There’s only two weeks between now and the 2020 NFL Draft, so a lot could change before the Bengals are officially on the clock. With that said, I spent the last several months watching film and compiling my top players at each position. Sure, there may be some minor changes, but things shouldn’t change much between now and April.
So, without further ado, here’s a look at my top-5 safeties and cornerbacks in the 2020 NFL draft.
- Here are my Top-5 Quarterbacks
- Here are my Top-5 Running Backs
- Here are my Top-5 Defensive Tackles and Edge Rushers
Xavier McKinney, Alabama
Alabama has started to become a nesting ground for top safeties, and Xavier McKinney is no different. The versatile playmaker needs a bit more refinement than the last Alabama safety the Dolphins drafted, but his versatility is off the charts. Most important, he shouldn’t have reservations about doing what Coach Flores asks of him.
McKinney is my top safety in this class. Not only can he play deep and take away the middle of the field, but he can drop down in the box and become a valuable run-stopper as well. Isaiah Simmons gets a lot of praise for his versatility, and McKinney should too.
He would be the perfect fit in Miami’s defense.
2019 Stats: 95 total tackles 59 solo, 4 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 3 interceptions.
Pro Comparison— Minkah Fitzpatrick on roids
Ashtyn Davis, California
This offseason, Brian Flores added former California defensive backs coach Gerald Alexander to his staff. Which may lend a hint as to what type of safeties the Dolphins could be targeting in this year’s draft. California’s Ashtyn Davis can do it all. And he fits the mold of what Miami could use in the secondary. Couple that with his familiarity with Gerald Alexander, and this marriage is a match made in heaven.
Davis isn’t quite as versatile as McKinney, but he can drop down in the box and play the run as well as any. Best of all, his ability to cover ground in coverage is a thing of beauty. Davis ran track in college, and it shows up when watching the tape.
2019 Stats: 55 total tackles 32 solo, 2 forced fumbles, 2 interceptions.
ashtyn davis is a free-range safety with no added hormones or antibiotics. pic.twitter.com/aamO4BlNS8— josh houtz (@houtz) February 21, 2020
Pro Comparison— Eric Weddle
Antoine Winfield Jr, Minnesota
Another player that has become a bit of a mythical legend among Dolphins’ fans is Minnesota’s Antoine Winfield Jr. Yes, he’s a bit undersized. And yes, he’s struggled to remain healthy. But much like a particular Alabama QB, when healthy, there are very few in the country that possesses the same type of skills as Winfield Jr.
Winfield Jr. is a ball-hawk in coverage and can drop down and be physical in the run game. He’s also a valuable asset on special teams. Winfield is a baller, and in the right system, he can be one of the league’s top safeties sooner rather than later.
And who can forget the interview where Brian Flores mentioned one of his favorite players of all-time. That’s right, Flores gushed over Antoine Winfield’s father. The writing is on the wall.
My money is on Ashtyn Davis or Antoine Winfield Jr. being a Dolphin come draft day.
2019 Stats: 85 total tackles 62 solo, 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 7 interceptions.
Pro Comparison— Antoine Winfield if he played safety
Grant Delpit, LSU
Delpit suffered an ankle injury that affected his play in 2019, and it showed on tape. He looked like a completely different player than the top-10 projected talent he was after a monster 2018 season. Nevertheless, the LSU defensive back remains one of the best safeties in this class.
Delpit is a menace in the box as a run-stopper and one of the best defenders in the country vs. the pass. Unfortunately, teams must go back to 2018 to see what type of player they hope to get if investing a potential first-round pick on 6’3 safety.
Tackling remains a concern with Delpit, and I hope that was a result of the ankle injury and not something more significant. If he can bring it all together at the next level, Delpit can be an elite safety for many, many years.
There might not be as many hints connecting Delpit to Miami, but he could be the missing piece in Flores’ defense.
2019 Stats: 65 total tackles 38 solo, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 2 interceptions.
Grant Delpit clocks a (4.39) 40 at his Pro-Day...Someone’s going to get a heck of a Safety Prospect...— Josh Lemoine (@LSUTruth) April 9, 2020
Watching him slip down the board was confusing. I Still like him as my #1 or #2 Safety in this Draft.
Pro Comparison— Eric Berry
Jeremy Chinn, Southern Illinois
I admittedly haven’t been able to do as much homework on Jeremy Chinn as the rest of the class. But in the little time I spent watching his tape, it is crystal clear he has the potential to be a playmaker at the next level. Chinn made a name for himself with his impressive showing at the Senior Bowl this past January, and hopes to carry that momentum into next week’s draft.
Chinn does some of his best work in man coverage, so he could be asked to drop down and play nickel in key situations. From what I’ve seen, he’s not as good against the run as some of the other prospects but his range in coverage is a sight to see. With the right coaching, I believe Chinn could be a consistent playmaker at the next level.
In fact, Daniel Jeremiah believes Chinn could be a top-40 draft pick. Time will tell.
2019 Stats: 8 total tackles, 1 forced fumbles, 4 interceptions.
Pro Comparison— Salvation Army Derwin James
Oh, and don’t sleep on Kyle Dugger, Lenoir-Rhyne
Jeffrey Okudah, Ohio State
C.J Henderson, Florida
Jeff Gladney, TCU
BIG fan of Jeff Gladney's match-and-mirror ability in single coverage, but his play recognition/instincts also stand out in off concepts.— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) April 15, 2020
Love this play — he starts at the LOS, patient to attack the flea-flicker and puts himself in position for the pick.pic.twitter.com/rz3JS5tElg
Kristian Fulton, LSU
I like how Kristian Fulton recovered on this play and used his closing speed to keep from allowing the deep completion. The ball was slightly underthrown but he did a good job getting his hand in there to break it up. pic.twitter.com/RQa6MyzRVT— TURRON DAVENPORT (@TDavenport_NFL) April 17, 2020
Jaylon Johnson, Utah
Jaylon Johnson was a force on the defensive side of the ball for Utah this past year posting 34 tackles, 2 interceptions, and 11 pass defended. What team do you think #JaylonJohnson is getting drafted by? If you want more football before the draft, go to https://t.co/KgN1ZW1PcK. pic.twitter.com/0TUUR6R82l— DraftClips.com (@DraftClips_com) April 12, 2020
Like? Dislike? Let me know in the Comments section below!
Josh Houtz wrote this article. Follow him on Twitter (@houtz)