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NFL Draft Prospect Preview - Denzel Burke

by J.T. Toth

Photo courtesy of The Buckeye Scoop.

The NFL Draft talk never ends, and we are here at Draft 412 in an effort to keep you ready for the next set of gridiron stars. From today until draft night 2024, we will bring you mocks, profiles, team needs, and everything else related to the 2024 NFL Draft.

Today’s Spotlight - Ohio State, Cornerback, Denzel Burke

Name- Denzel Burke

Pos- CB

Team- Ohio State

HT/WT- 6’1” 190 lbs.

Born- 11/10/2002

Home – Phoenix, AZ

Denzel Burke was a two-way player in high school, playing both wide receiver and cornerback. He was named Arizona’s #1 cornerback and #1 overall athlete in his class, rated a 4-star recruit and the #8 athlete in the nation by 247Sports.

Burke had an outstanding true freshman season, starting all 13 games and leading the team with 13 total passes defended and also tallied 36 tackles and one interception—a “pick-6.” He was named a freshman All-American by ESPN, 247Sports and The Athletic, and was the first true freshman to start a season opener for the Buckeyes since Andy Katzenmoyer in 1996.

Burke had a very up and down sophomore season. In his first four games of the season, he gave up 10 catches for 231 yards and two touchdowns on just 17 targets but put it together the final 7 games. Only giving up 12 catches for 101 yards and one touchdown on 22 targets. He battled through shoulder and ankle injuries all season and appears set for a big bounce back season in 2023, quoted as saying, “It’s a personal year for me,” and “I want to prove all the doubters wrong.”

Burke has the prototypical length and long arms that the NFL covets in the next generation of corners. He has fluid hips and good footspeed, allowing him to open up and change directions on a dime. He high-points the ball well and is athletic enough to take every interception back to the house. He does a good job of getting his head turned around to the ball, avoiding interference calls.

As a corner, he has the bump and run “man-to-man” skills the NFL scouts love and can be put on an island by defensive coordinators. He’s very quick to jump up and help in run support and is a good wrap up tackler, unafraid of entering traffic to make a play.

Last season, Burke showed some flaws. He gets handsy at times and will hold instead of trusting his ability. He will need to improve on his footwork and positional mechanics as his backpedal is unsteady against faster opponents. And although he’s a big time athlete who is capable of making big plays, his hands are questionable when he has a chance to intercept the ball.

At his best, Denzel Burke reminds Draft 412 of Jalen Ramsey, who can shut down the best the opponent has to offer. Realistically though, he’s likely a better comparison to the Pittsburgh Steelers corner Patrick Peterson in his prime.


  • Man-to-man skills

  • Athletic and playmaker

  • High points the ball well

  • Run support


  • Overly handsy at times

  • Drops

  • Inconsistent play at Ohio State up to now

Final Analysis

If Denzel Burke can put it all together, he could be a top 10 talent, but he needs to have a season like he did in 2021 to get himself back into that “top 3” cornerback conversation.

Prediction- Late first round pick.

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