Top 10 2020 College S Prospects (Updated 4/18/20)


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Xavier McKinney

Ascending safety prospect offering a combination of plus athleticism, field awareness and versatility. McKinney split time equally at slot, free safety and in the box and is accomplished in each. His coverage instincts, athleticism and quick-twitch burst are more cornerback than safety, which is why he’s likely to be a coveted toy for teams looking to upgrade and diversify their sub-packages. He can sit in center field all day if needed, and he’s an adequate open-field tackler but has room for improvement in that area. McKinney represents the new breed of versatile, matchup safety with high upside as an early starter

 

Grant Delpit

Aggressive, urgent striker with good upside who posted a disappointing follow-up to an exciting 2018 campaign. His evaluation requires a full load of 2018 tape, where his coverage potential was better illustrated. He transitions with instinctive eyes and plays physically against tight ends. Willingness to rush in and hit has never been a problem in the alley or in his fits, but tackle inconsistencies have plagued him throughout his career due to angles and technique that could be challenging to fix. LSU sources say NFL teams won’t be getting the alpha leadership Jamal Adams provided for the Tigers, but Delpit should find a starting role early in his career as a versatile safety with big nickel potential.

 

Antoine Winfield

Winfield isn’t as tall or as long as teams like and he’s an average athlete, but he’s an interchangeable safety who can flat out play. Winfield is stout and strong with above average body control and balance. He can bang on tight ends in coverage and support the run near the box. His angles to the ball are efficient against the run or pass. He’s very instinctive and sees plays unfold, but doesn’t have ballhawking twitch to challenge a high number of throws. His tackle net isn’t as wide in the open field, so he must tackle with excellent fundamentals. Winfield isn’t a star but he’s a quality building block with the toughness and intelligence to help fortify the back end.

 

Kyle Dugger

It’s rare to find a safety with elite size, speed, explosiveness and production at a Power 5 school and almost impossible to find one at a Division II school. Dugger crammed the stat sheet full and used those elite traits to dominate the opposition. At times, he seems bored with his level of competition, but his engagement can be instant and urgent when it needs to be. He plays with controlled violence and carries an alpha demeanor on the field. He has soft hands and is rangy, but needs to train his eyes and improve his fundamentals before he’s coverage-ready. Dugger is a versatile, scheme-friendly safety who helps immediately on special teams and could develop into a talented NFL starter

 

Ashtyn Davis

Late-comer to the game who has rare physical gifts that can’t be taught but can be capitalized on. His instincts are just average right now, but he appears to have decent recognition skills. He just needs to trust what he sees. Learning to play under control in coverage and as a tackler will be the difference between being considered a good football player instead of an explosive athlete. The elite traits should get him drafted inside the first two days, but there are some boom/bust elements to his game right now. He should become a future starter at safety, but his size, length and speed could create interest in him as a potential cornerback conversion

 

Terrell Burgess

Utah is known for developing defensive talent and Burgess is the latest success story to emerge from the program. The cornerback-turned-safety plays with uncommon discipline and field vision despite just a single season as full-time starter. Teams love his versatility and ability to play nickel, but matchups against speed could cause some issues. He plays with good instincts and closing burst from high safety looks but doesn’t have the striking ability to concern targets working the middle. Burgess’ versatility, athleticism and feel for pathways to tackles in run support could make him a valuable middle-round pick with a chance to find the field early on in a variety of roles

 

Jeremy Chinn

Safety prospect with compelling size, speed and athletic ability. He has man cover skills. Very willing and able as a tackler, but despite his diverse skill set, his effectiveness can wane when asked to multitask. Chinn is at his best when he’s actively engaged and not sitting in space dissecting what comes next. His ball skills and athleticism are strengths that help define his value and teams will need to find ways to put him in position to utilize both without exposing his inconsistent field awareness. He might find a future role as a big nickel or a cover linebacker who can drag tight ends around the field in sub-packages

 

Julian Blackmon

While Blackmon displayed some inconsistencies in recognition and ball tracking in his first season at safety, the move clearly gives him his best chance to become a pro. The former cornerback has soft hands and carryover route-anticipation that should allow him to match against tight ends as a pro. He can play split safety, big nickel or help support the run as a down safety. His field recognition and angles to the football are still behind from his new position, but he should keep getting better. His December knee injury will push him down the draft board, but he has the traits and talent to make it in the league

 

Antoine Brooks Jr.

He’s either a versatile defender or one lacking a clean positional fit depending on a team’s assessment and scheme. He’s played in a variety of spots over the past two years, but hip tightness and lack of length do show themselves when matched in man coverage. He’s a freelancer who lacks the range to play single-high, but his instincts and recognition talent improve his ability to challenge effectively as a split safety. He’s a well-built banger with solo tackle talent near the line and should be a quality short zone defender. Brooks offers middle-round value as a split-safety capable of box duties and should offer an upgrade on special teams coverage

 

Brandon Jones

He’s got a thumper’s heart but doesn’t have the frame to carry the pop necessary to handle that role. While Jones played boundary, field, and nickel safety position at Texas, he’ll likely be pegged as a two-deep or single-high free safety due to man coverage limitations but above-average speed. He plays with good urgency and has soft hands, but just average instincts, which limited his ball production. He could get pushed up a round if he’s a big tester. He has third-safety potential and offers early help on special teams

 

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