Emmanuel Forbes NFL Draft Profile and Scouting Report
Emmanuel Forbes Scouting Report: Cornerback, Mississippi State Bulldogs, # 13
2023 NFL Draft Measurements
6’ 0” / 180 lbs
Emmanuel Forbes 40 time: Estimated 4.45-4.5 range
Emmanuel Forbes NFL Draft Profile
You’ve probably heard of Joey Porter Jr and Kelee Ringo, but Emmanuel Forbes may be a new name. Well, lets change that. Forbes deserves to be talked about in the top tier of cornerbacks headed into the 2023 NFL Draft. He is actually climbing my rankings very quickly, as I love a ball hawk in the secondary.
Who is Emmanuel Forbes? Forbes played high school ball at Grenada High in Grenada, Mississippi. He played both wide receiver and corner. According to his bio at Hailstate.com, he was a
- Four-star cornerback per ESPN, Rivals and 247Sports.
- Top-five prospect in Mississippi by ESPN (No. 3), Rivals (No. 4) and 247Sports (No. 2)
- Top-25 cornerback prospect per ESPN (No. 20), Rivals (No. 21) and 247Sports (No. 13)
- Excelled in all three phases for the Chargers
- Invited to the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game … Also lettered in basketball and baseball
As a senior, he intercepted eight passes returning two for touchdowns. He also added 12 pass breakups. Notice those ball skills jumping out at you. Forbes would choose Mississippi State and stay close to home. He chose the Bulldogs over the likes of Nebraska, Tennessee, and Missouri. Forbes would take the field from day one and play in double digit games all three seasons and even start nine as a true freshman. He is also the all time SEC and FBS leader in interceptions returned for touchdowns with 6 in just three years.
Emmanuel Forbes Strengths
Do I need to say more? Forbes is an absolute magnet for the football. If you have read my stuff before you’ll know I covet this trait as turnovers can really change the game. Last year, I was big on Oregon’s Verone McKinley for the same reason. Here are Forbes’ stats over his three seasons:
2020 Played in 11 games with 5 INTs, 11PBUs, and 3 TD.
2021 Played in 13 games with 3 INTs and 8 PBUs.
2022 Played in 11 games with 6 INTs, 15 PBUs, and 3 more touchdowns.
That’s 14 interceptions with 34 more passes defended and 6 pick sixes. This kid could be the next Trevon Diggs who quickly cemented his name in NFL history with his ability to take the ball away.
Great Short Area Quickness and Burst
Forbes has amazing explosion when moving on a play or reacting to a throw. His ability to plant and go makes him a serious threat to make a big play, which we have already mentioned Forbes excels at. He utilizes this to his advantage when defending the screen game. He reacts and generates immediate acceleration to shut the play down before it even begins.
Go watch his film against Kentucky when he takes Will Levis to the house for a pick six. It’s as if he was in the huddle with the offense when the play was called. Once the ball is in the air, he can close ground so fast, receivers don’t have any room. However, Forbes may have already batted the ball away before they get the chance.
Scouts will often use vertical leap as a measure of explosiveness. Well, a few reports indicate he recorded a 44” vertical leap in high school. Just for reference, current Seahawks cornerback Tariq Woolen, whom we loved before anyone else, and potential DROY blew scouts away during last year’s workouts with only a 42” vertical leap. This was the top vertical among all players.
Forbes isn’t going to be the fastest CB at the NFL Combine, but he has exceptionally long arms for his size. He uses his length well and bats balls away with ease as his 34 career PBUs would suggest. His length allows him to lose a step, but still be able to make the play. When he does see a receiver get a step on him, it’s almost the norm that he will be in their line of sight swatting the ball as it arrives. This alleviates any concern I have regarding him not having top end speed.
Understanding of Offensive Schemes and Route Tree
This may be due to his time playing offense in high school. Or, he just may know the other team’s plays. He is quick to identify where his receiver is going and get there before him. This, coupled with his acceleration, allows him to play off of receivers and still generate incompletions. This is a good thing, because as we will cover a bit later, he isn’t the best press man even though Daniel Kelly would disagree…HAHA! I am beyond serious when I say NFL offensive coordinators shouldn’t even attempt WR screens to his side of the field, because he somehow knows it’s coming every single time.
Plays Bigger than his Frame
Most scouts seem to disagree with me here, but I love going back and being the one who got it right. Forbes is listed at 180 lbs. That’s not a ton of meat to throw around on the field, yet somehow he still delivers hits. Many scouts say he needs to work on his tackling and say he’s too small. I’m here to tell you he is more than willing to tackle and can even deliver some big shots. He isn’t Devon Witherspoon, whom we also love and delivers some major hits. Yet, he can be a helper in the run game. Yes, he needs to use his arms to wrap up more and not just catapult himself at the ball carriers legs. However, the big takeaway is that he is willing and I have no concerns here as his NFL coaches will coach that up real quick.
Emmanuel Forbes Weaknesses
Okay, Okay, let’s chat about his skinny frame. Forbes will not be able to dive into the scrum play after play against NFL lineman and tight ends. He needs to add some bulk at the next level for sure. If an NFL trainer can add some muscle while not slowing him down, that would be a huge bonus. I mean this kid won’t run away from a hit, so I just imagine him trying to tackle Derrick Henry in the open field and being launched into the stratosphere.
As I mentioned earlier, everyone’s favorite ex-NFL scout Daniel Kelly says Forbes excels in press man or bump and run coverage. Well, shocker, he is wrong. Forbes misses his initial punch too often and allows receivers to get a quick release. He can be seen lunging and then having to recover. Luckily he has long strides and covers ground quickly.
Forbes is actually better when he is playing soft man coverage. This is where he lines up off the line of scrimmage and gets his hands into the receiver as they make their route break. He has all the tools to be a great zone cover too.
Emmanuel Forbes Draft Stock
As of today, NFLmockdraftdatabase has him slated as a second rounder and the 49th overall prospect. That’s pretty much in line with PFF who has him 48th on their big board. I have to be honest and say I haven’t fully scouted all the other top CB prospects yet, but I feel confident Forbes ability to change the game in 1 play will solidify him a place in my top 5 CB and earn a 1st round grade from me.
Players with his ability are rare, and a smart defensive coordinator will feel the same. Forbes will probably go second round unless he adds a little muscle before the NFL Combine, or if he records a better 40 time than expected. However, as I eluded to, I would have zero issue taking him in round 1.
Final Thoughts on Emmanuel Forbes Scouting Report
I didn’t go into scouting Forbes a big fan, but I came out of it as one. I watched film from all his games the past 2 seasons and am more than impressed by him. Yes he is thin and yes he takes some risks. Yet, neither of those things scare me away because I just love his ability to change the game at any given moment.
If I were the Vikings at pick 23, and he was on the board, I’d take him that early. He would step in and start day one and add something to that defense it is severely lacking, playmaking ability.
Emmanuel Forbes Player Comparison
As I usually point out this is no exact science, but as scouts we can’t help but be reminded of other players when watching film. Forbes kept reminding me of another player with the same ability to create turnovers. Which NFL player does Emmanuel Forbes remind me of? The answer is Baltimore Ravens CB Marcus Peters, his draft report here. Before Trevon Diggs, Peters was the top INT guy. All three will try to jump a route and possibly miss a play, but their coaches will live with it because of how often they don’t miss.
Emmanuel Forbes Scouting Report Analyst-Ken Noble