With the initial craze of free agency now behind us, it is time to look forward to the 2022 NFL Draft that is now only a day away. The Baltimore Ravens currently have 10 picks, including the No. 14 overall pick — their highest since drafting All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley with the No. 6 overall pick in 2016.
With their top two cornerbacks coming off season-ending injuries, Anthony Averett’s departure in free agency, and Tavon Young’s release, the Ravens are back to having razor-thin depth at the position. They need a new nickel corner to man the slot.
Just like his fellow former Huskie, Trent McDuffie, Washington’s Kyler Gordon can line up in the slot as well as on the perimeter. That means that the Ravens could check multiple boxes if they decide to trade back in the first round or trade up in the second to take him.
He hasn’t been a popular mock-draft pick to Baltimore during the pre-draft process due to where the team is slated to pick in the first two rounds — No. 14 and No. 45 — a span where Gordon is projected to come off the board.
Nevertheless, Gordon is one of the most gifted athletes in this draft class with a background in dance and martial arts. While McDuffie garnered most of the shine and national spotlight at Washington, Gordan is in lockstep with him in terms of talent and possessing the diverse skillset to play press, off-man, and zone coverage.
Kyler Gordon gives me tons of Marshon Lattimore flashes— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) February 25, 2022
Firm size/length at 6'0 200lbs. Explosive movements to recover/close windows. Press/Off. CB/NB Experience. I love how he stays on top of WRs - protects vertical & back shoulder++
Both rather inexperienced/raw as prospects pic.twitter.com/wQmA9Ks2J7
He had to wait his turn for a few years behind some other talent at one of the NFL’s top cornerback factories. Once he got his opportunity to play more regularly and start, though, he made the most of it. Gordon joined McDuffie as a first-team All-Pac-12 defensive selection in 2021 after recording 46 total tackles, two tackles for loss, two interceptions, and a team-high seven pass breakups in 12 starts.
Both of his interceptions came in the Huskies’ 31-24 victory over the University of California Bears last season. With McDuffie sidelined, Gordon stepped up and also led the team in total (10) and solo tackles (9).
#GoHuskies CB Kyler Gordon (#2) stepped this past weekend in the absence of Trent McDuffie.— Nick Price (@PriceCheck3) September 29, 2021
Here he shows great vision when mirroring his receiver and then quickly breaks on the ball for his FIRST interception of the game. pic.twitter.com/tFeMsQ6LvK
He doesn’t possess great instincts but has the dynamic athleticism to make up for it while he grows with more experience and coaching. His explosiveness and ability to plant and drive help him undercut intended passes and make plays on the ball.
Unlike many cornerbacks new to the league, neither of the Washington cornerbacks are afraid to tackle. Gordon is aggressive in providing run support and is an effective run blitzer from the slot.
Kyler Gordon on the tackle and I am here for it. pic.twitter.com/7KmIzCZ1EE— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) February 10, 2022
While Gordon clearly possesses ball skills, he still has room for growth in that area of his game. If drafted by the Ravens, he would have the best role model and on-field coach/mentor to learn from as a rookie — who just so happens to be another former Huskie — in Marcus Peters. The seven-year veteran and three-time Pro Bowler still leads the league in turnovers forced since 2015 despite missing all of 2021 with a torn ACL.