2023 NFL Draft

2023 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Mississippi State CB Emmanuel Forbes

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 Mississippi State cornerback Emmanuel Forbes.



Player Ht/Wt Hand size Arm Length Wingspan
Emmanuel Forbes 6’0 180 N/A N/A N/A
40 Yard Dash 10 Yard Dash Short Shuttle 3-Cone
Broad Jump Vertical Bench Press


— Long, rangy corner with good ball skills
— Has good football awareness being able to diagnose plays well
— Aggressive player who plays at 210 while only weighing 180
— Doesn’t back down, he will stand toe to toe with anyone and shows no fear
— Extremely intelligent player as he always knows where to be and how to get there
— Shows good speed being able to cover ground quickly
— Good tackler in both open field and tight area running game
— Has great reaction time at the top of the route as he plants his foot and drives on the football
— Good hip fluidity and bend allowing him to have a smooth and quick backpedal
— Great hands overall, breaking balls up, intercepting them, or even jamming receivers
— Elite production having an NCAA record six interception returns for touchdown


— A little grabby at the top of the route causing penalties
— Has a slightly smaller than desirable frame at 180 as you’d hope to add some weight to him
— Needs to be better when it comes to blitzing or coming downhill, he has experience doing so but he seems to let off the gas early in the rush and doesn’t fight blocks well
— Seems he goes low to tackle too often, and it causes him to miss, instead of breaking down and wrapping up
— Tends to not be able to shed blocks well against bigger receivers
— Lacks the vision in the defensive secondary overall with route combinations


— Born January 13, 2001 (age 21)
— Communications major
— 2019 Four-Star cornerback by ESPN, Rivals, and 247Sports out of Grenada High School
— Top five prospect in Mississippi by ESPN (No. 3), Rivals (No. 4), and 247Sports No. 2
— He was also a top 25 prospect per ESPN (No. 20), Rivals (No. 21), and 247Sports (No. 13)
— 2020 AP All- Bowl Team
— 2020 247Sports True Freshman All-America
— 2020 Freshman All-SEC
— 2020 Phil Steele All-SEC Second Team
— 2020 Played in 11 games as he started in 9
— Led the NCAA in defensive touchdowns (3) also leading the SEC in interceptions
— Most interceptions among true freshman in the NCAA
— He was one of only eight true freshmen in the nation with multiple interceptions on the year
— 2021 Started In all 13 games for the Bulldogs
— Had a total of 60 tackles on the year, 5.0 tackles for loss, and a sack
— He also led the team with three interceptions, and had five pass breakups and forced a fumble on the year


Initially, on the tape with Forbes, you see a long rangy corner with good ball skills, but the underlying thing in his game that’s so refreshing to see is his alpha dog mentality. He’s aggressive, and he’s a face-to-the-fan kind of player. At only 180 he’s going to come up in the run game and tackle. He blitzed off the edge a number of times in college and had a few sacks, but that kind of versatility is huge for him. Generally, you see the thicker-frame defensive backs and they tackle well, or you see a long-range corner who has good ball skills, but Forbes is a healthy blend of both. I’m also intrigued by his level of talent in playing zone. He’s got a great reaction time and has good bend so getting into the top of the route and making plays on the football and he’s so fluid while in motion it’s impressive.

Previously stated, he’s an aggressive guy who regardless of the play or result he’s looking to crash into someone. What a play here to get to the ball and make a tackle around the line of scrimmage. He dips low enough to be able to get underneath the blocker and tackle the ball carrier. This is just an example of his ability to get after it in the run game.

His length and overall awareness in the zone allow him to get active hands up and tip this ball up for it to be picked off. He keeps his eyes in the right spot in order to secure the win on this rep. His feet are consistently moving, and he stays active in the zone. He may need time overall to work man coverage more but he’s a sticky guy in zone.

Here is another prime example of just pure awareness. The great thing here is that he knows how do this all over the field. All in the short game, intermediate, deep. Not only getting to the spot but actually making the play when it’s there. Planting his foot and driving on it super hard when he realizes where the ball is going and having the wherewithal to make the play.

Forbes has ballerina-like abilities at his position. He has hands like a receiver and the balance, bend, and athletic ability to make any catch. His ability to keep up with receivers and when and when not to turn and run is just fantastic. On 3rd and 8, with the offense driving on them, he makes a great interception taking virtually a minimum of 3 points off the board. If he’s 15 pounds heavier, I’m not sure he’s not a solidified first-rounder without much debate.

Intangibles are huge in the scouting gig and you just can’t coach drive, want to, or motor. On this 3rd and long play, basically, everyone around the football is going the same speed and Forbes comes flying in and is going about 100 miles an hour. This is a guy I want on my defense, that’s going to be flying to the football and always seems to be around the football at the sound of the whistle.

Every once in a while, Forbes can get a little comfy in zone, thinking he’s close enough to the guy to make a play with his length. Here is an example of why you can’t get caught flat-footed in your zone. This is potentially a game-changing play given that, if Kentucky catches this football they go into the half with a lead. He has to take his zone and go more vertical with it considering the opponent is going for the end zone or at least as close as they can get to it.


All in all, he’s a very productive player that’s going to make a lot of plays at the professional level. With an NCAA record of six interceptions returned for a touchdown, not only does he gather interceptions, but once he gets the ball, he has a nose for the end zone. I continue to think that he can improve all in all when it comes to man-to-man, but in zone, he has potentially elite traits. Great technique, bend, reaction time, and awareness to react to the throw of the football. He’s an above-average tackler for a corner and I tend to think that will continue to improve as his game grows. He can chase guys vertically running down the field, he jumps into those intermediate-level zones, and he jumps in front of the quick game slants, bubbles, drags, curls, etc. He’s a well-seasoned defensive back and Pittsburgh has a pretty significant need for the corner position.

Even after the re-signing of Cam Sutton, this team is going to need to add to that position and fairly early to be quite honest. To me, he seems to be really similar to a guy like Sauce Gardener. Not saying that he’s that good right away, but he’s got the ball skills and frame alike along with the alpha dog mentality and unwillingness to back down from anyone. I would be ecstatic to see Forbes end up in the black and gold, but only time will tell.

Projection: Late Second Early Third Round

Depot Draft Grade: 8.1 – Future Quality Starter (Second Round)

Games Watched: Vs. Alabama (2022) Vs. Kentucky (2022) Vs. Illinois (2022) Vs. Arkansas (2022)

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