When it comes to playing cornerback in the NFL, it is hard to understate the value of a player who can consistently generate turnovers. Just think of how C.J. Gardner-Johnson was a huge spark plug in 2022 for the Philadelphia Eagles with six interceptions in 12 games this season. If, by draft time, Philly is looking to target someone that can be that type of game-changer at the cornerback position, there aren’t many better options than Mississippi State University’s, Emmanuel Forbes.
This draft class is home to talented cover guys. Philadelphia could make a splash early if they want to utilize the tenth-overall selection on someone like Illinois University’s Devon Witherspoon. He could fit that need, but if vice president/general manager Howie Roseman decides to go in a different direction, selecting Witherspoon at 30 (f the Eagles address the need then) would be a nice consolation prize.
Forbes was named both an All-American and First-Team All-SEC in 2022. This after he was named a Second-Team All-SEC nod in 2021. That’s impressive seeing as how he spent his NCAA career being tasked with defending the top receivers on the elite teams from the SEC. In short, he thrived while playing one of the toughest positions in college football.
With 14 interceptions in 25 career games, Emmanuel Forbes is a ball hawk the Eagles should consider selecting.
In 2022, Emmanuel Forbes led the SEC with six interceptions. No other player had more than four. Only one person accomplished that feat (Dwight McGlothern).
The next highest total (three) was tallied by five players. Forbes racked up a trio of interceptions in 2021. He hauled in 14 picks in 25 career games. Six of those resulted in touchdowns
Forbes built a reputation for himself as being one of the best ball hawks in college football. With plays such as the following against top-ten projected quarterback Will Levis. Imagin Forbes putting on this type of show in an Eagles uniform.
Forbes’ ability to read quarterbacks and force turnovers is apparent. Pro Football Focus gave him a coverage grade of 89.3, the fourth-highest among cornerbacks who are entering the 2023 NFL Draft with 200 snaps or more in coverage this season.
Forbes stands at six-foot tall and weighs 180 pounds. He has good height and length for the position. While on the leaner side, he still manages to play hard and with great technique. His elite ability to make plays on the football as well as his ability to use his hands to make plays on receivers are that of an athlete who is ready to play at the NFL level.
Just observe here. He uses his hands to make a play. His target is either the receiver’s hands or the football.
MaxPreps once ranked Forbes fourth among cornerback prospects with over 200 coverage snaps in opposing passer rating when targeted. He limited QBs to 44.7. Forbes’ dominance dates back to his days as a high school star. He intercepted eight passes, earned four passes defended, and produced a pair of pick-six TD.
As a true college freshman in 2020, Forbes produced huge plays in the biggest moments. During his first bowl game, the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl versus Tusla, he forced a huge turnover as Tulsa was marching in the third quarter. His pick-six helped the Bulldogs defeat the Golden Hurricane by a score of 28-26.
Emmanuel Forbes is one of the best cornerback prospects entering the NFL Draft and might be the best Mississippi State cover man since Darius Slay. Like Slay, Forbes is currently being projected by many to be taken between the end of the First Round and the middle of the second round.
NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah ranked Forbes as his 4th-best corner and the 21st-best prospect overall. Pro Football Focus ranked him as their seventh-best cornerback prospect and tagged him with a Day 2 projection. NFLDraftBuzz.com also ranked Forbes as their seventh-best CB prospect and as a mid-second-rounder.
The Philadelphia Eagles currently hold the 10th and 30th overall picks in the 2023’s selection meeting’s first round. They also own the 62nd-overall selection in the second round. If the Eagles select Forbes, it, more than likely, will happen at 30.
Some may see that as a reach. Others may see that and recognize value, but Forbes’ ability and mentality will be quickly recognized by every team that goes the route of ignoring him.