Kelee Ringo, a two-time national champion with the Georgia Bulldogs, is among the most battle-tested cornerbacks in the 2023 NFL Draft. It was Ringo who clinched the Bulldogs’ first title with a 79-yard pass. interception return for a touchdown against Bryce Young and Alabama. That play put Ringo in the national spotlight, and he earned 2022 Second Team All-SEC honors as a full-time starter in his second redshirt season.
Ringo is also an athletic outlier at the position with a rare combination of size and speed that NFL teams will covet, but he’s still technically inexperienced, making it difficult to project where exactly he might go.
Kelee Ringo’s Strengths Match Up With NFL Alpha Receivers
Of the top 20 receivers in terms of yardage last season, only four were under 6 feet tall, so it’s no surprise that many defensive coordinators now prefer larger cornerbacks to wield these offensive weapons. That’s where Ringo stands out. He was just under 6’2 at the NFL Combine. (90he percentile among cornerbacks’ combined measurements since 1999, according to MockDraftable), weighed 207 pounds (93rd percentile) and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.36 seconds (92North Dakota percentile). That is a very tempting ball of clay to mold.
Ringo’s physicality appears throughout his tape, and no recipient will be an obvious mismatch. His speed allowed him to be patient in coverage and quickly make up ground when necessary, and he excelled at staying in the receiver’s back pocket on deep routes.
Ringo’s safety-like size should make him an asset against the run if his tackling improves, and his competitive toughness comes through in the movie, especially in the bigger games. There are times when his interest seems to come and go against lesser opponents, but he made some key plays for Georgia in the Bulldogs’ major playoff games.
Kelee Ringo will have problems against certain receivers in the NFL
As great as Ringo’s straight-line speed is, he proved susceptible to quick separation while at Georgia. When a receiver breaks away from Ringo’s pressure or challenges him out of coverage, he will have opportunities to create short box distance. It only takes the slightest bit of separation in the NFL, and Ringo will give that up at this point in his career.
He also has a tendency to be further from the sack point than you’d like, and had a hand on fewer than 10 percent of the passes thrown his way. according to Pro Football Focus. His physical traits may also be hindering his overall development a bit. Ringo plays with a reactive mindset, allowing receivers to make the first move. His speed has allowed him to play that way so far, but he’ll need to improve to know what’s next at the next level.
Better control would help Ringo as a run defender, as he tends to come in fast and loose. On a larger scale, Ringo didn’t have the impact many expected him to have during the 2022 season.
Kelee Ringo Highlights
Kelee Ringo NFL Combine 2023 Results
Ringo was expected to run one of the fastest 40s at the combine, and his 4.36 did not disappoint and ranked among the best. However, it may take him a little longer than expected to get up to speed, as Ringo’s 10-yard split in 1.54 seconds was in the middle of the pack for cornerbacks. He had a vertical jump of 33.5 inches and a long jump of 10’2, which ranked among the lowest for the position. Those two numbers could be cause for concern if teams don’t feel like his size can make up for it. Ringo has a Relative athletic score of 8.2 with elite brands in size and speed.
What others are saying about Kelee Ringo
Want a second opinion on Ringo? This is what PFF’s 2023 NFL Draft Guide has to say about Georgia Corner:
“Ringo is arguably the weirdest athlete in the 2023 NFL Draft. At 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, he clocked in at about 23.5 mph during one of his pre-draft workouts. For reference, the fastest ball carrier in the NFL this season hit around 22 mph. The thing is, Ringo is still raw as a cornerback. He allowed 13 receptions of 15-plus yards last year, the second-most among SEC cornerbacks. He’s too reactive and needs to do a better job of anticipating what the offense is going to throw at him. Still, Ringo’s ridiculous tools are hard to pass up.”
The NFL Draft is the perfect collision of projection and previous performance. Ringo apparently checks both boxes, but questions still linger in a few key areas. Still, all it takes is for one team to (justifiably) fall for Ringo’s combination of size and speed, and it’s possible that could happen early on Day 2. Don’t be surprised if a team in the first round falls He risks in the super athletic cornerback.