NFL Draft

2021 NFL Draft Player Profiles: UCF CB Tay Gowan

From now until the 2021 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.

#23 Tay Gowan/UCF CB — 6007, 186 lbs.

The Good

– Physical, press corner comfortable in bump and run coverage
– Shows good hip fluidity despite taller stature, has speed turn to recover in man coverage, able to sink hips and drive on breaking routes
– Patient in press and mirrors release well
– Has power on punch and ability to jam receivers at the line of scrimmage
– Competitive at the catch point, closes well on the play and times jump well, plays through hands and able to separate player from ball
– Versatile, played both outside CB spots, experience playing press man, off man, and zone

The Bad

– Has frame to support it but lanky and needs to add weight; high-cut, leggy corner
– Below average length especially for his height (31 1/8 inches)
– Average straight-line speed, uses sideline/leverage well carrying vertically but vulnerable to getting beat downfield if he doesn’t win early
– Willing tackler but not an overly aggressive or impactful one, wrap-up type
– Too consistently stuck on stalk blocks in the run game
– Will show some hip tightness when asked to make full turn
– Just one year of playing time, not Day One ready, very limited starting experience
– Wasn’t a ballhawk, two career INTs and one was low-quality, though he does show good hands and body control


– Nine career starts
– Career: 32 tackles (1 TFL) 2 INTs, 8 PDs
– 2019: 31 tackles (1 TFL) 2 INTs, 8 PDs
– Ran 4.49 at Pro Day, 35.5″ vertical, 9’10” broad jump, 6.86 three-cone
– Began college career at Miami (OH), briefly played in 2017, attended Butler Community College before transferring to UCF in 2019
– Had six INTs in lone year at Butler
– Opted out of 2020 season, cited daughter’s premature birth and his own COVID scare (tested positive) as reasons
– Two-star recruit out of H.S., only offers were Miami (OH) and App State

Tape Breakdown

Had Tay Gowan played in 2020, he might be a name we’d be talking about a lot more than we are now. He’s one of several UCF defensive backs who will get drafted this year, but probably the third to be taken behind Aaron Robinson and Richie Grant.

Because Gowan has limited tape, basically just his 2019 season, he has sleeper appeal. He has plus ball skills and was very disruptive at the catch point. In a 2019 game against East Carolina, he broke up three passes. Dude has a knack for timing his hands and being able to separate player from ball despite not having great length relative to his height.


Though he’s a taller, high-cut player, Gowan generally shows impressive hip fluidity and ability to mirror releases. When he’s asked to completely flip his hips around, he shows some stiffness, but he’s largely able to make the small-area movements cornerbacks are asked to do. In the first clip, he’s able to mirror this release well. In the second, he drops his hips to drive on this curl.

He’s the RCB (bottom of the screen) in both examples.


And he’s a physical press corner who is able to bottle up and jam receivers off the line, like here versus Stanford. Watch him at the bottom of the screen as the RCB.


Gowan can get stuck on blocks in the run game. He’ll have to work on his overall strength and more importantly his hand use to get off stalk blocks by wide receiver. There were also some glimpses of his rawness. Against Pitt, he’s part of a botched coverage. Thought it was man when it was zone, and this ends in a Panthers’ TD.


And while I think he shows a fluid turn and uses leverage well, his straight-line speed isn’t great. He ran a 4.49 at his Pro Day, which probably translates to low-mid 4.5’s had he run it at the Combine. There’s also the concern over his very limited tape. He has nine career starts and hasn’t played football in 16 months. By the time he gets into an NFL game, it’ll be closer to 20 months. There’s simply not much tape to watch, and that inherently makes a guy like Gowan risky.

My NFL comp for him is former Boston College corner Isaac Yiadom. And Gowan could be a late Day Two selection just like Yiadom was.

Projection: Late Day Two/Early Day Three

Games Watched: vs Stanford (2019), at Pitt (2019), at Cincinnati (2019), vs East Carolina (2019)

Previous 2021 NFL Draft Player Profiles
OC Drake Jackson OC Landon Dickerson TE Pat Freiermuth RB Javonte Williams
CB Patrick Surtain II OG Deonte Brown TE Kylen Granson TE Brevin Jordan
OL Trey Smith OT Adrian Ealy CB Jaycee Horn CB Kary Vincent Jr.
RB Elijah Mitchell OT Alex Leatherwood TE Hunter Long RB Najee Harris
CB Tyson Campbell LB Zaven Collins DB Greg Newsome TE Tony Poljan
DL Christian Barmore RB Kenneth Gainwell OT Rashawn Slater WR Kadarius Toney
RB Michael Carter EDGE Joe Tryon CB Thomas Graham Jr. WR Amari Rodgers
RB Demetric Felton C Creed Humphrey C Trey Hill LB Jabril Cox
CB Asante Samuel Jr. S Joshuah Bledsoe OT Samuel Cosmi S Trevon Moehrig
RB Chuba Hubbard S James Wiggins LB Garret Wallow RB Kylin Hill
WR Dazz Newsome RB Khalil Herbert CB Shaun Wade WR Tylan Wallace
RB Rhamondre Stevenson CB Camryn Bynum WR Amon-Ra St. Brown WR Shi Smith
OT Liam Eichenberg EDGE Patrick Jones DT Alim McNeill OT Christian Darrisaw
QB Kyle Trask RB Jermar Jefferson QB Trey Lance OT Jaylen Mayfield
OT Teven Jenkins TE Kenny Yeboah LB Chazz Surratt CB Tre Brown
QB Kellen Mond LB Nick Bolton OL Brady Christensen DL Dayvion Nixon
CB Elijah Molden QB Mac Jones EDGE Rashad Weaver LB Cameron McGrone
RB Trey Sermon LB Pete Werner LB Tony Fields TE Luke Farrell
RB Jaret Patterson LB Dylan Moses TE Kyle Pitts LB Jamin Davis
TE Tommy Tremble QB Jamie Newman TE Shaun Beyer EDGE Azeez Ojulari
QB KJ Costello CB Caleb Farley DB Richie Grant OT Tommy Doyle
OG Jackson Carman WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette LB Baron Browning WR Terrace Marshall
LB/S JaCoby Stevens OC Josh Myers S Hamsah Nasirildeen OT Dillon Radunz
LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah WR Anthony Schwartz S Talanoa Hufanga WR Sage Surratt
WR Dyami Brown OT Jaylon Moore WR Elijah Moore WR Seth Williams
NT Forrest Merrill WR Cornell Powell WR Rondale Moore EDGE Jaelan Phillips
S Divine Deablo WR Rashod Bateman EDGE Elerson Smith C Jimmy Morrissey
RB Larry Rountree C/G Quinn Meinerz CB Benjamin St-Juste OT Spencer Brown
EDGE Daelin Hayes WR Tamorrion Terry DL Marvin Wilson OT Walker Little
CB Aaron Robinson WR D’Wayne Eskridge EDGE Joseph Ossai EDGE Quincy Roche
OT Alijah Vera-Tucker WR Tutu Atwell TE Pro Wells RB Pooka Williams
EDGE William Bradley-King S Ar’Darius Washington EDGE Joshua Kaindoh WR Jonathan Adams
DB Trill Williams QB Davis Mills EDGE Greg Rousseau  WR Cade Johnson
ILB K.J. Britt OG Aaron Banks DL Jay Tufele OG Wyatt Davis
CB Kelvin Joseph S Paris Ford DL Milton Williams OT James Hudson
DL Tommy Togiai EDGE Ronnie Perkins TE Tre McKitty EDGE Victor Dimukeje
CB Robert Rochell OT Stone Forsythe EDGE Janarius Robinson DL Tyler Shelvin
CB Rodarius Williams WR Jaelon Darden WR Nico Collins DL Levi Onwuzurike
EDGE Carlos Basham Jr. TE Quintin Morris LB Monty Rice LB Derrick Barnes
EDGE Raymond Johnson III CB Ifeatu Melifonwu OL Kendrick Green OT D’Ante Smith
WR Jalen Camp RB Javian Hawkins DL Jaylen Twyman TE Matt Bushman
OL David Moore WR Josh Imatorbhebe EDGE Hamilcar Rashed Jr. DB Bryce Thompson
CB Ambry Thomas EDGE Jonathon Cooper WR Marquez Stevenson LB Micah Parsons
EDGE Patrick Johnson S Damar Hamlin DL Osa Odighizuwa TE John Bates
WR Simi Fehoko EDGE Malcolm Koonce WR Trevon Grimes OT Royce Newman
RB Rakeem Boyd EDGE Shaka Toney S Shawn Davis OL Robert Hainsey
WR Dax Milne OL Cole Van Lanen DL Cameron Sample S Richard LeCounte
P Max Duffy WR Warren Jackson S Andre Cisco EDGE Payton Turner
DB Avery Williams TE Briley Moore DB Jevon Holland EDGE Tarron Jackson
CB Israel Mukuamu RB C.J. Marable WR DeVonta Smith S Jamar Johnson
DB Tariq Thompson WR Joshua Palmer WR Jaylen Waddle OC Brandon Kennedy
CB Nick McCloud QB Justin Fields P Pressley Harvin III CB Rachad Wildgoose
P Drue Chrisman QB Trevor Lawrence CB Zech McPhearson OT Alaric Jackson
P James Smith OL Dan Moore Jr. QB Zach Wilson OL Braylon Jones
S Caden Sterns OT Brenden Jaimes WR Ja’Marr Chase RB Chris Evans
RB Travis Etienne EDGE Jayson Oweh CB Eric Stokes EDGE Charles Snowden
OL Jack Anderson CB Paulson Adebo WR Austin Watkins WR Damonte Moxie
EDGE Jordan Smith CB Marco Wilson EDGE Adetokunbo Ogundeji WR Ben Skowronek
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