Why college star T.J. Tampa fell to Ravens on Day 3, explained

Tampa could be an elite cornerback prospect
Texas Tech v Iowa State
Texas Tech v Iowa State / Matthew Holst/GettyImages

The Baltimore Ravens may have already used a first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft on a cornerback in Clemson's Nate Wiggins, but that didn't stop Eric DeCosta from bringing in one of the top prospects still remaining on the board in Iowa State cornerback T.J. Tampa in the fourth round at No. 130 overall.

Tampa was regarded as one of the top defensive backs in this class, as Arif Hasan's Consensus Big Board (which aggregates dozens of expert rankings) saw him ranked as the ninth-best cornerback and the No. 55 overall player. Snagging him at No. 130 overall was viewed as a massive steal.

As a 6-2 cornerback with exemplary production in the Big 12, Tampa's fall was one of the more puzzling in the draft. The only part of his profile that would make teams concerned about his pro potential would be his speed, as Tampa ran a poor 4.58 40-yard dash woith a concenring 1.64 10-yard split.

Tampa's lack of speed is absolutely worth evaluating when considering him as a long-term piece in your team's secondary. However, with so many other positive traits, the Ravens should feel lucky that Tampa managed to fall into their laps way later than many expected.

Baltimore Ravens stole Iowa State CB T.J. Tampa in fourth round

Tampa allowed just one touchdown in his last 900 coverage snaps in his Cyclones career, as receivers found it tough to get any air against a 6-2 cornerback with impressive length, tenacity when the ball is in the air, and enough willingness to lay the boom as a ball-carrier.

The Ravens will likely go into the season with some combination of Wiggins, veteran starter Marlon Humphrey, and impending free agent Brandon Stephens as their top defensive backfield. While Tampa will likely be limited to pure outside corner work, he has all the traits needed for that line of work.

Tampa, who chose to stay at Iowa State despite transfer interest from bigger programs, is coming to Baltimore with the right mindset, saying that he is no stranger to working his way up a depth chart and looks forward to the challenge of proving himself all over again.

Even those who didn't give Tampa glowing reviews have to be a little surprised he slipped as fra as he did. With the physical, instinctive corner now joining one of the best defenses in the league, Tampa is in a perfect spot to begin his NFL journey.