4 college cornerbacks for Bengals fans to watch in 2021

Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Bengals
Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson #1 of the TCU Horned Frogs (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

Cornerbacks for Bengals to Watch – No. 2: Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson (TCU)

One of the highest-graded cornerbacks in the country last year was Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson out of Texas Christian. He posted a PFF mark of 85.5, excelling in pass coverage where he ranked fifth nationally. He posted an impressive 13 pass deflections on 49 pass targets last year in a strong Horned Frogs secondary.

TCU has a history of producing defensive back talent. Jason Verrett, Jeff Gladney, and Trevon Moehrig are recent examples of alumni that have been early-round picks. Similar to Verrett, Hodges-Tomlinson’s biggest knock will be his size.

Although he played nearly all of his 2020 snaps as an outside corner, his 5’9″, 177lb frame means it will be difficult for him not to be solely projected as a slot corner at the next level. With a lack of experience in that role and question marks over his physicality, his draft projection is likely to be all over the map.

The Bengals recently signed Mike Hilton to a four-year, $24 million contract and he is earmarked to be the starting slot corner for 2021. The contract is relatively flexible with an out after year one and a low dead cap number should the Bengals need to move on in the future.

Hilton is currently one of the better slot coverage guys in the league and would be a perfect mentor for a young, undersized corner in the mold of Hodges-Tomlinson. Nickel corner is now a starting role and if the skill and traits appeal enough the TCU product could fetch an early-round selection.

Key games to watch in 2021: Texas on October 2 (vs Joshua Moore), Oklahoma on October 16 (vs Marvin Mims), Iowa State on November 26 (vs Xavier Hutchinson)