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2020 NFL Draft: Houtz’s Top-5 Safeties and Cornerbacks

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 12 Alabama at Texas A&M Photo by Daniel Dunn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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.


Safeties

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.

Pro ComparisonEric 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.

Pro ComparisonEric 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

Cornerbacks

Jeffrey Okudah, Ohio State

C.J Henderson, Florida

Jeff Gladney, TCU

Kristian Fulton, LSU

Jaylon Johnson, Utah

Like? Dislike? Let me know in the Comments section below!

Josh Houtz wrote this article. Follow him on Twitter (@houtz)