Analysis: Cornerback Chris Tooley has the tools to potentially earn a spot in the NFL

Despite going undrafted in 2020, cornerback Chris Tooley continues to pursue his dream of being an NFL player.


Photo courtesy of FAU Athletics.

Eston Parker III, Photo Editor

With the NFL Draft beginning on April 29 and organized team activities (OTAs) looming, a group of FAU players are looking to secure roster spots around the league. For Chris Tooley, he continues to pursue his dream of being an NFL player.

“Football is just what I love man, this is what I’ve been doing my whole life,” Tooley said in a 2020 documentary.

Tooley came to FAU in 2016 out of Oak Ridge High School in Orlando and was recognized as an all-state player at cornerback. Despite his accolades and clear potential, Tooley only played four games his freshman year. 

In 2017, Tooley finally established himself as a starter, playing 11 games while snatching four interceptions and recovering one fumble for a touchdown.

After a relatively quiet 2018 season where Tooley only got one interception in 11 games, he finished his FAU career with one interception and one fumble recovery during the 2019 season.

Tooley has tools to work with at the cornerback position, but adding more to his game will be crucial in securing an NFL roster spot.



Standing at 5-foot-11-inches and weighing at 185 pounds, Tooley has the size of an NFL cornerback and can line up as a slot corner. He showed development in his final FAU season with a career-highs in pass deflections with 11, and solo tackles with 26.

Despite getting only one interception in 2019, his four interceptions and touchdown via a fumble recovery in 2017 shows his ability to make big plays. 

Considering in 2019 that Tooley massively improved on pass deflections, he will likely carry that momentum to executing more big plays if given the opportunity.



Like an issue with many other cornerbacks coming into the league, Tooley needs to add more size to consistently compete with the larger receivers and to endure the grueling NFL season. 

Tooley also struggled against tougher opponents from the Power Five (P5) conferences and the American Athletic Conference (AAC). In four games against P5 opponents, Tooley did not record an interception nor any pass deflections. Against AAC opponent UCF, Tooley did not record an interception in two games (2018 and 2019) but deflected two passes against them in 2019. 

If Tooley wants to take the next step as a player, he must prove that he can compete against tougher competition.


Best fit

Tooley has the best opportunity to succeed if he goes to a team that is in need of cornerback depth. 

Buffalo, for example, would be a good fit for both his position and he would be reunited with ex-Owl Devin Singletary. Buffalo has a strong secondary and while it is highly unlikely that he would become a starter, Tooley could earn a spot on the practice squad.

After the draft when teams are re-establishing their depth, Tooley will likely get a call to be an undrafted free agent. His best chance to make it to the league is seemingly through a spot on a practice squad. Beyond that, his best fit might be in Canada with a team in the Canadian Football League (CFL). 

Eston Parker III is the Photo Editor for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @EstonParker.