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2023 NFL Draft profile: Alabama cornerback Elias Ricks

Ricks would make for a nice pairing with Pat Surtain in the Broncos secondary.

Alabama v LSU Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

You can never have enough cornerbacks.

That’s especially true in today’s NFL. But even more so when they have the skillset and talent of an Elias Ricks that the Denver Broncos could pair with Pat Surtain.

Elias Ricks — Cornerback —Alabama

Height: 6’2” Weight: 188 lbs.

Bench Press: N/A | Arm Length: 32 3/8” | Hands: 8 7/8”

40 Yard Dash: N/A | 3 Cone Drill: N/A | 20 Yard Shuttle: N/A

The former five-star recruit started his collegiate career at LSU. It was there that he became an All-America cornerback and one of the best in the country. Then in Dec. 2021, he entered the transfer portal and ended up at Alabama.

Now he enters the 2023 NFL Draft as a prospect with much upside but definitely needs work. Since some projections have him as a third-round pick, the Broncos could have an interest.

Elis Ricks highlights

From his time at LSU until his final collegiate season at Alabama, you see raw talent and ball skills that would fit in any defense, but especially on the outside paired with Surtain in Denver’s secondary.

Scouting report


In his first two years at LSU, by all accounts, Ricks showed why he was one of the best cornerbacks in the country. To give you an idea of the talent, he started in the SEC as a true freshman. In those two years, Ricks had five interceptions and six pass breakups. But after his transfer to the Crimson Tide, for unknown reasons, he didn’t start until Week 8 against Mississippi State. From that moment, Ricks showed that he probably should have started sooner. As the Draft Network points out, he was covering receivers step for step, deflecting passes and brining a level of intensity to the Alabama secondary.

Strengths (from the Draft Network and Lance Zierlein):

  • Ball skills
  • Instincts and football IQ
  • Big, possession receivers play into his strengths
  • Size and length stack contested catches in his favor


Ricks’ biggest issue is dealing with speed down the field. He just doesn’t have the ability to catch up. This is where his size and length could help him, however. His ability to disrupt receivers at the line of scrimmage is paramount. As Zierlein points out, Ricks is often a step slow to find top gear when opening to run laterally or vertically. He also needs to improve in the run game, especially for a guy his size. The other possible negative: Why didn’t he start for Alabama until Week 8?

Weaknesses (from the Draft Network and Zierlein):

  • Vertical speed
  • Limited playing time
  • Lacks patience to wait out release fakes from press
  • Doesn’t show enough urgency in run support

Ricks’ fit with the Broncos

You can never have enough cornerbacks.

Teams can never have enough cornerbacks with raw talent and skill. That’s Ricks and the chance to pair him with Surtain could really help Ricks. Not to mention the Broncos.

Ricks’ ability to go after the ball jumps out of his highlight video. Even if he doesn’t make the interception, he uses his length to break the pass up.

There are no doubt issues with his play in the running game and ability to cover speed receivers, but with the right coaching, that can be fixed. If Denver considered selecting Ricks in the second round, that’s probably too high. But the third round could turn Ricks into a great pick and one that helps this defense.