Eli Ricks, CB
School: University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa | Conference: Southeastern Conference
College Experience: Junior | Age: 21 (Week 1)
Height / Weight: 6’2” 190lbs
Projected Draft Status: 2nd-4th round
Player Comparison: Richard Sherman / Jaylon Johnson
A former 5-star prospect from touted high school, IMG Academy, Eli Ricks chose to start his career with the Louisiana State University Tigers. He had an impressive freshman season with 5 pass breakups, 4 interceptions, and a QB rating of 60.3 when targeted. He became an early star, earning Freshman All-American Third Team and Associated Press All-SEC Second Team honors. Ricks had a rocky sophomore season, only playing 6 games before suffering a torn labrum, ending his season. He only recorded a pass breakup, an interception, and QB rating of 86.4 when targeted. He entered the transfer portal in the following season and started 2022 with the University of Alabama Crimson Tide. His junior season, he played 8 games and totaled 5 pass break ups, no interceptions, and a QB rating of 41.8.
Eli Ricks is a raw player with plenty of potential but with limited playtime due to injury. He has desired build and uses his length to physically disrupt receivers at the line. He pairs it with good ball skills by reading the quarterback’s eyes and great body coordination. He has the skills to work in press and zone coverage. He is seen as a boom-or-bust prospect by the scouting community. Ricks has nearly all the optimal physical traits for a boundary cornerback with weaknesses tied to a lack of playing experience.
- Optimal height and length for the position.
- Great short area speed.
- Plays well against big possession receivers.
- Still young (21 years of age by Week 1)
- Potential to play press and zone coverage.
- Can be effective in the boundary and in the slot.
- Tracks the ball well, can get into position for interceptions and pass break ups
- Lack of playing time and starting experience due to injuries in each season.
- Lacks twitch in transition and closing burst.
- Speed receivers can get behind him if he misses with his hands.
- Struggles to get off blocks.
- Less engaged when providing run support. Doesn’t wrap up when tackling.
- Falls too easily to double moves.
Let’s See His Work
Eli Ricks is #7 (Alabama)
Eli Ricks: 31% completion rate allowed last season— PFF College (@PFF_College) January 29, 2023
Lowest among all Cornerbacks pic.twitter.com/kKg2I2ASuC
Best fits for Washington at the Corner position in the NFL Draft:— Josh Taylor (@JoshTaylorFB) March 22, 2023
Alabama CB Eli Ricks is not without his faults, but his tape vs Miss State is the best single game evaluation I've seen in this years CB class.— owenstraley21 (@owenstraley21) March 6, 2023
Was named Bednarik Award POTW with 2 tackles and 4 PBUs.
Nice patience and footwork here to match slant for his first PBU‼️✅ pic.twitter.com/KbNQz2WdJK
How Will He Fit On The Team
Washington is entering next season with Kendall Fuller in the last year of his deal and Benjamin St-Juste as the projected starter in his third season after two injury plagued years. Washington moved on from William Jackson III when they found he wasn’t a fit for their system but it also left a talent gap that needed to be filled. The selection of Eli Ricks is dependent on how well the defensive staff believe they can coach up his weaknesses.
Ricks would come in as the player with the most potential out of the defensive backs group behind St-Juste and Fuller. However, Ricks breaking away from the pack is dependent on how well he takes to coaching to make up for the lack of playing time. Ricks is a high-risk, high-reward selection if made early in Day 2 to address the need for cornerback depth and future starter. If it pans out, Washington could be looking at a young dynamic duo of Ricks and St-Juste for years to come.