It’s Saturday, less than a week from the start of the 2021 NFL draft, and we still have no consensus on where former Cal cornerback Camryn Bynum stands.
The draft will be conducted Thursday, April 29, through Saturday, May 1, and at least one “expert” this week projected Bynum to be taken on the second day, when the second and third rounds will be held. Then again, he might not be taken at all in the seven-round draft, as another “expert” suggested this week.
It appears Bynum will be the only Cal alumnus taken in this year’s draft, but surprises always occur. Cal safety Jaylinn Hawkins was not in any of the prominent mock drafts last year and he was drafted in the fourth round.
This year, Cal offensive tackle Jake Curhan is a player who could be a surprise draft pick, although none of the major sites’ mock drafts have Curhan being selected. Defensive end Zeandae Johnson is the other ex-Cal player hoping to be drafted, but he likely will have to go the free-agent route.
The most optimistic mock draft regarding Bynum was posted by Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports on Friday. He projected Bynum to be taken in the third round with the 83rd overall pick, by the Chicago Bears.
The other extreme is provided by NFL.com draft analyst Chris Reuter, who projects Bynum to go undrafted in his mock draft posted Friday.
Five other respected sites have Bynum being taken somewhere between the fifth and seventh rounds.
The most intriguing assessment is provided by Pro Football Focus, and although I don’t always agree with the site’s conclusions, it is worth acknowledging the site’s metrics-based analysis.
PFF ranks Bynum No. 151 on its Big Board of the top 311 NFL prospects in this year’s draft. It projects Bynum to go in the fifth round, based partly on its rating of 71.9 for his 2020 season performance. For comparison sake, Patrick Surtain II, the first cornerback expected to be drafted, had a rating of 89.9 in 2020.
PFF lists Bynum at 6 feet tall and 200 pounds and ranks him the 26th-best cornerback prospect in the draft. His biggest strength is his “Willingness in the run game,” and indeed Cal fans know Bynum was a strong and sure tackler on ball-carriers coming to his side
His biggest weakness is “Tight hips,” and you will need a football coach to fully explain how flexibility in the hips leads to better pass coverage.
One concerning aspect of PFF’s profile of Bynum is that his passer rating when he was targeted has gotten worse over the past two seasons. (Cornerbacks want their passer rating to be as low as possible, suggesting the opposing-team’s passer is not having success targeting a receiver covered by that cornerback.)
Granted, Cal only played four games in 2020, so there is a limited sample size, especially since opposing teams seemed to avoid passing in Bynum’s direction, but a 104.6 passer rating for the season is pretty high.
Compare that to Surtain’s 2020 passer rating of 67.4, or the 31.7 passer rating of Northwestern’s Greg Newsome II, who is ranked 20th overall on PFF’s Big Board.
Here are seven mock drafts posted in the past few days and where each projects Bynum to be taken, presenting the most optimistic first:
Bynum – third round, No. 83 overall, to the Chicago Bears.
Bynum – fifth round (no specified overall pick or team)
Bynum – fifth round, No. 172 overall, to the San Francisco 49ers
Bynum – sixth round, No. 199 overall, to the Minnesota Vikings
Bynum – sixth round, No. 213 overall, to the Buffalo Bills
Bynum – seventh round, No. 233 overall, to the Houston Texans
Bynum -- undrafted
There will be 259 total picks. Click here for the draft order.
Cover photo of Camryn Bynum by Casey Sapio, USA TODAY Sports
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