An Underrated CB Prospect Who Could Solidify the Vikings’ Secondary

Aug 31, 2023; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Missouri Tigers defensive back Kris Abrams-Draine (7) warms up against the South Dakota Coyotes prior to a game at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings don’t have any 2nd or 3rd round selections in the 2024 NFL Draft (as it stands), so their Day 3 selections have emphasized importance. For that reason, I have decided to produce a few write-ups highlighting some of my personal favorite sleeper picks.

For this edition, the spotlight casts upon Missouri cornerback Kris Abrams-Draine. Abrams-Draine doesn’t possess the most appealing frame for a corner, rather an average build at 5’11 and 180lbs. Not big, not little. He sports 31-inch arms and a 74.25-inch wingspan, both around average among corners in this year’s draft class. He would also clock in at 4.44 seconds in the 40-yard-dash and display a 33.5-inch vertical at the 2024 NFL Combine.

Kris Abrams-Draine: An Underrated CB Prospect with Great Upside

Sep 17, 2022; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Missouri Tigers defensive back Kris Abrams-Draine (14) breaks up a pass intended for Abilene Christian Wildcats wide receiver Blayne Taylor (13) during the first half at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Abrams-Draine arrived at Missouri as a four-star ESPN recruit from Spanish Fort High School in his native Alabama where he played wide receiver and quarterback. He didn’t see any serious playtime in 2020 in his first season at the collegiate level after he made the move to cornerback, but he would however see big-time snap-counts for the remaining three seasons of his college career.

In 2021, the cornerback would emerge onto the scene with Mizzou starting Abrams-Draine at slot corner. He was targeted 41 times on his 269 coverage snaps, allowing 24 receptions (58.5% completion, which would actually be the highest he allowed in his Missouri career), 313 yards, 2 TDs, a 68.4 passer rating, and created 3 interceptions and 9 pass break-ups. He would post a 84.1 PFF coverage grade, as well. He featured heavily in the special teams as well in 2021, where he recorded 19 kickoff returns for 452 yards (23.8 yards on average), and 1 TD.

Abrams-Draine would be moved out to wide corner a year later in 2022 where he would remain for the rest of his career. Out on the island, he only allowed 25 receptions on 53 targets (a career-best 47.2% completion percentage), 406 yards, 4 TDs, a 98.5 passer rating. The CB didn’t didn’t cash in on any interceptions but still had 9 pass break-ups.

CB Prospect
Oct 22, 2022; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Missouri Tigers defensive back Kris Abrams-Draine (14) breaks up a pass intended for Vanderbilt Commodores wide receiver Will Sheppard (14) during the first half of the game at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

This season would mark his career-worst 71.5 PFF coverage grade and yards-per-reception performance of 16.2 but also his career-best PFF tackling and PFF run defense grades.

With a year of wide corner under his belt, Abrams-Draine would put on arguably his best collegiate season. He allowed 24 receptions on 49 targets (49%), 324 yards, 3 TDs, a career-best 56.8 passer rating, 4 interceptions and 10 pass break-ups. He also only committed 2 penalties the entire season, and allowed only 83 yards worth of yards-after-catch to opposing receivers. His efforts would gain him Second-Team All-America and First-Team All-SEC honors in 2023.

Abrams-Daine possesses a skill-set that is coveted heavily by teams all across the NFL. His top-tier speed and agility paired with his ball skills and natural football instincts make him an intriguing prospect for any defensive coordinator or secondary coach in the league. He has a specialty for press-man coverage, something that would be of extreme value to an attacking Brian Flores defense.

Oct 14, 2023; Lexington, Kentucky, USA; Missouri Tigers defensive back Kris Abrams-Draine (7) celebrates after the game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Kroger Field. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

Even more valuable is his flexibility to adapt to having a zone responsibility, as well. Add in his willingness to get physical and put his nose into the run game, and he brings a complete balance to any team that could call his name this weekend.

Of course, no prospect is perfect, and this is the case with Kris. He lacks the size and strength teams look for in an NFL corner, paired with the tendency to bite easily on receiver moves in their cut. This gets emphasized by his inconsistent back pedal, which also leads to his habit of relying on recovery speed to get back in coverage.

Abrams-Draine would surely be a project for any team that spends a draft pick on him, as he has a couple blips in his game that are things that can be coached out of him. He would likely be a higher draft pick if he wasn’t going to be turning 23 early in his rookie season. His upside however is completely undeniable, and any fanbase of the team that selects him has all the reason in the world to get excited about this potential late round gem.

Editor’s Note: Statistics/Information for this article were found via NFL Draft Buzz and Pro Football Focus.