2023 NFL Draft

2023 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Georgia CB Kelee Ringo

From now until the 2023 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top 10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections and priority undrafted free agents Today, I’ll be profiling Georgia CB Kelee Ringo

#5 Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia (Junior) – 6020, 210lb

Measurements

Player Ht/Wt Hand Size Arm Length Wingspan
Kelee Ringo 6’2, 210lb N/A N/A N/A
40-Yard Dash 10-Yard Dash Short Shuttle 3-Cone
N/A N/A N/A N/A
Broad Jump Vertical Bench Press
N/A N/A

The Good

— Has great height and length for the position with a filled-out frame (6’2, 210lb)
— Played mostly outside with some experience in the slot
— Showed ability to play both sides of the field and travel with receivers
— Explosive athlete that has a track background, having the long speed to carry receivers down the field vertically
— Shows his leaping ability against the jump ball, competing with the WR at the catch point
— Comfortable playing with his back to the ball and singled up in man coverage along the sideline
— Has good ball skills in terms of challenging passes and catching the football
— Length and size aid in his ability to play press man at the LOS
— Has the strength to reroute receivers off course
— Can be sticky at times in coverage, allowing minimal separation when he stays in-phase
— Can play off-man and zone coverage reading the QB’s eyes to make a play on the ball once thrown
— Will roll up quickly on underneath throws to challenge at the catch point
— Willing and capable run defender that will run through ballcarriers on contact
— Sniffs out the screen game well, flying up to stick pass catchers quickly
— Won’t turn 21 until June, being one of the youngest prospects in the draft class

The Bad

— Great athlete, but isn’t overly twitchy in terms of change of direction in space
— Fairly raw in terms of technique given his physical traits
— Does a poor job jamming receivers at the line with active hands, allowing a free release
— More of a reactionary corner than an instinctive cover man, being a tad late to diagnose and execute
— Feet can stall at times at the top of a WR’s route, causing him to be slow at the break point and separation to occur
— Gets beat often on inside releases, giving a step of separation as he trails from behind
— Will guess on occasion as the receiver gets on his toes, taking a false step and gets out of position
— Will bite on double moves when a receiver is working vertically
— Can be too soft in zone coverage at times, allowing easy completions with room for YAC
— Tackling technique needs to be worked on as he flies in uncontrolled, relying on arm tackles to take down the ballcarrier
— Misses too many plays in open space
— Physical press man corner, but may need to tone it back to avoid drawing penalties at the next level

Bio

— Redshirt Sophomore prospect from Tacoma, WA
— Born June 27, 2002 (age 20)
— Moved to Saguaro, AZ as a kid where he would play HS football
— Consensus five-star prospect who was ranked the #1 CB and #1 player from the state of Arizona, First Team All-American
— Selected to play for the West team in the 2020 All-American Bowl
— A world-class junior sprinter with the top 100 meter (10.43) and 200-meter times (21.18) in the state of Arizona as a junior, won AIA Division III state titles in both of those events in 2019
— Missed the entire 2020 season recovering from off-season surgery of a torn labrum, redshirting his first year on campus
— Played in all 15 games in 2021, starting in the last 12, and finished with 34 total stops, a sack, eight pass breakups, and two interceptions
— Started 15 games for the National Champs in 2022, logging 42 tackles (37 solo), two TFLs, two INTs seven PBUs, and a forced fumble
— Two-time National Champion
— Second Team All-SEC (2022) Freshman All-SEC Team (2021)
— Communication Studies Major

Tape Breakdown

Kelee Ringo has the athleticism and pedigree you look for in a shutdown cover corner in the league. He was the #1 CB recruit coming out of high school back in 2020, but redshirted his first season on campus, recovering from off-season surgery to repair a torn labrum that caused him missed his entire freshman season. However, Ringo managed to make a full recovery and supplanted current Los Angeles Rams CB Derion Kendrick as CB1 for the Dawgs in 2021. He returned in 2022, his first year of being draft-eligible, with many projecting him to be a top ten draft pick.

When you watch Ringo, you see a prospect that has the makings of a prototypical outside cornerback in the NFL. He has the size, height, and length at 6’2, 210lb to challenge big-bodied WRs at the catch point in man coverage and make plays on the football. Here is an example against Kentucky where Ringo is in coverage at the bottom of your screen as the receiver gets an outside release along the sideline. Ringo stays in-phase with the receiver as the safety rolls overtop to help and tracks the underthrown ball in the air, picking it off and manages to return it nearly to midfield.

We saw a similar play made by Ringo when it mattered most in the CFP National Championship Game. He successfully carries the WR up the sideline then breaks off once he sees the underthrown pass by #9 Bryce Young, picking it off and running back the other way to seal a National Championship for the Bulldogs.

Ringo’s size and length make him an ideal press man corner, having the strength and arm length to physically reroute receivers off their route as well as the track speed to carry them vertically down the field. Here is one example against Tennessee’s Cedric Tilman where he doesn’t allow Tilman to stack him vertically up the sideline, carrying the receiver vertically staying in-stride step-for-step. Ringo gets his head around to locate the football and manages to secure the INT with Tilman draped over him, picking it off and finishing the play in the end zone.

When he decides to get hands-on and jam at the LOS, Ringo can disrupt the rhythm of the passing game. Here against Vanderbilt, we see Ringo do just that as he takes the WR to the sideline and quickly comes back to the ball as it is thrown to play through the WR’s hands and knock the pass away.

Ringo’s track background also pops up in pursuit of the ballcarrier. Here is a two-play sequence against Ohio State where Ringo displays his open field speed and effort, getting on his horse to go make the tackle, running down the ballcarrier from behind. These two plays are a testament to Ringo’s mindset as a player, knowing his has the physical talent to help make a play for his team.

 

However, after watching several games of Ringo from the past two seasons, he gives me more concerns than assurance of warranting a first-round selection. a top While Ringo has the size to be a capable run defender, he needs to clean up his angles of pursuit and tackling. Watch this play against LSU where Ringo is in-position to make an open field tackle on the receiver, but he hesitates and lunges forward at the receiver rather than breaking down, leading to a whiff and extra YAC. The clip below that shows a poor jam by Ringo at the LOS, giving Tilman an easy inside release. Ringo is in bad positioning and overruns the tackle attempt, allowing Tilman to pick up additional yardage.

Ringo needs refinement on the technical skill to become the player he can be at the next level. While having good physical traits in coverage, he can get too soft in off-man or zone at times, leading to ample separation for easy completions. Here’s one example against LSU on third-and-short where Ringo slowly shuffles back once the ball is snapped, giving the receiver a free release inside to make the catch over the middle for the first down. Ringo looks slow to process what is happening in-front of him on this rep, unaware of the down and distance.

Watching the tape, there is also a lack of lateral change of direction movement skills with Ringo, as you would expect for bigger, longer cover corners. Cedric Tilman gets the better of Ringo on this rep, getting vertical up the sideline while dropping his shoulders and quickly coming back to the football. Ringo is unable to come to a stop that quickly, slowing down and turning in a full circle which gives Tilman nearly five yards of separation to make the catch and cut back up field, leaving Ringo chasing him from behind.

Ringo also has instances where his feet stall at the top of the receiver’s route, delaying his reaction to the break which allows separation to be created. Here is an example of this as the receiver for LSU runs up the right sideline and gives Ringo a foot fire and a jab step to the right, causing Ringo to freeze as the pass catcher breaks inside for the completion inside the Dawgs’ ten-yard line.

Ringo also tends to guess at times when the receiver starts his route, leading to him getting beat off the line or at the breaking point of the route stem. Watch this play as Ringo takes a false step at the bottom of your screen, stalling for a split second, which is just enough time for the receiver to stack Ringo vertically up the seam. Ringo loses coverage as the receiver blows past him down the field, getting on top of the safety to catch the deep ball.

As mentioned earlier, Ringo has the speed to run with just about anyone down the field, being a track star himself in high school. However, he bites on double moves far too often, causing the receiver to create space and gain separation. Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison Jr. got the better of Ringo on a double move as you see below, causing Ringo to panic and grab hold of Harrison, drawing a flag.

This reactionary play style rather than relying on instincts can put Ringo in a bind, getting Ringo out of position, resulting in him grabbing hold of receiver. Watch this rep against Tilman where Ringo is with Tilman at the top of his route, but panics as he comes back to the ball, latching onto his back and chest and playing through his hands before the ball arrives, resulting in a penalty.

Conclusion

Overall, Kelee Ringo has the physical qualities you look for in an outside boundary corner. He has the size, speed, and pedigree that fits the prototype at the position, being a capable press man cornerback that can reroute receivers as well as contest passes regularly in man-on-man situations. He is physical at the catch point and as a downhill player, bringing the want-to as a hitter both in run support as well as a blitzer off the edge. Still, Ringo needs to match his physical prowess with better mental processing, needing to react quicker to the receiver coming out of his breaks and rely less on guessing and using his athleticism to make up for any mishaps in coverage.

When watching Ringo, I see some similarities to former NFL CB Prince Amukamara. Amukamara played nearly a decade in NFL after being drafted in the first-round in 2011 out of Nebraska. Like Ringo, Amukamara was a bigger, stout CB prospect with a filled-out frame and the athleticism that you look for to be a CB1 (4.43 40, 38” vert), but didn’t necessarily live up to his first-round draft slot. There were instinctual issues to Amukamara’s game just like Ringo. He was able to have a good career thanks to his pedigree and athleticism, but he also left Giants fans wanting more out of the former 19th overall selection

Right now, that is where I stand on Ringo at this stage of his football career. He has all the physical tools you want but needs major technical adjustments and refinement to hold up as a team’s true CB1. For Pittsburgh, they have several options at the CB position, but lack that true shutdown #1 CB on the roster, fielding several capable CB2s. With Sutton scheduled for free agency and Wallace and Witherspoon on short-term deals, CB could be on the team’s shortlist of early draft selections.

They could elect to target Ringo should he be around their draft selection at 17 overall, but his need for development and improved mental processing has me wary of him being worth that selection. Still, his talent and pedigree alone should likely draw him interest in some form or fashion, whether that be in the first-round or on Day Two of the 2023 NFL Draft.

Projection: Mid-Day One/Early Day Two
Depot Draft Grade: 8.1 – Future Quality Starter (2nd Round)
Games Watched: vs Tennessee (2022), at South Carolina (2022), vs LSU (2022), vs Ohio State (2022) vs Kentucky (2021), vs Alabama (2021-SEC), vs Alabama (2021-CFP)

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DL Bryan Breese DT Jalen Carter OT Darnell Wright CB Joey Porter Jr.
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