Updated: May 9, 2020
By Chandler Adams
Cleveland Browns Analyst & host of the Across the Browns Podcast
There is only one thing in life that we truly know. The Cleveland Browns are now the Bayou Browns, and I'm here for it. Two years in a row now, the Browns have been able to select a top defensive back prospect out of LSU in the middle of the second. Last year, Greedy Williams was the surprising cornerback that fell to them. This year, in an even more surprising fashion, the Jim Thorpe Award-winning safety, Grant Delpit, fell to them at pick 44.
There will be talk of, "Well, he fell to the second round for a reason." In my opinion, he fell due to a down year in 2019 after a spectacular 2018 season. However, playing on a high ankle sprain tends to do that. Let's break Grant Delpit down and get to the bottom of this.
The kid can cover, even better than some of the top CB's in this draft. As far as the numbers go for last year, here's how he did:
Passer rating (PRTG) allowed: 70.5
These numbers are not flashy or overly convincing, but his stats from 2018 and the tape tells a completely different story.
His best ability, in my opinion, is his ability to plant his foot and jump the route. Not many safeties in the NFL can do it at the level that he does. Here is an example of what I'm talking about. This also shows his ability to get up and press bigger slot WR's at the elite level he does.
Delpit is the definition of a "ball-hawk." Not only does he read the eyes of the QB like most can't, but his ability to attack the ball in the air AND come down with it are unmatched at his position. Charles Woodson, an all-time great, compared Delpit to himself on Twitter. You'll see why right here.
In this video clip, he starts on the left hash marks. The QB's eyes say he's going to throw to the go route from the start, but he doesn't realize that Delpit is about to slide to the middle of the field and play cover 1. Of course, Delpit reacts accordingly:
This video, this video is fun. It shows his natural ability to go get the ball, which will certainly translate to the NFL.
His hand strength is highlighted in the clip below as well. A bad throw by Utah State quarterback, Jordan Love (shocker), is finished off by Delpit making yet another fantastic play. This play is just...special.
This is a controversial topic with Delpit. To keep it short and sweet, he is bad at finishing a tackle. HOWEVER, that does not mean he isn't a willing tackler. In fact, the more film I watched the more I realized that he actually puts his body out there a lot. While he does need to work on the wrapping-up portion of his tackling, his coverage skills negate the tackling deficiencies in the long term of his career as a free safety in the NFL.
This is one of those plays where you realize that he really isn't afraid to put his body on the line. It's not a question of "can he tackle." He just isn't wrapping up right now (he can still tackle better than any of us writing/reading this article). Not only does he deliver the big hit to force the incompletion, but he reads the QB perfectly, again. That's getting repetitive at this point.
Once again we see Delpit not taking his eyes off the QB but still being able to locate his man. He displays great instincts all of the time. This is a 1st down if he doesn't make this play.
Delpit has all the tools to be the steal of this draft. That term is used quite often, but with the way the NFL is going (pass, pass, pass), his coverage ability makes him a front-runner for that title. On top of all that, he gets to learn behind two veterans in Andrew Sendejo and Karl Joseph, AND he has Joe Woods as his defensive coordinator. Woods has done nothing but excel in his work with defensive backs in the NFL.
Long story short, I am excited to see Delpit in Brown and Orange. His coverage ability, specifically against tight ends or bigger slot wide receivers, is something the Browns haven't had in years. It could be the start of something very special in Cleveland.
Across the Board Sports