Andrew Booth is a first round talent. But should he fall to the Bengals at pick 31, they might decide to stay away, even though the Clemson cornerback would fill a big void.
As John Sheeran said on our show, Booth has excellent footwork, much like current Bengals corner Chidobe Awuzie. “He can mirror guys in man coverage, get physical,” he said. “He’s a willing run defender, wants to take on blocks and screens and swing passes.” While Booth might not be the fastest corner, his overall athletic profile combined with his physicality and footwork make him an excellent prospect.
The only real concern is Booth’s injury history. Here’s what Sheeran had to say:
“Back in high school, he started dealing with tendinitis at the ripe age of 18. And then he missed a couple of games his first two years [at Clemson]. Then after his sophomore year, he had surgery on his right patella, in 2020. Ever since then, he’s been healthy [i.e., able to stay on the field]. But then he dealt with a quad injury, a groin injury, had surgery for a sports hernia just a couple months ago, and that’s impacted how much he’s been able to do this offseason before the Draft. So there is a laundry list of medical issues in his profile. While he hasn’t missed a ton of time, teams could say, ‘Okay, he’s able to play, but what is his long-term outlook?’ If you’ve dealt with all these issues at 19, 20, 21 years old, are you going to be able to hold up for the next five years, the next ten years?”
As recent precedent, Sheeran cited Tevin Jenkins, the tackle out of Oklahoma State who dropped to the Chicago Bears in the second round last year due to similar concerns and struggled to stay healthy his rookie season.
So if the Bengals and others teams do their research and determine Booth will be durable in the NFL, he will be a first round pick. Otherwise, he could fall in the Draft, perhaps giving Cincinnati an opportunity to take him in a later round.
You can also listen to the discussion on iTunes or using the player below