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NFL Draft 2023: Patriots to host top cornerback prospect Emmanuel Forbes on pre-draft visit

Forbes is considered an early Day 2 pick.

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Arkansas v Mississippi State Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images

The New England Patriots are in need of cornerback help, and them addressing the position early in next year’s draft would not be a surprise. One of the prospects they might be targeting in that case is Mississippi State’s Emmanuel Forbes.

At the very least, the team is doing its due diligence. After already meeting with him at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, the Patriots will also host him on a pre-draft visit: according to a report by Jon Sokoloff of WCBI News, New England is among eight teams bringing Forbes in for a workout.

Standing at just under 6-foot-1 and 166 pounds, Forbes proved himself a big-play machine for the Bulldogs. He caught 14 interceptions over his three seasons at the school, and returned six of them for touchdowns.

Forbes had a career-high six interceptions in 2022, and was impressive throughout the year. He gave up just 31 receptions on 58 targets (53.4%) for 284 yards and three touchdowns last season, per the Pro Football Focus Draft Guide; he proved himself a reliable man-cover cornerback who is active at the line of scrimmage and capable of disrupting the opponent’s timing from the snap throughout his route.

That said, he does come with some questions. The biggest one might be his frame: at 166 pounds, he ranked 317th out of 319 players the Combine and was the lightest defender present by 12 pounds.

At the college level he made up for his slender build by regularly showcasing his impressive instincts and being hyper-aggressive in coverage. In the NFL, however, teams might be able to exploit his style of play in combination with his lack of bulk.

All that said, his knack for the football and ball skills are top notch and a big reason why he will likely hear his name called rather early in the draft. How early? Currently projected as a second-round selection, he might become a top-40 selection — one the Patriots, owners of the 46th overall pick, might have an eye on come draft day.

They certainly have one on him in the pre-draft process.