2019 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Trayvon Mullen
By Charlie Campbell
Summary: Potential can be a scary word, but that is the word to best describe Mullen. He is a size/speed freak of nature for a cornerback entering the NFL. With his height, length, weight, and straight-line speed, Mullen has nearly a prototypical skill set. However, the word potential summarizes Mullen well, because he does not play up to his athletic skill set and has a lot of technical issues that need to be resolved for the NFL.
In 2017, Mullen established himself as a starter for Clemson while totaling 42 tackles with three interceptions and seven passes broken up. In the spring and summer of 2018, there was a lot of buzz about Mullen in the scouting community as being a player with a great skill set and the upside to be special. However, his 2018 season was very underwhelming, seeing him record 36 tackles with three pass broken up and one interception. The junior should have returned to Clemson to improve his technique, but he entered the 2019 NFL Draft. At the NFL Scouting Combine, Mullen showed his great physical talent size/speed with his measurements and running the 40-yard dash in a tremendous 4.46 seconds.
Mullen's skill set generated media hype, including Bleacher Report projecting him as a top-10 pick even after his underwhelming season. NFL teams don't grade Mullen anywhere close to as high as that projection. This flawed media evaluation was similar to former Clemson corner Mackensie Alexander - a 2016 second-round pick by the Vikings -, who was projected to be a first-round pick by sites like Bleacher Report when he was actually receiving grades for Day 2.
In speaking to some team sources, Mullen is a polarizing prospect. The sources who like him have graded him in the second round, which illustrates that even they see flaws beyond his a first-round skill set. The evaluators who didn't like Mullen have him graded as a late third- or fourth-round pick.
There is no doubt that Mullen has good size to him and has excellent straight-line speed for a big corner. He is a solid tackler and willing to help in run support. In the NFL, he would fit best as a press-man corner.
Here is what one area scout said about Mullen, "I just don't see it with him. I don't like his technique. I don't like his feet, and he got on his heels a lot. He gets off balance coming out of transition and looks tight opening it up. But he's long and can run, so maybe somebody reaches on him."
Given the need for cornerbacks around the NFL and the 2019 class being weak at the position, I think that Mullen has a shot at being a second-round pick. If he doesn't go in Round 2, he should be a third- of fourth-rounder.
Player Comparison: Mike Rumph. Mullen and Rumph (6-2, 205) are almost identical in size. Rumph was a good tackler, but his issues in coverage and not having good technique ended up leading to him not panning out in the NFL. As a pro, I could see Mullen having similar issues to Rumph.
NFL Matches: Tampa Bay, New York Giants, Denver, Washington, Carolina, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Houston, Kansas City, Philadelphia
On the second day of the 2019 NFL Draft, there are a lot of potential landing spots for Mullen. A cornerback could be in play for the Giants at the top of Day 2. That is a big need for the defense after trading away Eli Apple. Additionally, Janoris Jenkins could be a cap cut before long.
The Bucs need corner help as Vernon Hargreaves has disappointed and Brent Grimes is gone. However, Tampa Bay took a few corners early on in the 2018 NFL Draft, so the team may not take a corner in the early rounds this year.
The Broncos badly need cornerback help this offseason. They signed Kareem Jackson, but they still have to replace Aqib Talib and find some other upgrades. If the Redskins are planning on cutting Josh Norman in a year or so, they could consider Mullen on Day 2. Carolina has some quality starting cornerbacks, but could use a third one and depth. Mullen could be in play for the Panthers on the second day of the 2019 NFL Draft.
Cleveland made a great pick in Denzel Ward last year and could use an upgrade to go with him. Corner is one of the biggest needs on the Browns' roster, so in that regard, the team would be a nice fit for Mullen. However, I'm not sure that Mullen would be a fit for Steve Wilks' scheme.
Pittsburgh could use more corner talent, and Mullen could help finish off a trio with Joe Haden and Artie Burns.
Cornerback was a weakness for Houston last offseason, and the team swung and missed on an upgrade as Aaron Colvin was a bust. The Texans signed some pedestrian veterans in free agency this year, but could use more long-term answers. Their corners were a liability in 2018, so adding more talent is critical.
Philadelphia has two second-round picks and needs cornerback help, especially if Ronald Darby is not in the long-term plans. The Chiefs need to upgrade their defense and could target a corner like Mullen to help out their secondary.
2019 NFL Mock Draft: Charlie's | Walt's
2019 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings
2019 NFL Draft Scouting Reports
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