By Adam Aniba
Heading into Training Camp, Washington's depth at cornerback will be something to keep an eye on. A mix of veterans and rookies, should lead to an intriguing battle for CB#4 and CB#5. One particular undrafted cornerback, will enter the camp competition as a roster longshot, but the UDFA from Cal is another seasoned prospect that fits the Rivera blueprint.
5'10" 185 lbs | CB | Cal
Career (43 games) 126 total tak (82 solo), 3 int, 17 PD & 7.5 TFLs
2021 (12 games) 48 total tak (30 solo), 1 int, 5 PD & 3 TFLs
Drayden attended Bishop Dunne HS in DeSoto, TX. The Bishop Dunne CB had one of the best seasons for a defensive back in Texas during the '14 season, recording 6 picks, 14 pass breakups and led his team to the 5-A state title finishing with a 12-1 record.
Drayden and his team would return to the State championship the following year, just falling short of a victory. The defensive back finished his career with 12 ints, 45 pass breakups and 4 fumble recoveries.
Drayden ranked as the #152 prospect in Texas by ESPN and the #20 ranked CB in the state in 2015. Although he was as a top 100 recruit in the Dallas Metro Area in '16, per the Dallas Morning News, he received minimal attention during the recruiting process. The Golden Bears showed the most interest in Drayden, who commited to play for Cal for the '16 season.
As a true freshman, Drayden was active for 10 games, but limited to only 2 starts. His 44 special teams snaps would be a career high. He finished his first season with 28 tackles, 3 pass breakups and 3 passes defended. In the season finale vs. UCLA, the Golden Bear DB added a career-high-tying two pass breakups against the Bruins.
Fast forward to '20, Drayden hadn't started more than 2 games in his career primarily utilized in a reserve role, but he started all 4 games in a season that was shortened due to COVID-19. Drayden was on pace for career best numbers, finishing the season with 14 tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss and a 1 interception that he returned four yards, as well as four pass breakups and a career-high-tying five passes defended.
Drayden would return for a 6th season (COVID exemption allowing for an extra season), leading to a career year, but most importantly he'd start all 12 games on defense for the first time in his career. He finished with a career-high 48 tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss 5 pass breakups and 5 passes defended.
Drayden played 91% of the snaps in '21, displaying his durability and ability to lead the defensive backs, even seeing snaps at safety. Unless it was garbage time, the Bishop Dunne CB didn't miss a meaningful snap all season.
Impressive instincts in run support
Textbook tackling technique
Good understanding of pursuit angles, rarely whiffs/overpursues
Busy hands that help him in 50/50 situations
Improved his ability to mirror receivers without getting grabby and does enough to disrupt routes
Developed into a leader on and off the field, always adapting to scheme playing CB/S
Lack of overall production (6 year career) is a concern
Size was an issue at times, outmuscled by bigger receivers
WIll struggle in man coverage on the next level (minor concern more off coverage/zone coverage utilized in Washington)
Too often bites on by play-action
Only 1 full season starting
If caught out of position, can struggle to gather himself and adjust to the ball fast enough
Although Draden has an uphill battle to make the roster, he'll get a chance to prove himself early on special teams. With depth uncertainty the Cal corner will deal with the likes of veterans; Danny Johnson, Corn Elder, Troy Apke and Christian Holmes for potentially two spots. Drayden played his best football over the last two seasons and there's no reason to think the undrafted free agent won't make his mark during the pre-season, if he can string together a few splash plays on special teams/defense.
*Games Watched- 9/11/21 vs TCU, 9/25 UW, 10/15 vs Oregon, 10/23 vs Colorado, 10/30 vs Oreg St, 11/20 vs Stan, 11/27 vs UCLA & 12/4 vs USC