nicely and moves in and out of his cuts smoothly. 

Athleticism (8.75/10)

Powell had a great pro day. He paired the 4.47 40 with a 36.5-inch vertical jump and an extremely impressive 10’8” broad jump. Powell moves effortlessly on the field and his jumping ability makes him a big-time deep threat. 

Route Running (8.5/10)

Powell is an above-average route runner who excels when facing off-man coverage. He accelerates up the field to take up the space between him and his defender then gets right into his cut. He is best in the deep route part of his game but isn’t bad in the short and intermediate areas by any means. At Clemson, he was not tasked with a very diverse route tree, and it’s something he’ll need to expand if he wants to become a starter in the NFL.

Hands (9/10)

Drops will not be an issue in the NFL. Powell has very few drops on tape and when he does, they’re in a more tightly contested situation. He’s able to take some shots and still hang on to the ball. He’s also demonstrated that he can catch the ball outside of his frame.

Contested Catch (8.25/10)

While there isn’t too much on tape, Powell can go up and grab the ball. He’s done a really nice job of expanding his catch radius. He doesn’t have crazy height, but he still gets the job done better than most.

Run After Catch (8/10)

Powell’s larger frame makes him a tad slow in the open field. That being said, he does more than enough in the RAC game. He has nice ball carrier vision and is able to make himself as small as he can to get past tacklers. He shows relentless effort with the ball in his hands and seems to always strive for the extra yards. He’s got enough ability to be involved in the screen game as well. 

Ball Skills (9/10)

Powell has done a very good job at making adjustments to track the ball in the air. He seems to know where the football is at all times and can almost always put himself in a position to grab it. He’s come up with numerous twisting sideline grabs that demonstrate his body control. He times his adjustments and catches nicely. This area is, once again, a small sample size for Powell. His lack of reps is the main reason why he gets docked some here.

Release (6.5/10)

This is one area where Powell received a healthy amount of reps. Due to his ability to dominate off-man coverage, teams tried to press him a lot. He was able to handle the press well to an extent, but also got caught up in a jam a lot of times. This is certainly an area where Powell needs to grow to succeed in the NFL. 

Football IQ (4.5/5)

After practicing and learning the Clemson system for four years, Powell demonstrated excellent technique when he burst onto the scene this year. Seems to know where everyone is on the field and has the ability to recognize proper spacing. 

Competitive Toughness (5/5)

The fact that Powell stayed at Clemson for four years after being a four-star recruit really speaks to his game. He’s relentless after the catch and always looks to hit a guy in the blocking game.

Blocking (3.75/5)

Powell has demonstrated a great willingness to block in the run game. His technique isn’t anything to rave about, but his willingness to block shows. He is a true team player. 

Injury History (4/5)

Powell had a few minor injuries here and there throughout his Clemson career. The most notable would be a hamstring injury his freshman year which held him out for a couple of weeks.

Player Summary

Powell is a big “diamond in the rough” candidate. It seems his name has only come up recently in draft discussions, but his tape demonstrates that he’s worth the hype. He’s definitely a little bit raw, but his big-play ability matched with his fierce competitive edge, and intriguing frame makes NFL teams eager to get their hands on him on day two of the draft.

Final Grade (83.5/100): Early-Second Round

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Main Image Credit: 

Embed from Getty Images


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