Which mid-round CBs could the Denver Broncos target in the 2022 NFL Draft?

Nebraska Cornhuskers cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt (5) celebrates after successfully breaking up a pass intended for Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Chris Olave (2) during Saturday's NCAA Division I football game at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb., on November 6, 2021.
Nebraska Cornhuskers cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt (5) celebrates after successfully breaking up a pass intended for Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Chris Olave (2) during Saturday's NCAA Division I football game at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb., on November 6, 2021. Osu21neb Bjp 288

The Denver Broncos could move on from Ronald Darby next offseason, and Michael Ojemudia is still an unproven commodity.

As a result, the Broncos could stand to add more cornerback help on the perimeter. Here are three potential options who would make a lot of sense in the draft’s middle rounds.

Jalyn Armour-Davis, Alabama

Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Jalyn Armour-Davis (5) breaks up a pass intended for Miami Hurricanes wide receiver Key'Shawn Smith (5) at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Sep 4, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Jalyn Armour-Davis (5) breaks up a pass intended for Miami Hurricanes wide receiver Key’Shawn Smith (5) at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby-USA TODAY Sports

The last time the Denver Broncos targetted a highly athletic Alabama cornerback in the draft it worked out beautifully, so why not return to the well in 2022?

One appealing name to keep an eye on for Denver is the Crimson Tide’s Jalyn Armour-Davis, a one-year starter at Alabama with intriguing potential. The fact Armour-Davis only started at cornerback for one season at Alabama shows up in his game, as he’s fairly underdeveloped, but the Broncos have a deep enough room to be patient.

Plus, it’s not like Armour-Davis is so raw that he wouldn’t be able to contribute if there were injuries. He can contribute, he just needs more seasoning.

The most impressive aspect of Armour-Davis’ game is his movement skills, which leap off the tape. He has super fluid hips and is able to naturally change direction without sacrificing much momentum, though he does need to trim down the number of steps he uses in these transitions, in order to maximize his high-end athletic potential.

He’s also able to carry SEC speedsters deep downfield on vertical routes consistently and he made his fair share of chase-down tackles during his time at Alabama, thanks to his marvelous top-end speed.

Armour-Davis’ dog mentality shows up in more areas than just his willingness to chase down big plays, as he’s also demonstrated to be a willing tackler in the run game, though his technique needs to improve more before this can be considered a strength to his game.

While he shows enticing promise in zone coverage and is at his best in press-man, when he can get his hands on the opposing receiver, his lack of comfort in off-man coverage is fairly concerning.

It should also be noted that despite recording three interceptions in his only season starting, Armour-Davis’ ball skills appear to be subpar at best. He struggles to track the ball in the air, and that problem is compounded at the catch point, where he frequently fails to properly time his contention.

He also hasn’t worked much out of the nickel, potentially limiting his positional versatility and appeal to the Broncos, though his athletic traits and physicality suggest he’d be able to operate from the slot.

Cam Taylor-Britt, Nebraska

Nebraska Cornhuskers cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt (5) breaks up a pass to Michigan Wolverines wide receiver Daylen Baldwin (85) during the second quarter at Memorial Stadium.
Oct 9, 2021; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt (5) breaks up a pass to Michigan Wolverines wide receiver Daylen Baldwin (85) during the second quarter at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

The Fangio-esque scheme the Broncos are expected to run under Ejiro Evero has always emphasized the ability to help in run defense for its defensive backs, and if the Broncos want to play dime as much as has been reported, that will be especially true. With that emphasis in mind, Cam Taylor-Britt would be an ideal option as a developmental cornerback on the perimeter.

Taylor-Britt lays the wood in the ground game and is the rare outside cornerback that truly loves punishing offensive players and making highlight-reel-worthy hits. On top of being a thumper, he has solid tackling technique, and rarely misfires.

He has the measurables NFL teams covet at the position, with a long, well-sized frame and solid movement skills. His top-end speed is excellent, and his explosive quickness paired with his physicality makes him excellent at attacking at the catch point. Taylor-Britt is a little clunky when asked to change direction, he has fine fluidity considering his long build.

The length he possesses also helps him make impressive plays on the ball. While you would like to see more turnover production, he made a large number of athletic pass breakups.

Taylor-Britt is most comfortable in zone coverage, where he can lean on his athleticism, explosiveness and coverage instincts to read the quarterback and strike at the catchpoint. He also operates well in press-man coverage, where he’s able to get his hands on the opposing receiver, use his physicality and feel the route.

He does show some clear discomfort in off-man coverage though. His eyes are also fairly undisciplined, and he’ll sometime get sucked in by eye candy on offense. Given some of his agility concerns, he might be limited to being an outside-only corner, but his physicality and athletic gifts might be high-end enough to allow him to move inside.

Overall, he’s an extremely intriguing developmental outside corner who contribute early on special teams and on defense in case of injury.

Alontae Taylor, Tennessee

Tennessee defensive back Alontae Taylor (2) intercepts a pass intended for Kentucky wide receiver Wan'Dale Robinson (1) and runs the ball for a touchdown during an SEC football game between Tennessee and Kentucky at Kroger Field in Lexington, Ky. on Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021.  Kns Tennessee Kentucky Football
Tennessee defensive back Alontae Taylor (2) intercepts a pass intended for Kentucky wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson (1) and runs the ball for a touchdown during an SEC football game between Tennessee and Kentucky at Kroger Field in Lexington, Ky. on Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021.
Kns Tennessee Kentucky Football

The final developmental perimeter cornerback option we’ll look at is Alontae Taylor of the Volunteers, who could arguably be the most appealing member of the bunch.

Like his aforementioned peers, Taylor has marvelous length and a well-built frame, and he knows how to use it. He regularly makes the first meaningful contact when in press-coverage, stifling receivers at the line with his strength, and uses his length to disrupt passing lanes and break up passes. It even helps him have an impressive radius as a tackler.

While Taylor is an over-eager tackler who misses too frequently, his physicality might have George Paton drooling. He’s a defensive tone setter as a boundary cornerback, which is a very rare combination. He relishes the physicality of his position and should be an above-average run-defender from day one. He could become elite in this area if he refines his tackling techinique and improves his batting average.

He’s also showcased more versatility than the other options we’ve discussed. He’s worked from the slot, and did an adequate job, while at Tennessee, and has also made an impact on multiple phases of special teams.

While on defense, that versatility shows up in his scheme diversity. He works well in press-man and in zone, much like Taylor-Britt and Armour-Davis, but he’s better in off-man coverage than either of those two. He has excellent instincts and anticipatory skills, which show up frequently on tape.

That said, he still has some clunky movement when he’s forced to change direction quickly, and receivers with polished release packages will give Taylor fits early on.

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