The offseason is significant for every prospect. But for the scouting report of Washington CB Kyler Gordon, it was imperative in boosting his 2022 NFL Draft stock. Gordon had a career season in 2021, but there’s still a sense he hasn’t bridged the gap between himself and teammate Trent McDuffie. Now, in the days leading up to the draft, let’s reconsider Gordon one last time. Is he in the Round 1 discussion?
Kyler Gordon NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Cornerback
- School: Washington
- Current Year: Redshirt Junior
- Height: 5’11 1/2″
- Weight: 198 pounds
- Wingspan: 74 3/4″
- Length: 31″
- Hand: 9 1/2″
Gordon’s Combine/pro day results
- 40-Yard Dash: 4.52
- Bench Press: 20
- Broad Jump: 10’8″
- Vertical Jump: 39.5″
- Three-Cone: 6.67
- Short Shuttle: 3.96
Kyler Gordon Scouting Report
Jimmy Lake’s tenure as the Washington head coach was a catastrophe. But credit has to be given where it’s due. The man scouts and develops defensive back talent better than most at the college football level. Washington has produced recent NFL playmakers like Byron Murphy, Kevin King, Elijah Molden, and Keith Taylor Jr. This year, they bring two of their best prospects yet into the fold with Trent McDuffie and Gordon.
McDuffie is the Washington cornerback commonly regarded as a first-round pick, but he may not be the only one when the NFL Draft rolls around. As enticing as McDuffie is, Gordon could be in a similar tier as a prospect. And at his maximum projection, there’s a chance he becomes a more dynamic player. Let’s dive into the tape and see what Gordon has to offer.
Gordon’s athletic profile
Gordon was on Feldman’s Freaks List in the 2021 offseason, and he reinforced his freaky athleticism with a strong pro day performance. Among other figures, he earned a 6.67 three-cone time, a 39.5″ vertical, and a 128″ broad jump at 5’11 1/4″ and 198 pounds. The numbers make him one of the most otherworldly athletes in the 2022 NFL Draft, and his tape backs up that reputation.
Gordon is a highly explosive and twitchy athlete who accelerates quickly and emanates energy in coverage. He’s a fluid mover with smooth hips and easy change-of-direction ability. Moreover, the Washington CB possesses impressive agility in short ranges. He can get low in his stance and quickly change direction while keeping his balance.
A history with dance, kung fu, and ballet has helped Gordon refine his efficiency of motion. But you simply can’t replace traits — and Gordon has them. With his fast feet, fluid hips, and short-area burst, Gordon is incredibly sticky in coverage. He flashes insane closing speed at the catch point, and he can hit a rare second gear when initiating toward plays.
Furthermore, Gordon has solid long speed in pursuit. He can track down plays from across the field and from non-ideal angles. The Washington CB can flip his hips and double back across the field instantly. His twitch allows him to adjust tackling angles on short notice. In a similar vein, Gordon has the explosiveness and recovery athleticism to close ground quickly after initial losses.
Execution beyond the physical traits
Gordon’s physical upside is undoubtedly the chief selling point on his scouting report. Yet, the Washington product also has impressive refinement — he’s not just a project.
Mentally, Gordon is strong. Though his processing isn’t quite as consistent as McDuffie’s, Gordon can read keys and recognize distinguishing play concepts as they develop. He has good awareness in zone coverage and has shown he can manage and manipulate spacing in two-on-one situations. Additionally, Gordon has an eye for route concepts, which helps him quickly adapt when reading plays.
Gordon processes well, but beyond that, he plays with inspiring physicality and proactivity. He has a larger, stronger frame than McDuffie. But even then, Gordon doesn’t shy away from bigger opponents. He willingly uses physicality at the line and can also use that physicality to engage and shed blocks. Gordon is an effusive tackler who brings an intense closing burst at the contact point. He can dish out hard hits and force the ball loose.
Overall, Gordon appears to have a good mix of patience and aggressiveness as a defender. Nevertheless, his most enticing executional trait is his ball skills. Gordon flashes excellent ball skills — an area in which he clearly exceeds McDuffie. He can track the ball in the air and rise, contort, and extend to convert on opportunities that come his way.
Areas for improvement
It’s easy to get enamored with prospects like Gordon, but it’s also essential to list areas they can improve. For Gordon, most of the issues are minor inconsistencies.
Gordon is sometimes late to react to route breaks, and he can smoothen his weight transfers when responding to in-breaking routes. He can occasionally be quicker when reacting to plays like screens and outside runs. While his trigger is good, the Huskies CB can engage faster. Like many DBs, he can be indecisive when there’s a lot of sensory information to sift through. He has visibly improved there since 2020, however.
Gordon sometimes gives too much of a cushion off of route breaks. The Washington product also has minor hiccups with tackling angles at times. In run defense, these plays are more prevalent. Gordon can be more consistent in disengaging blocks on time. He can also wrap up and use his strength more consistently as a tackler. While he’s solid in this area, there are some missed tackles on tape.
Among other things, Gordon can still be a bit more controlled at times. With his athleticism, he sometimes plays himself out of leverage. Additionally, he has room to play the ball more consistently at the catch point. And while his length is solid, it may not be proportionally elite.
Gordon’s 2022 NFL Draft scouting report overview
In McDuffie’s scouting report, I said he easily has the traits to enter the Round 1 discussion at cornerback. Gordon is in a similar range with his athletic qualities. With his physical foundation, Gordon profiles as one of the more exciting CB prospects in an already exciting CB group.
McDuffie is a bit more consistent as a processor and a tackler, and he’s an elite athlete in his own right. But Gordon has better size and ball skills, and he’s exceptionally physical. On top of that, he processes well. He’s trending up, and one could argue that he has more upside than the other Washington CB, which is saying something.
In a class with Andrew Booth Jr. and Derek Stingley Jr., Gordon is a comparable athlete in the short ranges. It’s rare to have so many elite athletes in one batch, but the 2022 NFL Draft’s cornerback class is special on paper. And Gordon is a big part of that.
Gordon is one of several CBs who belong in the Round 1 discussion. His testing only reinforced that. He may drop to Day 2, and if he does, he’ll be a great value get with potential scheme versatility.
Gordon’s Player Profile
Athleticism can be honed to an extent at the collegiate level. But more often than not, you either have it, or you don’t. Gordon was clearly a tier above his counterparts early on in his football career. A two-way player at Archbishop Murphy High School in Everett, Washington, Gordon caught 82 passes for 2,209 yards and 25 touchdowns at wide receiver. Meanwhile, he earned 16 interceptions on defense in his final three varsity seasons.
Gordon’s production earned him a four-star billing in the 2018 recruiting class. The Everett product had offers from schools like Notre Dame and West Coast powers like Oregon, USC, and UCLA. But for Gordon, staying in-state presented the best opportunity. Thus, the 242nd overall recruit in the 2018 class signed with the Washington Huskies.
Gordon’s career at Washington
Gordon was primarily a reserve in 2018. He preserved his redshirt and started slow, but that gradual start would yield exciting results in the 2019 season.
In 2019, Gordon played in 13 games and started four, amassing 32 tackles, a tackle for loss, and 4 pass deflections. Despite starting just four games, Gordon earned honorable mention recognition in the Pac-12.
Gordon was once again a rotational starter in 2020, but the truncated four-game season hindered a lot of growth that would’ve taken place. Luckily, Gordon has caught up and then some in 2021.
In 12 games in 2021, Gordon had a career year. The Washington CB posted 36 tackles (2 for loss), 2 interceptions, and 7pass deflections. Gordon has always had the traits, but he converted on plays and generated a more significant impact. All the while, his NFL Draft stock soared through the roof.
Gordon’s 2022 NFL Draft ascension
Simply put, Gordon is an exciting prospect with a relatively high floor and a sky-high ceiling. There aren’t any red flags, either. He doesn’t have an injury history, and he’s set to be 22 years old at the start of the 2022 season, so age isn’t a concern. And in interviews, Gordon comes off about how you’d expect a player of his caliber. He’s focused, with small glimpses of levity — but in truth, he lets his play on the field do the talking.
This year, Gordon’s play has been loud. In every phase, he’s making things happen, and he’s finally realizing the full extent of his physical upside. Between the tape and the testing that occurred in March and April, there isn’t much stopping Gordon from rising into the early rounds — so long as he stays the course.
Tony Pauline’s scouting report for Kyler Gordon
Positives: Explosive corner who is best facing the action. Stays with assignments, quickly diagnoses plays, and has a closing burst to the action. Quick flipping his hips to transition downfield, tracks the pass in the air, and has a nice move to the throw. Shows a lot of ability facing the action and nicely recognizes routes in zone. Fires upfield and gives effort defending run plays and screen passes.
Negatives: Not quick or smooth pedaling in reverse. Not a stout corner and has ball handlers running through tackles. Inconsistent making plays with his back to the ball.
Analysis: Gordon is a nice-sized corner with solid ball skills and a lot of upside. He must polish his game, but he offers potential as a nickel back in zone coverage or backed off the line of scrimmage.