Oinks Everyone! Yeah…I know there are still some good Running Backs left, but honestly I started to think about how important this draft is for us and I kind of got cold trotters…I need a safe space now….
So what a perfect time to talk about Safeties! It’s not a great year for safeties but when you start getting past day 1 some very good talent is there. So I decided to take a look at 10 names to keep in mind. This isn’t a ranking. This is just 10 names. So without further crisping of the bacon here are ten names at safety to keep an eye on.
10. Xavier McKinney, Alabama. The Top Dog
McKinney is the highest rated safety in this draft by most draft “experts” So why do I have him at “10”? Because I am a maniac who’s been trapped in his own apartment for three weeks – that’s why!!! You really can’t go wrong with McKinney. He does a little bit of everything. There is this trend in most recent mocks where the Dolphins select McKinney at 18. Usually that scenario involves the top 4 Offensive Tackles going off the board before 18 and the Dolphins deciding to wait until 26 to address the OL. McKinney would be a great player, but can you imagine taking an Alabama Safety with the pick we traded our previous first round Alabama Safety for? Maybe this one won’t be an ass!
9. Julian Blackmon, Utah. The Swiss Army Knife
I don’t expect Blackmon to go in day 1 or 2, so if we find ourselves into day 3 and we haven’t selected a safety, names like Blackmon pop up. Utah also has two pretty good safeties. But, calling Blackmon a safety is selling him a little short. He’s a little more versatile than most safeties mentioned. here. He played CB early in his career. He might be able to do at the next level. If you end up selecting Blackmon on Day 3 and he ends up being a rotational dime package sort of player, it’s a pretty good pick.
8. Terrell Burgess, Utah. The Clone of the Swiss Army Knife
You didn’t have to wait long for the second Utah Safety. Where is our buddy DRG to tell us all about these two. Well…I guess you will have to settle for Piggy Kiper’s observations unless he shows up. Burgess is, like Blackmon, a versatile safety. Not too long ago, I would have had Burgess pegged as a day 3 pick as well. But he’s one of those prospects who’s stock is rising at the right time. What do the scouts like about Burgess – you guessed it: VERSATILTY! He lined up at Utah at both safety positions, CB and nickel. He can be physical in the box and has pretty good coverage skills. Will he break into Day 2 of the draft? Maybe not…Burgess is a bit undersized.
7. Ashtyn Davis, Cal. The Speedster
This is one of the safeties that really caught my attention recently. What is the one thing that stands out about Davis….SPEED. So the story with Davis is that he went to Cal on a track scholarship and then walked on to the football team. Plain and simple: Davis can move. So how fast did Davis run the 40 yard dash at the combine….well…he didn’t run…sorry to psyche you up for that. Anyway, trust me he’s fast. Probably the 2nd best safety on the list in terms of the amount of field he can cover. And don’t think because he’s new to football and a track guy, he’s not physical. His technique is probably not where it should be, but Davis can be very physical and doesn’t shy away from contact.
6. Brandon Jones, Texas. The Hitter
This isn’t really a name you are hearing a lot about. But he is probably worth talking about. Jones is a physical safety who will probably be limited to string safety type and play around the line of scrimmage in the NFL. He’s not really known for his coverage skills. I think Jones is a day 3 pick. But he’s good at what he does: finishing tackles all over the field and punishing ball carriers. Jones’ ball skills are lacking, so he’s best when the action is in front of him…as we all are…
5. Grant Delpit, LSU. The Elite Talent
Oh Grant…what has happened in 2020? Prior to the 2020 season people were saying that Delpit might be the best DB LSU has produced, better than Eric Reid, better than Patrick Peterson, better than Jamal Adams and better than Honey Badger. People were ready to guaranty his top 5 status. What happened? Well – he tackles like he’s wrestling jello. Delpit is the worst tackler on this list. That said – I love Grant Delpit, and even though his sloppy tackling drops his stock, I still think he’s first round talent. It’s eveything else he does that warrants a first round pick. He’s a tall 6-3 and very rangy. He is the probably the best safety in coverage in this draft. Delpit will shut down your tight end and blitz and pick off your QB. He’s really an outstanding talent….who happens to be a bad tackler. But poor tackling skills aside, Delpit is the kind of playmaker who can take a defense to the next level. I would love to see him in Aqua….In fact, I would even accept him in color-rush orange. Sometimes great talents have notable flaws.
4. Kyle Dugger, Lenoir-Rhyne. The Athlete
That’s not a typo and I don’t know where Lenoir-Rhyne is either. For all I care, their mascot might be a petri dish. What’s important is that Dugger was a man among boys when he was there. I have no idea how he ended up there. He’s not what you expect from a small school prospect. In fact, he’s an athletic freak with a rare combination of size, speed and strength. I don’t know how he ended up anywhere other than the SEC, but when you are an athletic freak who plays for the Petri Dishes, you play defense, offense and special teams and Dugger did just that. You might be completely unsurprised to learn that Dugger won All South Atlantic Conference for a few years in a row. No kidding? The second team will be selling insurance in a year. I am honestly more surprised to find out there is a South Atlantic Conference. Dugger is obviously a big fish in a small bowl. We are about to find out how he performs in a big tank. But this guy may be one of the true gems of this draft and will probably be off the board by the time Day 2 ends.
3. Jeremy Chinn. Southern Illinois. The Underrated
Want to stick with the small school theme? I do. Chinn is a heck of a prospect. His career numbers at Southern Illinois are hard to ignore: 243 tackles, 13 interceptions and 6 forced fumbles. He was very productive in college. Chinn is a tall 6-3 and 221 pounds. He has excellent ball-hawking skills. Chinn’s vertical jump was an eye opening 41 inches at the combine. Some scouts think Chinn might be more of a coverage linebacker in the NFL, but given his top notch man coverage skills, I’m not so sure about that. Chinn like Dugger, has to make a big jump from small school to the NFL. But Chinn, did impress at the Senior Bowl when he played with the other big school prospects.
2. Tanner Muse. Clemson. The Overachiever.
Make no mistake about it, Tanner Muse is not a top 10 safety prospect in this upcoming draft. He doesn’t have the athletic ability to go very high. Muse, probably went unnoticed by many while playing on the same field as Isiah Simmons, but Muse did a lot of important things for a very good Clemson team. Like Chinn, Muse projects as coverage linebacker as well, but in his case, it may be more likely. at 6-2, 227 pounds, he has the size. When you get late into day 3 and you are collecting DBs like quarantainee collects toilet paper, Muse is a name you should keep in mind. This is a solid hard working prospect, who at a minimum can cover tight ends for you and play special teams. I happen to like Tanner Muse because I tend to like Clemson DBs, and he’s a hard worker that went unoticed by many as Isiah Simmons caught everyone’s attention. I was happy to see despite his repuation as not being physically gifted, he ran a 4.41 at the combine. That’s not to say that the experts are wrong about his lack of physical skills, but he does have that overachieving thing going for him.
- Antoine Winfield, Jr., Minnesota. The NFL Ready
Truth be told, I do not think the disparity between the top rated safeties in this draft is that great. The expectation is that McKinney will be the #1 safety off the board, unless Delpit somehow unseats him, despite his tackling deficiencies….but Winfield might be the best safety in this draft. If the name sounds familiar to you, that’s because his dad played for the Vikings. Winfield’s father won the Thorpe Award in college, but oddly enough, junior wasn’t really highly recruited when he left high school. Having the pedigree to play in the NFL has panned out for countless other stars. Why? Maybe because coming from an NFL family prepares you to play in the NFL. Winfield plays smart. He makes smart plays, game changing clutch smart plays. The interception at the right time is as valuable as prompt amazon delivery. He’s also scrappy he’s got a stout solid build but he can move very fast. He’s tough. More importantly though it’s obvious that Winfield has great instincts. It’s like he was born to play the position and sometimes that happens when Papa played in the NFL. Winfield probably won’t be the top safety picked in the draft, but this little Piggy thinks he should be.