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Miami Hurricanes NFL Draft Profile: CB Corn Elder

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Looking to prove doubters wrong again, Corn Elder looks to make an immediate impact in the NFL

NCAA Football: Clemson at Miami Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Measurements: Five foot ten, 183 pounds

Hometown: Nashville, Tennessee

High School: Starring as a highly regarded running back at the Ensworth School in Nashville, Tennessee, Elder split his time between football and basketball.

College All-Star Game: 2017 Reese’s Senior Bowl (South Team)

Miami v Duke Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Miami Days

Cornelius Elder, better known as Corn to the rest of the world, came to the University of Miami as a heralded running back in high school. He would decline offers from Alabama, UCLA, Ohio State, and Auburn to play at Miami. Since Duke Johnson was firmly atop the running back depth chart and had plenty of depth behind him, Elder became a fixture on defense and on special teams, making his initial impact as a kick returner. He was never to flirt with the offense again.

As he gained experience and became more familiar with the defensive system, Elder’s production increased in his sophomore season. Providing great depth behind veterans Artie Burns, Tracy Howard, and Antonio Crawford, Elder made the most of his snaps, finishing third on the team with 4 pass break ups and 34 total tackles, with three of them resulting in tackles for loss and another for a sack.

Based on those statistics, one can understand all the optimism surrounding Elder for his junior year in 2015. Elder did not disappoint. Whether or not you want to focus on his outstanding game against Nebraska—where he nabbed the first interception of his career, as well as five tackles to help produce a 36–33 win over the aptly named Cornhuskers—Elder had a phenomenal season: he returned both a punt and a kickoff for TDs; secured 41 total tackles, four of which were TFLs and two of which were sacks; and had a team-high PBU of 11. That’s the type of production any coach or fan loves to see. Ironically, Elder’s breakout year came in a season where Miami lost in frustrating fashion to Cincinnati and to rival Florida State.

With Mark Richt tapped to be the new head coach, there was another change in defensive philosophy. However, Elder and much of his recruiting class (to their credit) stuck around for their senior year. Elder would equal or surpass most of his stats from his junior season. Again, he set new career highs in tackles (76), TFLs (4.5), and sacks (3), and he tied for fifth in the ACC in passes broken up (12) and passes defended (13). In his final game in a Miami uniform, Elder collected seven tackles to help Maimi seal a victory in the Russell Athletic Bowl.

Working his way towards the draft, Elder took part in the Reese’s Senior Bowl even though he did bow out early due to injury. He competed in practices during the week and showed up at the NFL Scouting Combine, although he only participated in the 40-yard dash (4.55). Determined to show that his Combine time was not a true representation of his game speed, Elder ran a 4.44 and 4.43 time at UM’s Pro Day. Feeling much better, the draft hopeful took part in on-field drills at the Pro Day as well.

Game Film to Watch

Miami Hurricanes vs. Virginia Cavaliers, November 12, 2016

Elder recorded five tackles, one sack, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery in this contest. The Hurricanes would go on to win 34–14.

Cool facts

  • A back-to-back division II-AA champion in basketball in high school
  • Named Mr. Football in Nashville in both his junior and senior years

Expert Opinions

“Elder has the instincts and reactive quickness to find his way to the football and his ability to mirror and match gives him a chance to handle slot duties in the NFL”

Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

“Elder might even be able to play safety. He was utilized as a blitzer in the last two seasons and impressed with his penchant for getting to the ball. He's twitchy and tough and can ride receivers through a jam at the line of scrimmage through an underneath route.”

Matt Miller, Bleacher Report

“Elder competes with natural football sense and quickness out of his breaks, rarely missing tackles. He won?t be a fit for every defense, but Elder has the athleticism, toughness and route anticipation to help mask his undersized frame, projecting as a dynamic nickel corner who can also play on special teams.”

Dane Brugler, CBS Sports.com

Corn Elder is fiesty, has great cover skills, and is not hesitant to stick his hat in the pile when defending the run. Fast enough to stay with the receiver in man coverage, Elder has great vision and enough agility to cover the field in zone. The biggest knock is that he doesn’t measure six feet and will be pigeonholed as either a slot corner or a boundary corner in some systems so that his size won’t be exploited against taller big-bodied wideouts. Elder has excelled at every level of football he’s competed in. If you want to discount him for his size, that would be a mistake on your end, given his track record. Elder will be a defensive fixture in the right system and should be a starter in seasons to come.

IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT THE U!!!