For all the NFL Draft talk centering around Will Levis this offseason, some of that conversation should be trickling down to one of his Kentucky teammates: Cornerback prospect Carrington Valentine has quickly risen up the draft boards and he has gotten the attention of the Los Angeles Rams, according to a report on Thursday.
In his junior season with the Kentucky Wildcats in 2022, Valentine led his team with 11 passes defended, finishing with a ranking of ninth across the SEC. According to his profile on the Kentucky Athletics website, on the season he totaled 48 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 1.0 sack, an interception including 10 pass breakups. During his three seasons at Kentucky, Valentine played in 35 games, including 25 consecutive starts at defensive back.
Former #Kentucky cornerback Carrington Valentine has been generating interest from the NY Jets, LA Rams, LV Raiders, Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks and Washington Commanders.— Ryan Roberts (@RiseNDraft) March 30, 2023
Will be at the Cincinnati Bengals local day this week. Top-30 visits still being finalized.
Carrington was never a ballhawk at the position while in Lexington, demonstrated by him only having one takeaway in three years. Regardless, the Rams desperately need physicality at the position which was lost once Jalen Ramsey was traded to the Dolphins. Valentine never backs down while in coverage. A prime example of this was seen in Kentucky’s matchup against Tennessee last season.
Although the Wildcats were blown out 44-6 on the road to the Volunteers, Valentine’s strengths were put on full display against Tennessee’s offense all night long.
Carrington Valentine had a street fight with Tennessee WR Cedric Tillman. Here is a rep vs Tillman 1v1 in press. pic.twitter.com/8UGM5iAKF1— BOLTS Draft Talk (@BoltsDraftTalk) March 25, 2023
Carrington Valentine triggers downhill extremely fast. Here he lines up 7 yards off and back pedals to a depth of about 9 yards & flies downhill to drop Cedric Tillman for a minimal game. pic.twitter.com/SfpYVruxQf— BOLTS Draft Talk (@BoltsDraftTalk) March 25, 2023
Here are a few more 1v1 press man reps from Carrington Valentine in the redzone. He doesn't win every rep vs. Tennessee's WRs, but he sure doesn't back down. pic.twitter.com/n078NLsBf9— BOLTS Draft Talk (@BoltsDraftTalk) March 25, 2023
That level of top-end speed is something that can’t be taught. Valentine’s instincts and high football IQ will come in handy as he makes his transition to the pros. His pure athleticism and versatility would be ideal in Raheem Morris’ defense as a “Ramsey-like” role could be gradually carved out for him as the season rolls along.
Needless to say, Carrington Valentine plays angry and like a player who understands that every rep on defense could be his last. Valentine may be an underclassman but he clearly doesn’t play like one. LA needs someone with an undying competitive fire as they look to return to form. Who better to turn to than a kid ready to prove he belongs in the NFL?
Let’s imagine Valentine in a Rams jersey for a moment breaking up a pass like this intended for DK Metcalf:
Carrington Valentine ran a 4.38 40-yard dash at his pro day, and also had a 39” vertical and a 10’8” broad jump.— Ian Cummings (@IC_Draft) March 27, 2023
Incredibly athletic, but even more than that, he’s physical. Dictates reps with aggression, and can precisely target the ball in the air.
Receivers in the NFC West had better watch out if LA is able to draft him. Pass catchers beware because Carrington Valentine might be coming after you.