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2024 NFL Draft Summer Spotlight: DB Doneiko Slaughter

One of the best run-support corner prospects of the past few years

NCAA Football: Orange Bowl-Clemson at Tennessee Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bills continue to field a strong defensive back unit heading into the 2023 NFL season. 2022 first-round draft selection Kaiir Elam is currently in a fight to be the team’s starting outside cornerback across from veteran Tre’Davious White. Elam has had his fair share of ups and downs to begin his career, and the Bills have shown a clear willingness to invest some draft capital at the position.

The 2024 NFL Draft certainly won’t be devoid of starting-caliber cornerback talent, and there is another SEC name standing out in the process for his ability to cover and tackle at a high level.

Tennessee was considered one of the most explosive offenses in 2022, bursting onto the scene on the national stage once again after years of slumping. But it was a defensive player in defensive back Doneiko Slaughter who stole the show every time you tuned into a Volunteers game last season.

Slaughter enters his fourth season in Knoxville, where he has the skills to be a five-position player on defense — playing across the entire back end due to his ability to cover and be a legitimate physical presence at the point of attack.

To further evaluate Slaughter’s skill set, let’s discuss some of what I saw on game tape, in order to see where he may fit at the next level with his rather unique set of traits.

Doneiko Slaughter Scouting Report

Slaughter will be a fascinating case study in 2023 due to his rawness at the cornerback position, as he was “forced” into that spot in 2022 because of injuries at the position. Slaughter thrived with natural traits while bringing his natural safety roots in run support. If Slaughter becomes a high draft pick in 2024, it’s because he became a more well-rounded corner as he adapted his game with technique and polish. His game fits remarkably well in a defense that plays plenty of Cover-2 where he can play face-up. We’ll see where Slaughter fits best in the NFL with even more film to back up his latter half of the 2022 season.


  • Foot speed shows up when he gets to turn and run with opposing receivers
  • Legit thumper with the capability of punishing receivers in their tracks
  • Flashes the ball skills and showed himself as a player that separates player from ball
  • Closing burst to get downhill and detonate in one swoop
  • Flashes ability to press and stay sticky; demeanor matches the skillset
  • Started (and played) games at both safety and outside corner in 2022
  • New to the corner position, but picked it up remarkably fast and has stuck there


  • False steps in off man coverage; rocker steps throw off his technique and get him in a bind too easily
  • Zone awareness needs to improve; showing he can match to a man and not just cover grass is a needed step
  • Easy to see he is green at the position with a lot of rawness throughout his game from technique to mental understanding of where he’s supposed to be
  • Boom-or-bust potential prospect with plenty of learning still to be done at corner

Why Doneiko Slaughter fits the Bills

Slaughter is certainly a work in progress at this point who would likely be a player taken in the mid rounds if the draft were today. I am curious to see how Slaughter progresses with a full offseason to train at corner with the Vols. Slaughter has the tools to be a starting corner in the NFL with the versatility (and experience) to move back to his original position of safety. He has a vicious demeanor when it comes to defending and tackling in the flats. He’s shown off his ball skills at a variety of points as well. I’m betting on Slaughter’s upside and level of green at the position as a reason to be extremely optimistic heading into 2023. The Bills need defensive back versatility and they crave such. Slaughter brings that in spades.