2023 NFL Draft

Evaluating the Value: Purdue CB Cory Trice Jr.

The pick is in.

The 2023 NFL Draft is Omar Khan’s first year as the general manager and like in past years we evaluate the value of very pick. Based on projections for each player by draft outlets as well as our own reports we want to see if the pick’s value is above or below how they were ranked coming into the draft.

Round 7 (Pick 241) – Cory Trice Jr CB Purdue

If the Steelers were going to double-dip at a position, cornerback made a lot of sense. Trice was a name expected to be announced earlier in the draft but there he was in the seventh round.

Daniel Jeremiah had him ranked 141st in his Top 150. He did not have a write up for him.

Lance Zierlein at NFL.com gave Trice a 6.14 grade (Good Backup With The Potential To Develop Into Starter). Giving him a fourth- or fifth-round grade, he summarized Trice by saying, “While he has legitimate strong safety size, Trice’s game is better suited for the cornerback position. He is physical in coverage but lacks the same temperament in run support. His size and strength help impede the early stages of a route and smother possession throws underneath. He’s a decent athlete but lacks ideal fluidity and speed to recover when beaten, so press and zone coverages are where he should live. While there are limitations, there is also room for technical growth to make him a better pro. He won’t be for everyone, but teams valuing size over speed will covet him as a middle-round pick with upside.”

Dane Brugler had Trice 88th on his Top 100 in The Beast, his draft guide. He was listed as the 14th-ranked cornerback with Brugler giving him a third-round grade. He had this opinion: “A four-year starter at Purdue, Trice was an outside cornerback in former co-defensive coordinator Ron English’s scheme. After a long road back from his 2021 knee injury, he showed noticeable rust on his 2022 tape but still graded well and posted a team-best 12 passes defended (with only one pass interference flag). An impressive height/weight/speed athlete, Trice passes the eye test with flying colors, and his testing numbers reflect his above-average athletic traits. He is a little bit of a cornerback-safety tweener and needs to play with better pad level for quicker recoveries, but he displays a great feel for reading breaks and flashes GGI (go-and-get-it) skills. Overall, Trice might never be a high-level technician, but he has exceptional size, speed and change-of-direction skills to be a disruptive cover man both early and late in the rep. He offers position versatility with starting potential in press-man or Cover 3 schemes.”

CBS.com had Trice 85th player on its board and the number 14 cornerback. It compared him to Antrel Rolle and opined, “Cory Trice excels as a tackler and is an asset in run support. At his size, his NFL future may be at safety, or as a hybrid chess piece; he can sometimes get too handsy in coverage downfield, which will be penalized at the next level.”

Our profile on Trice by Alex Kozora said, “Trice is forgotten about among corners with his body type but more experience and production than he does. Still, Trice has a lot of the tools for which teams look. I’d love him in a Cover 2-heavy scheme that allows him to jam and erase throws in the flat. Teams will need to utilize his press-man ability to maximize his talents. It also wouldn’t be a shock to see him return to safety given he’s a little tight. It’s a deep class but he could go higher than people think. My NFL comp is Jalen Mills.” Kozora gave him a late day two grade.

As you can see everyone had a much higher grade on Trice. He fell in the for a reason that is unclear at this point. Trice has the size to play outside or safety so he may be a movable piece for the defense. For right now Khan got another player who was expected to go higher in the draft. The value for this pick is very good and continues a strong initial draft for the Steelers with Khan at the helm.

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