Grant Delpit could help fix the Falcons secondary woes
Grant Delpit was the latest in a long line of great defensive backs to don the No. 7 jersey at LSU. The former Tiger entered the draft after a season where he was selected as a first-team All-American and the 2019 Thorpe Award winner.
Before the combine, most mock drafts had him as a lock to go in the top-20 of the draft but his projection has changed since then. He did not participate in drills at the combine, and his pro day at LSU was canceled due to concerns over the coronavirus. Combine results often factor in a player’s stock leading up to the draft.
Here are where experts have Delpit going.
Todd McShay of ESPN mocked Delpit to be picked 23rd by the New England Patriots. McShay likes the fit here because the Patriots could have a hole to fill at safety with the future of Devin McCourty uncertain. He notes Delpit didn’t have the best season in 2019 but believes the Patriots could get the most out of him.
CBS Sports' board has Delpit ranked as the 23rd prospect on the board. In the website's most recent mock drafts, though, only two have him going in the first round. Both of those mocks have him projected at No. 31 to the San Fransisco 49ers.
Kevin Hanson of Sports Illustrated has Delpit at 22nd on SI.com's big board. Here's Hanson's outlook on the former LSU Tiger:
The biggest concern with Delpit is his inconsistency as a tackler, although he dealt with a high-ankle sprain for part of the year. When healthy, however, Delpit is a long and rangy playmaker on the back end that had eight interceptions and 24 passes defended in his three seasons in Baton Rouge.
In a four-round mock draft from NFL.com, draft analyst Chad Reuter has Delpit going in the second to the Chicago Bears.
The consensus among draft experts and analysts is Delpit is a late first to middle second-round prospect, with other defensive backs being valued a bit higher than him recently.
One of the knocks against him is his inconsistencies as a tackler, and he had some issues with that this year, but some of it may be due to a high ankle sprain that he played through for most of the season.
Delpit can play either safety position or the nickel in certain situations, which the Falcons could use. Delpit believes he can do it all as well.
“See, that’s what I pride myself on. I think I’m a very versatile player,” Delpit said at this year’s combine. "I think that’s probably my biggest strength on the defensive side. I’ll play anywhere in the secondary. This year I played more free safety because that’s what the team needed, so I played a lot of percent of my snaps in the middle of the field."
Delpit is an intriguing prospect who may need some time to adjust to the NFL, but he has the upside of an NFL starter. The Falcons could use a player like him with the injury history that they’ve had at safety over the past few years, but they have too many other needs on defense to take Delpit in the first or second round.