by J.T. Toth
Photo courtesy of Auburn University Athletics.
At Draft 412, the NFL draft talk never ends. We will keep you ready for the next set of gridiron stars—from today and all the way until draft night 2024. We will bring you mock drafts, player profiles, individual team needs, and everything else you may need related to the 2024 NFL Draft.
Today’s Spotlight - Auburn, Cornerback, Nehemiah Pritchett
Name - Nehemiah Pritchett
Pos - CB
Team - Auburn
HT/WT - 6’1” 184 lbs.
Home – Jackson, AL
Nehemiah Pritchett was a key contributor on both sides of the ball for Jackson High School in Jackson, Alabama. During his senior season, he recorded 40 tackles, 6 interceptions, and 2 tackles for a loss, along with 8 offensive touchdowns. He was added to the Alabama High School All-Star roster in 2018 to play in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game. Along with his football accolades, Pritchett was also a Class 5A first team all-state outfielder in baseball. He was a consensus 3-star recruit who committed to Auburn during his senior season to play football.
In 2019, Pritchett only saw action in 1 game and collected 4 tackles against Kent State.
The following year he saw his playing time increase. He played in 11 games, with 1 start and was a disruptor in the secondary for the Tigers. He finished the season with 25 tackles, 10 passes defended, and 1 interception.
He became the starting cornerback and kick returner in 2021, starting 13 games and tallying 27 tackles and 1 interception on the season. He also averaged 31.3 yards per kickoff return for the Tigers.
Pritchett was named the team’s defensive back of the year after his stellar 2022 season. He started 12 games and collected 37 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 8 passes defended and 1 sack. Auburn decided his value was on defense and did not want to risk an injury with him returning kicks. He decided to return to Auburn for a 5th season and try and improve his draft stock in the 2024 draft. He missed 3 games due to an injury, but still started 9 games for the Tigers. He finished the season with 22 tackles, 1 interception and 3 passes defended. His numbers were limited due to opponents staying away from Pritchett’s side of the field.
Pritchett has good length and the combination of above average speed to help him in his coverage downfield. He has fluid hips and fast feet, which allow him to change direction on a dime. In dropping back, he has a good low backpedal and attacks the receiver out of the transition efficiently. He attacks the football at its high point and has good, reliable hands when making a pick. Although he only returned kicks 1 season, he showed the skillset to be an effective kick returner who can break a big play. He has had success as a slot defender as well as out wide. He plays a physical style in the slot and can redirect the receiver off of their routes. His footwork is a plus, and he comes in and out of breaks smoothly and has the ability to shadow receivers.
On the downside, he is passive against the run and hesitates when attacking the runner. Pritchett struggles when he is engaged with a bigger blocker and takes too long to shed them. He is not aggressive in shedding a receiver's block to make a play and often looks like he takes plays off in the run game. In coverage on the outside, he gives up too much room and tries to bait the quarterback into beating him. He can be baited by double moves and pump fakes and tries to make a big play at times when it is not there. He needs to add strength and weight to his gangly frame and become more reliable in run defense.
Levi Wallace of the Pittsburgh Steelers is a good pro comparison for Pritchett. Wallace went undrafted out of Alabama but has persevered into becoming a starting cornerback in the NFL. Pritchett most likely will get drafted, but he will have to show the NFL that he is willing to make a tackle and be more physical. Wallace has improved since signing as an undrafted free agent with Buffalo and has become more of a physical presence in the secondary.
Nehemiah Pritchett has the athleticism for a team to work with. He needs to get bigger and more physical to be a starter in the NFL. His kick returning ability will help him to make a 53-man roster.
Draft 412 Draft Prediction -6th or 7th round