2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Kyler Gordonby Charlie Parent February 4, 2022 4 comments
Every year it seems Washington produces a solid NFL cornerback. We have stars like Byron Murphy Jr. and other productive guys like Myles Bryant and rookie Elijah Molden. But, this draft season, two Huskie perimeter guys can make a name for themselves on draft night. While Trent McDuffie has most of the hype, Kyler Gordon is a corner that will be an early Day two pick in this year’s draft and has some promising traits.
Make sure to check out all of our other NFL Draft Scouting Reports.
Name: Kyler Gordon
Jersey: No. 2
Weight: 200 lbs
Games Watched: California (2019), Utah (2020), UCLA (2021), Oregon (2021)
Major Injury History: None
Man Coverage (12.75/15)
Settle in; there are tons to look at regarding man coverage. Washington gave Gordon ample opportunity in man coverage in every game but the Oregon one. From when he started his career in 2019 against California, you can see Gordon possesses serious route-mirroring skills.
It all looks great at first, and he has shown some insane flashes, but there are negatives to touch upon. Gordon can be a little out of control in man coverage. Often, he’s seen going too fast, just assuming the receiver is going deep and getting dominated on a curl route. When receivers tend to stop and sit in the intermediate areas of the field, Gordon has struggled and can buy a good amount of fakes in these areas as well. While there are promising traits for the NFL against man coverage, the flaws are a little too serious to label Gordon as a bona fide man corner.
Zone Coverage (12.75/15)
An increase in zone coverage in 2021 was significant for Gordon’s improvement in this area. Gordon seems comfortable in his deep zone assignments and understands where he needs to be a good amount of time. The problems are still there, though. The first play that comes to mind came against UCLA. In a Cover 2 set, Gordon struggled to filter the receiver down the sideline, even when playing a deeper flat than usual. This tends to be a consistent issue for him with guys going down the sideline in that grey area between Gordon’s zone and the safeties. You’d love to see him make plays here more often.
To get back to a positive note, we see him chip the receivers very well. This area has room for improvement, but he has an excellent foundation for the NFL.
This one has got serious potential. We need to preview another trait when talking about instincts: Gordon’s hips. Overall, his hip movement is not the best, and we already mentioned the erratic, out-of-control movements in general. With that in mind, the instincts need to be great for Gordon to jump to the football, which they can be at times. His best plays come from great instincts, but his worst come from getting beat and then not even coming close to recovering and jumping the past. The flashes are so close to outweighing the flaws, which is why Gordon receives high marks in the instincts category.
Ball Skills (8.25/10)
Wow, did Gordon’s ball skills improve over the years? In his 2019 season, Gordon had just four plays on the ball. The one he did have against California was impressive as Gordon punched the ball out nicely. On the other hand, he did get out strengthened by bigger receivers in this game and couldn’t contest at the high point. In a condensed 2020 season, Gordon had just one pass deflection, and nothing stood out against Utah. Against Oregon and UCLA, the ball skills looked much better. In 2021 overall, Gordon got himself two picks and seven pass deflections. The production in 2021 is promising, and this should be an area that continues to improve.
Press/ Physicality (8.25/10)
Washington did not task Gordon with jamming receivers almost ever. Thus, he is not the best at applying his hands on receivers at the line, but Gordon makes up for it during the route. Gordon plays with stammering physicality here. As a receiver, you better make sure to get some separation from Gordon because he will be all over you and knock the ball away.
Long Speed (8/10)
Don’t get me wrong, the long speed is good, but the deeper you go, the testier those waters get. Gordon will blanket a go-route anywhere within the range of 25 yards, give or take. He has allowed steps a little bit past that, and it showed on deep shots verse Cal and Oregon. It shouldn’t be all too much of a concern in the NFL, but this is one of those traits that will be tested early on.
Tackling/ Run Support (6/10)
Gordon’s tackling is pretty rough, but he has a lot of potential like everything else he does. The block shedding is bad in every game, the tackles have improved over the years, but he goes for the legs a ton. This has helped him, though, as Gordon forced a nice key fumble against Utah from hitting lower. Washington also used Gordon on blitzes, and he did well to eat the space against the run.
The strength boosts the grade a lot in terms of athleticism but don’t be fooled; Gordon is a nice athlete. We tarnished the long speed a tad, but Gordon has some real quickness to his game. The jumping ability seems to be there as well, but there are not many reps. The combine should give us a great idea of how athletic Gordon is off the tapes.
Change of Direction (3.25/5)
We finally get to change of direction and hip movement. When Gordon gets out of control, it’s hard for him to readjust to get back in the play. Technique and teaching are required in this area because you can see he’s a player that can move fluidly in the future. So, the question remains: can the hips be better in the future? The answer is yes, but he’ll still get a low grade for the rawness of this aspect.
Standing at 6’0″, Gordon doesn’t have the crazy length that cornerbacks like Ahmad Gardner and Kaiir Elam have. Bigger body receivers have hurt him as jump balls can be problematic for Gordon. He’s still made plays that show you the length won’t be bad in the NFL by any means, but again he needs to work on using his lesser frame a bit better.
Upside is the name of the game for Gordon. This is a theme we are seeing more and more from Huskie cornerbacks as Murphy was a clear stud in the second round, but guys like Molden need some work. Gordon is going to be more like Molden. Something that gives Gordon a massive boost that we haven’t touched on is versatility. For years he’s been a key guy on Washington’s special teams unit. Besides that, Gordon started his career primarily playing outside corner on the left side. Later, he moved onto the slot and other areas on the outside. NFL teams will love this.
As for a projection, it can be a little all over the place, but if a team has room to grab a developmental, potentially starting corner in the second round, they should pull the trigger on this high ceiling player.
Rookie Projection: Rotational Piece; Starting Special Teamer
Third-Year Projection: Borderline Breakthrough Starter
Player Grade (78.75/100): Mid-Third Round
Player Comparison: Josh Norman
Follow Charlie Parent on Twitter @Charlie_Parent
Main Image Credit:
Embed from Getty Images