Following trading away all-world cornerback Jalen Ramsey back in mid-March, many L.A. Rams fans assumed the team would take a corner in the NFL Draft in order to add more depth to a DB room that lost perhaps the best at that position in the entire league.
Last weekend, that is exactly what the Rams did, as they selected former TCU standout cornerback Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson with the 182nd overall pick in the sixth round of the NFL Draft. Hodges-Tomlinson, who is notably the nephew of NFL legend LaDanian Tomlinson, was a bonafide baller in college and became a full-time starter in his junior season.
In those two seasons as the team’s CB1, Hodges-Tomlinson hauled in five interceptions and, more importantly, a total of 22 passes defended to go along with three forced fumbles, proving he possesses the innate ability to make game-changing plays on the football. Even though he stands just 5’8” and weighs a light 178 pounds, Hodges-Tomlinson is not afraid to stick his nose in and make tackles in the running game as well. Also, do not let the scale fool you, because Hodges-Tomlinson may weigh a slim 178 but it seems to be damn near 100% lean muscle:
To go along with the on-field production, Hodges-Tomlinson was the recipient of the Jim Thorpe award, a trophy given out to the best defensive back in FBS football, an award that had been won by the likes of Patrick Peterson, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Adoree’ Jackson, and Morris Claiborne since 2010.
Hodges-Tomlinson fell to the sixth round for two reasons; Undersized is the main reason, and he can be over-aggressive with his hands which makes him prone to penalties. While size does matter in terms of being a corner who is lining up on the outside and dealing with more 6’0”+ receivers, I do not expect Hodges-Tomlinson to do very much of that, as he is much more suitable as a nickelback in the Rams defense.
The quickness/explosiveness Hodges-Tomlinson offers at the corner spot is what allowed him to allow a measly 28.3% completion percentage when targeted (1st for CBs) and a 28.6 QBR (5th among CBs) in his final season at TCU. This breakdown is a good look at some tape as well as some strengths/weaknesses for Hodges-Tomlinson:
CB Tre'Vius Hodges-Tomlinson from TCU is the #83 overall player on my big board for the 2023 NFL Draft.#TCU#HornedFrogs#NFLDraft— Shane Haff (@ShaneHaffNFL) March 31, 2023
Full Video breaking down #81-#90 https://t.co/73OdDpMCdX pic.twitter.com/LtiOUUCH0N
In my eyes, the Rams got one of the best corners that this year's draft had to offer, doing so in the sixth round. The fact that Hodges-Tomlinson fell that far in the first place was a massive surprise to me, even with the concerns about his size at the next level. In an article posted by Bleacher Report back in 2014, there is a great point being made about the overvaluation of the size in a corner, and there are multiple examples of how being a smaller corner does not mean as much as it’s made out to be.
One great quote in the article says as follows:
“When scouting cornerback prospects, don’t be fooled by a particular player’s height or level of competition. Stay true to what matters most: production, physical abilities and coachability.”
That, to me, is spot on when it comes to evaluating cornerbacks as, being perhaps the toughest position to play in football especially considering the rules nowadays, what is > what could be.
With that being said, Hodges-Tomlinson produced in college, he is physically gifted in terms of his freakish athletic ability and elite sprinting speed, and improved every year in college which proves he is coachable. I love this selection for the Rams, and I believe that we will look back at this selection and wonder how the hell Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson fell all the way to the sixth round.