2023 NFL Draft

2023 NFL Draft Player Profiles: TCU CB Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson

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 will be profiling TCU DB Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson.

#1 Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson/CB TCU

Shrine Bowl/Combine/Pro Day


Player Ht/Wt Hand Size Arm Length Wingspan
Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson 5074, 175 8 1/4 29 3/8 70 3/4
40-Yard Dash 10-Yard Dash Short Shuttle 3-Cone
Broad Jump Vertical Bench Press

The Good

— Plays with a physical noticeably demeanor
— Gets involved in the run game, extremely active in the box, should help him function as an early down Nickel in the NFL
— Low center of gravity allows him to change direction seamlessly, makes him sticky at the top of routes
— Efficient footwork in press man coverage, loves to rely on his superior footwork in a mirror press technique
— Shows impressive closing speed to the catch point in off-man coverage
— Has extremely solid ball skills
— Elite open field tackler, has great technique at the point of contact and takes great angles in pursuit
— Has a solid feel of when to use speed turn, allows him to stay in phase when receivers eat up his cushion
— Trigger while defending screen game is among the quickest and most decisive I’ve seen in four seasons of evaluating defensive back play. He trusts his eyes and drives downhill with physical intentions at every opportunity
— His skill set lends itself to any easy transition to playing in the slot at the next level
— Has a good feel for midpointing levels concepts in zone coverage, works for depth to force checkdowns, where he can play downhill

The Bad

— Tends to open his hips prematurely at times, allowing receivers to cross his face and compromise his leverage
— Naturally, smaller frame leaves him susceptible to being outmuscled at the catch point, particularly on back shoulder throws
— Can struggle disengaging from blockers when engaged
— Gets caught flat footed at times, makes it tough for him to change direction
— Quick trigger and aggressive nature can cause him to lose proper leverage at times, opens lanes for extra yards in run and screen game
— His primary experience at the collegiate level came as a field and boundary cornerback, where his smaller stature likely forces him away from at the next level


— 125 tackles 4 TFLs 3 FFs 5 INTs 36 PDs 1 TD
— 2022: 50 tackles 2 TFLs 1 FF 3 INTs 15 PDs
— 2021 First-Team All-Big 12
— 2020 First-Team All-Big 12
— 2020 AP Second-Team All-American
— 2021 Big-12 Defensive Player of the Week (vs Texas Tech)
— Nephew of LaDanian Tomlinson
— Aligned primarily as the field cornerback in 2020 and 2021 before transitioning to become the starter at the boundary cornerback position in 2022

Tape Breakdown

Amid decent likelihood of Pittsburgh resigning its top defensive free-agent, cornerback Cam Sutton, prior to him hitting unrestricted free agency, it would seem less likely that Pittsburgh targets a cornerback with their first overall pick. Likewise, I decided to look toward a position the team has struggled to address since Mike Hilton’s departure in free agency, that being a true every down Nickel, capable of defending the run and pass game with equal efficacy.

Since Hilton’s departure, Pittsburgh has resorted to using separate Nickel personnel on early downs, with Arthur Maulet playing in the slot on early downs, with Cam Sutton functioning as a starter on the boundary. On passing downs, where Arthur Maulet’s limited athleticism can be exposed in man coverage, Pittsburgh has opted to move Sutton inside, relying on a combination of James Pierre and Ahkello Witherspoon to handle matchups on the boundary.

Likewise, in searching for a prospect capable of handling every down Nickel duties at the next level, I began my evaluation with one of the top slot prospects in the 2023 draft class in Tre’Vius Hodges Tomlinson. The TCU product and nephew of Pro Football Hall of Fame running back LaDanian Tomlinson, attended the Shrine Bowl, where he participated in official measurements and interviews with media and scouts. He ultimately chose to sit out of the practice week, likely due to TCU’s recent participation in the college football playoff.

Although he didn’t gain many reps in the slot at the collegiate level, aligning predominantly as a field corner before moving to the boundary this past season, his size, and physicality in the run and screen game lend him to an easy transition in moving inside at the next level. Playing plenty of man coverage assignments at TCU, Hodges-Tomlinson has proven to be particularly effective in off-man coverage, where he has a great feel for anticipating routes and breaking effectively from both a pedal and a crossover run.

On the rep below, working in off-man coverage in a Cover 1 Hole scheme, Hodges-Tomlinson pedals at the snap before opening into a crossover run, planting to carry the dig inside, and beating the receiver to the catch point for a game sealing interception. While Hodges-Tomlinson’s pad level is a bit high on the rep, his low center of gravity allows him to change directions at a high level regardless.


In the modern NFL, where receivers are more talented and alignment versatile than ever, slot defenders must be able to vary their approach in man coverage. In his college tape, Hodges-Tomlinson showcased a solid mix of both press and off coverage reps.

Below, aligned in press coverage in a Cover 1 pressure scheme, Hodges-Tomlinson aligns in press coverage to the field side. Working from outside leverage, Hodges-Tomlinson matches the receiver with a patient mirror press at the snap, patiently giving ground before planting to drive on the slant route. As he drives the upfield shoulder, Hodges-Tomlinson arrives to play the pocket with physicality, forcing the incompletion. What he lacks in prototype size and arm length, he makes up for in agility and physicality, making Hodges-Tomlinson an effective press coverage defender, even against larger framed receivers.


The first trait that sticks out in watching Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson’s tape is his ridiculously fast trigger and physicality in defending wide receiver screen game. On the first rep below, Hodges-Tomlinson, working in off-man coverage,  quickly diagnoses the slip screen, triggering immediately, beating the block with speed, and sticking the receiver behind the line of scrimmage for a nice tackle for a loss.

On the second rep, Hodges-Tomlinson immediately diagnoses the bubble screen, triggering downhill and arriving at the catch point with physicality, sticking the receiver for another tackle for a loss. His ability to trust his keys and play with physicality around the line of scrimmage should translate well in his transition to playing on the inside at the next level. While he can struggle to get off blocks once engaged, he has a knack for using his quickness advantage to evade oncoming blockers in space.


A massive part of functioning as a slot defender at the NFL level centers around playing in the box and defending the run game at a high level. On the first rep, aligned as the boundary corner Hodges-Tomlinson follows motion into the box, inserting off the edge to close ground, come to balance, and tackle the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage with an impressive form tackle.

On the next rep, Hodges-Tomlinson aligned as the overhang defender to a nub tight end set, digagnoses pin/pull immediately, triggering downhill, and ducking under an oncoming block to shorten the edge and make a nice leg tackle. In using his quickness to evade the pulling left tackle, Hodges-Tomlinson is able to blow up a play which is otherwise well-designed and blocked up.


In the open field, Hodges-Tomlinson is an equally good tackler, attacking space to crowd ball carriers and arriving at the point of contact with physicality and proper technique. On the rep below, Hodges-Tomlinson sheds a block in the open field, closing space downhill before coming to balance and attacking the back’s lower half with a physical stick. Despite his lack of ideal size and measurables, Hodges-Tomlinson’s quick trigger and physicality make him one of premier tackling corners in the 2023 NFL Draft.


While he does a great job of staying square, both in coverage and as an open field tackler, he can get caught flat-footed at times, with his weight on his heels, where he is unable to effectively change direction. On the rep below, working in off-man coverage, Hodges-Tomlinson aligns with inside leverage, backpedaling while working to stay square before opening his hips slightly to match an outside stem.

As the receiver steps on his toes, Hodges-Tomlinson is caught flat footed as his man breaks across his face, allowing easy separation on the post route. Here, Hodges-Tomlinson finds himself in no man’s land, where he ideally must either create contact, or maintain enough cushion to prevent the receiver from stepping on his toes.



Overall, Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson stands out as one of the premier slot prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft class. His combination of quick trigger ability, physicality, and versatility in coverage should ease his transition to the inside at the next level despite a lack of slot reps at TCU. While his lack of prototype size likely prevents him from providing inside/outside versatility at the next level, his potential ability to function as an every down Nickel at the next level makes him a valuable, mid-round prospect.

Every down slot defenders are one of the most undervalued positions across the league, despite their importance in producing a versatile and effective defensive unit, making them arguably the best value position come draft time. Hodges-Tomlinson falls into that category, reminding me of former Pittsburgh Steeler, Mike Hilton, in his ability to navigate blockers and play with physicality both in the box and in space.

If Cam Sutton is indeed re-signed, Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson could serve as an every down Nickel in Pittsburgh, capable of playing the run and blitzing on early downs, while providing effective man coverage that the team lacks in Arthur Maulet. Wherever he winds up, I strongly believe that the TCU product will serve as an effective, every down slot defender at the next level, well worth a mid-round selection.

Projection: Late Day 2/Early Day 3

Depot Draft Grade: 7.8 – Potential Starter/Good Backup (3rd Round)

Games Watched: vs Kansas State (2022), at Oklahoma (2021), vs SMU (2021), vs Oklahoma (2020)

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