[Editor's Note: This story was originally published on PFF.com on March 27, 2017]
With the 2017 NFL Combine in the rearview mirror and the focus now on cross-examining every facet of play for hundreds of draft-eligible players, the Pro Football Focus team has put together a list of some of the more intriguing prospect matchups from the 2016 season—one-on-one meetings that featured players who are surely going to hear their name called come April.
Whether it was a quarterback targeting a cornerback or an edge defender blowing past an offensive tackle, some 2016 games pitted top players against one another in a preview of how they may fare against next-level talent. We’ll be revealing these matchups one at a time (starting with quarterback Chad Kelly versus some of the top cornerback prospects out of the SEC this past Sunday).
Today we take a look at former Miami Hurricanes CB Corn Elder versus some of the ACC's (plus Notre Dame) top quarterbacks this past season.
MIAMI CB CORN ELDER VS. ACC’S TOP QBS (PLUS NOTRE DAME)
University of Miami cornerback Corn Elder produced mixed results against some of the Atlantic Coast Conference’s best QBs in 2016. He fielded two very good games against Virginia Tech’s Jerod Evans and Pittsburgh’s Nathan Peterman, played well against North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky, but did not fare well against Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer.
Against Peterman and Evans, PFF’s fifth- and 15th-ranked QBs in the 2017 draft class, respectively, Elder was targeted a total of 10 times, allowing five receptions for just 29 total yards and no touchdowns. He surrendered a 52.1 NFL QB Rating when targeted by Evans and a 62.2 NFL QB Rating when targeted by Peterman. Against Trubisky—considered by many to have the best chance of being the first QB selected in April—Elder was targeted 10 times and allowed seven receptions for 27 total yards. His 72.9 NFL QB rating when targeted by the UNC quarterback was the lowest of any Hurricane defender in Miami's matchup against the Tar Heels.
However, against Notre Dame and QB DeShone Kizer, PFF’s fourth-ranked QB on the draft board, Elder allowed three of four targeted passes into his coverage to be caught for 45 yards and a touchdown—the first TD Elder gave up in 2016. Kizer saw a 151.0 NFL QB rating when throwing into Elder's primary coverage, the second-highest mark against Elder all season.