2020 NFL Draft Position-By-Position Breakdown

Between our rankings of prospects per position, our positional adjusted big board, a sample “what I would do” mock draft, and our team-by-team previews, we’ve certainly gone over what each team should do in the NFL draft. However, it’s now time for us to focus on the specific prospects. Today, we’ll go position-by-position, picking a prospect for each of the following classifications: best player, most overrated player, most likely to be overdrafted, sleeper and deep prospects, the boom-or-bust player. We’ll also look at where the value appears to be at each position, based heavily on positional/draft adjustment studies.

Before we get started, let’s define each of the classifications:

  • Being the best prospect at the position is quite simple- it’s whomever has received the highest overall grade from me.
  • The title, “most overrated” refers to how I feel about a player’s abilities compared to the public consensus.
  • “Most likely to be overdrafted” is based upon where I believe the optimal value for prospects are, compared to where mock drafts have them being drafted.
  • A sleeper prospect is a day-two player who should be getting more recognition, while a deep sleeper is a prospect who looks destined to be selected within the last few rounds of the entire draft.
  • The boom-or-bust player is someone that I have enough confidence in to understand drafting, but also recognize the tremendous risk that comes with taking that player.

Position Rankings That Have Been Linked Didn’t Take Into Account Positional Value with Draft Grades; It’s More Based on Where NFL Teams Should Perceive Them Based On Their Tendencies In Previous Drafts

Quarterback

Joe Burrow
Photo Cred: Boston Herald

BEST PROSPECT: JOE BURROW

Honorable Mentions: None

Not only is Burrow the best quarterback prospect in this year’s draft, but depending on how you feel about Kyler Murray, he may be the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck. His accuracy, pocket presence, improvisation, and poise are unprecedented; he’s a nearly flawless prospect.

MOST OVERRATED: JUSTIN HERBERT

Honorable Mentions: Jalen Hurts, Jacob Eason

Justin Herbert may have great arm strength, but does that really matter? He’s a conservative player who doesn’t use his athletic traits, while he has shown no ability to go through progressions. He almost looks like a carbon copy of Blake Bortles and Mitch Trubisky, who were each top-three picks in their respective drafts.

MOST LIKELY TO BE OVER-DRAFTED: JUSTIN HERBERT

Honorable Mentions: None

If Herbert is actually selected in the top ten, and ahead of Tua Tagovailoa, the team that drafts him most likely will ultimately regret it.

SLEEPER: JAKE FROMM

Honorable Mentions: None

Fromm isn’t a world-beater, but he’s smart with great pocket presence and is excellent in the short passing game. Teams are constantly searching for stable mid-tier options at the quarterback position, and he can provide that for them.

DEEP SLEEPER: JOSH LOVE

Honorable Mentions: Nate Stanley

Without a cannon arm and standing at just 6′ tall, Josh Love may not even be drafted. That’s a shame, as his feel for pressure, accuracy, and play extension give him a lot of potential as a high-end backup quarterback.

BOOM-OR-BUST PROSPECT: JORDAN LOVE

Honorable Mentions: None

Love’s turnover tendencies and struggles in a lot of predictive statistics in college is very concerning. Still, he’s a much better prospect than Herbert, and not just because of his elite arm. He’s a confident player with more accuracy than he gets credit for and excellent improvisation, and in the right system, could thrive- he also could easily bust with the wrong team.

WHERE IS THE VALUE?

If you’re not getting Burrow or Tagovailoa, the value in this draft is more with day two/three options with Fromm, Josh Love, and Nate Stanley. If you’re drafting Jordan Love in the first round, you’ll be getting adequate value, but not surplus value, while we’ve already addressed Herbert’s situation.

Running Back

swift
Photo Cred: Yahoo

BEST PLAYER: D’ANDRE SWIFT

Honorable Mentions: Clyde Edwards-Helaire

It’s a toss up between Georgia’s D’Andre Swift and Clyde Edwards-Helaire for the best running back in this draft, as both are intriguing dual-threat players. Swift’s the better athlete, which gives him the edge, but these two players are nearly identical.

MOST OVERRATED: AJ DILLON

Honorable Mentions: Cam Akers, Jonathan Taylor

Dillion may have excellent straight-line speed and power, but he isn’t shifty, struggles to change directions, and offers no value in the passing game. His “battering ram” skill set simply isn’t valued in today’s game.

MOST LIKELY TO BE OVER-DRAFTED: JONATHAN TAYLOR

Honorable Mentions: Cam Akers

If any running back is taken in the first two rounds, then the team drafting them certainly hasn’t adjusted for positional value whatsoever. Of the top players at the position, though, Taylor stands out; he is considered by many to be the best running back in this draft class, yet is more of a pure runner with little experience as a receiver.

SLEEPER: ANTONIO GIBSON

Honorable Mentions: Anthony McFarland

Gibson is the perfect running back in today’s game; rather than asking running backs to play snaps as a receiver, why don’t we take receivers and have them play running back? The Memphis product is simply electric, is tough to bring down, and is an absolute playmaker.

DEEP SLEEPER: REGGIE CORBIN

Honorable Mentions: None

Corbin isn’t a three-down running back, but he’s a human joystick when he gets the ball, as no one in this class is as shifty of a runner as he is. He’s a perfect change-of-pace player with big play ability, and fits perfectly in a running back committee in a zone-blocking scheme.

BOOM-OR-BUST PROSPECT: ANTHONY MCFARLAND

Honorable Mentions: Antonio Gibson, Cam Akers

With elite explosiveness, Anthony McFarland was made to thrive in a zone-blocking scheme as a home-run threat, similar to Matt Breida with the 49ers. However, he never produced in college, so he’s more of a projection than a “sure thing”.

WHERE IS THE VALUE?

Really, there isn’t any value with running backs. However, if I have to pick, there are plenty of capable players who’ll go at the end of day three or be un-drafted. They may not be three-down runners, but it’s much better for teams to utilize a running back by committee approach anyways.

Wide Receiver

NCAA Football: Big 12 Championship-Baylor vs Oklahoma
Photo Cred: Sooners Wire

BEST PLAYER: CEEDEE LAMB

Honorable Mentions: Jerry Jeudy

It’s very close between CeeDee Lamb and Jerry Jeudy, but Lamb simply is a more reliable receiver over the middle of the field, and is a true #1 outside receiver. Jeudy, meanwhile, is a great separator, but isn’t a sure-handed receiver through traffic.

MOST OVERRATED: KJ HAMLER

Honorable Mentions: Brandon Aiyuk, Chase Claypool, KJ Hill

He’s a very athletic player, but I’m not sure KJ Hamler is anything more than a gimmicky slot receiver. There’s simply no way he survives as an outside receiver full-time, and I question his ability to beat press coverage.

MOST LIKELY TO BE OVER-DRAFTED: KJ HAMLER

Honorable Mentions: Brandon Aiyuk

Hamler in the second or third round is fine value, but not in this draft class. There are simply too many players who can win consistently on the outside, as well as better playmakers, to prioritize him in the draft.

SLEEPER: TYLER JOHNSON

Honorable Mentions: Devin Duvernay, Van Jefferson

Johnson may seriously fall to the third day of the draft, which is simply absurd. He was the most productive receiver in college football last season, is a tremendous separator, and also is a terrific weapon in the red zone. I see value with taking him in the first round, let alone the fourth or fifth.

DEEP SLEEPER: JOHN HIGHTOWER

Honorable Mentions: James Proche, Isaiah Hodgins

With 4.4 speed and solid separation and release ability, Hightower projects well as a deep threat at the next level. He won’t be very physical, but I do believe he can be a Will Fuller-type of player for teams looking for someone to take the top off of defenses.

BOOM-OR-BUST PROSPECT: JALEN REAGOR

Honorable Mentions: Denzel Mims, Laviska Shenault Jr.

Poor quarterback play can describe some of Reagor’s struggles in college, but he also didn’t develop in a way you’d like. He’s an excellent deep threat with a lot of potential, but he’s certainly not close to a polished player currently.

WHERE IS THE VALUE?

Wide receiver is a very valuable position, so there will constantly be a lot of value in taking them. In this draft, Lamb, Jeudy, and Henry Ruggs III are worthy selections, but with how deep this draft class is, I’d be fine passing on the perceived second-tier players for prospects I see as just as talented in the third or fourth round.

Tight End

trautman
Photo Cred: http://www.si.com

BEST PLAYER: ADAM TRAUTMAN

Honorable Mentions: None

His poor combine was a little concerning, but Adam Trautman has the most upside as both a receiver and a blocker in this year’s draft. I see him as a starting-caliber in-line player, similar to Dallas Goedert of the Eagles.

MOST OVERRATED: ALBERT OKWUEGBUNAM

Honorable Mentions: Thaddeus Moss, Colby Parkinson

Contrary to Trautman, Okwuegbunam had a fantastic combine. His athletic testing doesn’t show up on the field, however, as he’s not a reliable receiver, nor does he have the physicality to be an in-line tight end.

MOST LIKELY TO BE OVER-DRAFTED: COLE KMET

Honorable Mentions: Thaddeus Moss

Kmet appears to be the consensus top tight end in this draft, and although he’s a solid player, has a replaceable skill set. He’ll be able to sit inside zones, but he isn’t going to defeat man coverage, similarly to Kyle Rudolph and Austin Hooper.

SLEEPER: CHEYENNE O’GRADY

Honorable Mentions: None

He has serious character concerns, but O’Grady may the best all-around tight end in this draft class. He’s a strong run blocker, and is also a load to bring down after the catch. He’s the second-best tight end in this draft, but teams may be able to get him in the sixth or seventh round.

DEEP SLEEPER: JOSIAH DEGUARA

Honorable Mentions: Harrison Bryant

Deguara is undersized, but he’s one of the better receiving tight ends in this draft class, and at least shows a willingness to block. He could be an intriguing fullback convert for teams who run a lot of 21 personnel.

BOOM-OR-BUST PLAYER: HUNTER BRYANT

Honorable Mentions: Brycen Hopkins, Adam Trautman

Bryant’s receiving abilities are very enticing, and he could offer a mismatch weapon for teams, similarly to Evan Engram of the Giants. However, it’s also worth noting that Engram hasn’t quite panned out for New York, and if Bryant can’t develop into more of an all-around tight end, then what is he? I don’t think he’s talented enough to stick as a “big-slot receiver”.

WHERE IS THE VALUE?

This is a very weak tight end class, so there isn’t much value to be found. However, if teams can wait until the third or fourth rounds, players like Trautman make sense. If not, selecting Deguara, Harrison Bryant, O’Grady, or Devin Asiasi on the third day is their best bet.

Offensive Tackle

jedrickwillsjr
Photo Cred: Newsday

BEST PLAYER: Jedrick Wills Jr.

Honorable Mentions: Andrew Thomas, Tristan Wirfs

Wills Jr. really helped his stock last season, and he appears to be the best pass protector and potentially the best run blocker in this draft class. He’s a freak of nature with the amount of power he has, and is the perfect combination of untapped potential and refined skills.

MOST OVERRATED: MEKHI BECTON

Honorable Mentions: Ezra Cleveland, Isaiah Wilson, Austin Jackson

I’ve given Becton a first-round grade, but he’s no where close to being as the same level as Wills Jr., Thomas, or Wirfs. He struggled in true pass sets at college, and that’s one of the most predictive measures of success.

MOST LIKELY TO BE OVER-DRAFTED: MEKHI BECTON

Honorable Mentions: Ezra Cleveland, Isaiah Wilson, Austin Jackson

Some general manager is going to draft Becton at the top of the draft based on of “sheer upside” with his size and athleticism, but teams at the top of the draft need a starting tackle, and Becton won’t be that right away. Drafting him over any of the top three offensive tackles would be a massive mistake.

SLEEPER: MATTHEW PEART

Honorable Mentions: None

He’s still new to the position, but Matthew Peart is super lengthy and athletic, was great at the Senior Bowl, and improved consistently in college. He has a lot of potential as a future starting tackle, and would be an excellent selection on day two or three of the draft.

DEEP SLEEPER: JACK DRISCOLL

Honorable Mentions: None

Driscoll needs to add play strength, but he’s very athletic and is a refined pass protector. He reminds me a lot of Bryan Bulaga, and could honestly start right away. That’s incredible value for a player who probably won’t be selected until the third day of the draft.

BOOM-OR-BUST PLAYER: MEKHI BECTON

Honorable Mentions: Ezra Cleveland, Austin Jackson

Becton has all the tools to be a tremendous offensive tackle, but will he get there. He’ll need excellent coaching, but unless he lands in Denver or New England, two excellent coaching staffs, I’m very worried he’ll turn out to be a bust.

WHERE IS THE VALUE?

Offensive tackles are hard to find, so selecting any of the top three tackles is a very smart idea. After that, though, Josh Jones is the only other first-round caliber tackle, so rather than reaching for Ezra Cleveland or Austin Jackson at the end of the first round, teams should search for developmental options in the middle rounds.

Interior Offensive Line

Netane Muti
Photo Cred: The Draft Wire-USA Today

BEST PLAYER: NETANE MUTI

Honorable Mentions: Nick Harris, Robert Hunt

Muti has dealt with injuries in every season he’s been in college, but when he’s healthy, he’s the best interior offensive lineman in this class. He’s as powerful as it gets, and is reliable in both pass protection and as a run blocker.

MOST OVERRATED: LLOYD CUSHENBERRY

Honorable Mentions: Damien Lewis, Tyler Biadasz

Many see Cushenberry as a second-round caliber prospect, but I can’t get on board with that whatsoever. He was a liability as a pass protector last season at LSU, so why would that change in the NFL?

MOST LIKELY TO BE OVER-DRAFTED: CESAR RUIZ

Honorable Mentions: Lloyd Cushenberry, Damien Lewis

I like Ruiz as a prospect, but there’s nothing that stands out about him, outside of his ability to play center. He needs to add play strength, and isn’t a refined enough player to justify selecting an interior offensive lineman in the first round.

SLEEPER: NETANE MUTI

Honorable Mentions: Nick Harris, Logan Stenberg

Some don’t even have Muti as a top-ten interior offensive lineman in this class, which is silly. Whoever selects him in the third round or later is getting an absolute steal.

DEEP SLEEPER: JONAH JACKSON

Honorable Mentions: Kevin Dotson

Jackson is as reliable of a pass protector as it gets, and even if he isn’t the greatest run blocker and isn’t super athletic, I’m not sure that actually matters. For a team like the Dolphins, Chargers, or Jets, who need to do whatever it takes to get adequate pass protection, he’s an easy pick on the third day of the draft.

BIGGEST BOOM-OR-BUST PLAYER: MATT HENNESSY

Honorable Mentions: Nick Harris

It’s hard to really be a boom-or-bust player on the interior offensive line, but Hennessy has all the traits to be a starting center in a zone-blocking scheme, yet needs to add more power to his game/

WHERE IS THE VALUE?

Even if they generate as much Wins Above Replacement as offensive tackles, it’s far easier to find starting interior offensive lineman in the third round or later. That’s where the value will be for this season, as there are plenty of underrated players who are plug-and-play starters.

Interior Defensive Line

derrickbrown
Photo Cred: NBC Sports

BEST PLAYER: DERRICK BROWN

Honorable Mentions: Javon Kinlaw

It’s neck-and-neck between Derrick Brown and Javon Kinlaw; Kinlaw offers more as a pass rusher. However, the South Carolina product still isn’t a very refined player, while Brown is a very sure bet to be productive in the NFL. Now, his ceiling is very limited, and I don’t see the value in taking him early, but he’s the best interior defensive lineman in the draft.

MOST OVERRATED: RAEKWON DAVIS

Honorable Mentions: Marlon Davidson, James Lynch, Derrick Brown

When he first came to Alabama, Davis was seen as a future top-ten pick. However, his production stagnated tremendously, and he’s more of a run defender than a pass rusher. I see some intrigue with him as a “big-edge” with his length and power, but he’s not worth anything more than a fourth/fifth-round flyer.

MOST LIKELY TO BE OVER-DRAFTED: DERRICK BROWN

Honorable Mentions: Ross Blacklock, Neville Gallimore, Justin Madubuike, Javon Kinlaw, Marlon Davidson

Brown is a great run-stopper, but he’s not a standout pass rusher, which you need to be in order to be worthy of a top-15 selection. Sure, he’ll be an All-Pro, but he’s not a valuable prospect, nor is he a “can’t-miss” player.

SLEEPER: JORDAN ELLIOT

Honorable Mentions: None

Elliot is the only interior defender who’ll be a high-value selection in this draft, and that’s only because he’s being criminally underrated. He was the highest graded interior defender in all of college football last season, per Pro Football Focus, and may honestly be the best interior pass rusher in this draft class.

DEEP SLEEPER: MCTELVIN AGIM

Honorable Mentions: Robert Windsor

He’s not a very athletic or powerful player, but Agim is a skilled pass rusher who can be an effective sub-package player on passing downs. That’s a much more valuable skill set than what a run-stuffing nose tackle can offer.

BOOM-OR-BUST PLAYER: ROSS BLACKLOCK

Honorable Mentions: Neville Gallimore, Davon Hamilton, Javon Kinlaw

There’s a chance Blacklock could be a terrific interior defender, but we’ve yet to see it. He was mis-utilized with all the stunts TCU’s defense runs, and a team will bet on his athletic traits. I’ve not going for a boom-or-bust player at a less-valuable position, but can at least understand why teams will be intrigued by him.

WHERE IS THE VALUE?

Similarly to with the running backs, the replaceable nature of non-elite interior defensive lineman mean that there isn’t much value to be had with selection any of these players, based on where they’ll be selected. It’s either Elliot on day two/three, or I’m waiting until the seventh round for either a rotational pass rusher or a reliable, cheap nose tackle.

Edge Rusher

chaseyoung
Photo Cred: Fox News

BEST PLAYER: CHASE YOUNG

Honorable Mentions: None

To be frank, there really isn’t any sort of flaw, even a minor one, in Chase Young’s arsenal. He’s as effective of a pass rush-prospect as there can be, and will instantly be one of the premier players at the position.

MOST OVERRATED: K’LAVON CHAISSON

Honorable Mentions: Yetur Gross-Matos, Terrell Lewis

Chaisson has freaky athletic traits, but how come it hasn’t translated to production yet? His highest graded season was a 72.7 overall grade this past season from Pro Football Focus, and doesn’t have any counter pass-rush moves. I don’t see how a team can justify selecting him in the first round.

MOST LIKELY TO BE OVER-DRAFTED: K’LAVON CHAISSON

Honorable Mentions: Yetur Gross-Matos, Chase Young

I’m not on board with the idea that Chase Young should be selected with the 2nd overall pick, but that’s no where near as egregious as selecting Chaisson or Yetur Gross-Matos in the first round. If they couldn’t produce in college, there’s no reason to believe it will in the NFL.

SLEEPER: CURTIS WEAVER

Honorable Mentions: None

Unlike Chaisson and Gross-Matos, Weaver consistently produced throughout his career at Boise State. He’s a skilled finesse rusher who is very smart and always has a plan; he’ll immediately step in as a high-end #2 pass rusher.

DEEP SLEEPER: TREVIS GIPSON

Honorable Mentions: None

Gipson was not utilized correctly at Tulsa, as he was asked to play inside on a lot of three-man rushes. He has all the tools available to succeed as a pass rusher eventually, produced in college, and is worthy of a flyer in round four.

BOOM-OR-BUST PLAYER: JULIAN OKWARA

Honorable Mentions: K’Lavon Chaisson, Yetur Gross-Matos

Of the “toolsy” edge rushers in this year’s class, Julian Okwara is my favorite. He has a fabulous bull rush, was pretty productive at Notre Dame, and is extremely athletic. He’s undersized and has injury concerns, but in the right system, I do like his potential.

WHERE IS THE VALUE?

Honestly, there isn’t much value to be had with picking edge rushers in this draft. In the second round, AJ Epenesa and Curtis Weaver are polished pass rushers that’ll be immediate starters, but outside of that, it’s a lot of non-productive players that’ll get pushed up due to it being a weak edge rush class. Rather than reaching on these players, teams should wait for next year’s draft to improve their pass rush.

Linebacker

NCAA Football: College Football Playoff National Championship-Clemson vs Louisiana State
Photo Cred: Empire Sports Media

BEST PLAYER: ISAIAH SIMMONS

Honorable Mentions: Willie Gay Jr.

Isaiah Simmons is as close to a position-less player as there is, but for this exercise, he’ll be classified as a linebacker. He fits the Derwin James/Jamal Adams mold as someone who can be effective as a pass rusher, slot corner, dime linebacker, and safety, and can be the face for any defense. If Simmons doesn’t count as a linebacker, then I’ll go with Willie Gay Jr., who is an athletic freak with tons of coverage ability.

MOST OVERRATED: KENNETH MURRAY

Honorable Mentions: Jordyn Brooks, Malik Harrison

Murray has all the athleticism and size you can want, but I don’t get the hype with him. Not only is he inconsistent as a tackler, but he’s also very unrefined as a zone defender. He’ll have to be in a limited role, and at that point, why should a team take him?

MOST LIKELY TO BE OVER-DRAFTED: KENNETH MURRAY

Honorable Mentions: Jordyn Brooks, Patrick Queen

I’m not on board with taking any pure linebacker in this draft in the first round, but at least Gay Jr. and Patrick Queen have tons of coverage ability. Murray is too limited of a player for me to consider in the first two rounds, especially in a scheme that runs a lot of zone coverage- his best bet is in a man-heavy scheme.

SLEEPER: AKEEM DAVIS-GAITHER

Honorable Mentions: Logan Wilson, Markus Bailey

In my opinion, Akeem Davis-Gaither is a better prospect than Murray. He needs some development, but he has tons of potential in coverage with his athleticism and production in college, while he offers a lot as a pass rusher.

DEEP SLEEPER: FRANCIS BERNARD

Honorable Mentions: Khaleke Hudson

Bernard is an older prospect, and isn’t very athletic. However, he’s pretty refined in pass coverage and run defense, and on the third day of the draft, could be an effective third linebacker for a team.

BOOM-OR-BUST: WILLIE GAY JR.

Honorable Mentions: Zack Baun, Patrick Queen

Gay Jr. is a very talented player on the field. However, he comes with character concerns, which include cheating in college and punching his quarterback in the face. These are not small red flags, but all indications are that he’s interviewed very well.

WHERE IS THE VALUE?

There isn’t a pure linebacker in this draft class worth a first round. Yet, I love the value that players like Gay Jr., Logan Wilson, Troy Dye, Davis-Gaither, and even Markus Bailey or Bernard can offer later on in the draft. If you take a linebacker early, especially Murray, it’d be a mistake.

Cornerback

OKUUUDDAHH
Photo Cred: FanDuel

BEST PLAYER: JEFF OKUDAH

Honorable Mentions: None

In my opinion, Jeffrey Okudah  may be the best cornerback prospect since Jalen Ramsey. He’s long, athletic, and physical, and is incredible in man coverage. He was tailor-made to play in Matt Patricia’s man-heavy scheme in Detroit.

MOST OVERRATED: NOAH IGBINOGHENE

Honorable Mentions: Troy Pride Jr.

Although he has all the athletic traits in the world, Noah Igbinoghene’s complete lack of ball skills and refinement in coverage is very concerning. He won’t be ready to start right away, and probably only fits in a man-heavy scheme.

MOST LIKELY TO BE OVER-DRAFTED: NOAH IGBINOGHENE

Honorable Mentions: CJ Henderson, Troy Pride Jr.

I don’t see any cornerback being over-drafted in this draft. I can, however, see a team falling in love with Igbinoghene’s traits, and taking him over better cornerback prospects.

SLEEPER: CAMERON DANTZLER

Honorable Mentions: Darnay Holmes, Bryce Hall

He won’t wow anyone with his speed or length, but Cameron Dantzler is as refined of a player in man coverage and zone coverage as it gets. He’s not for everyone, but for teams who run a zone-heavy scheme, I legitimately see him as a prospect deserving of being picked in the first round.

DEEP SLEEPER: ESSANG BASSEY

Honorable Mentions: Amik Robertson, Lamar Jackson, Kindle Vildor, Michael Ojemudia

Slot corners are always undervalued, and although Essang Bassey doesn’t have the physicality to play on the outside, he’s a plug-and-play starter in the nickel.

BOOM-OR-BUST PROSPECT: TREVON DIGGS

Honorable Mentions: AJ Terrell, CJ Henderson

In a cover-three or zone-heavy scheme, Diggs’ length and ball skills make him a definite first-round prospect. However, he lacks the long speed and man coverage skills to play in off-man coverage, so in the wrong scheme, he may struggle.

WHERE’S THE VALUE?

Cornerback is the third most valuable position, so there is always a lot of value in drafting them. In this draft, though, the cornerbacks are so interchangeable, so there is a lot to gain from drafting the ones left remaining at the end of the first round or beginning of the second draft. I could see a lot of teams trading down and then taking a cornerback, given how deep of a class it is; I see ten prospects in this draft worthy of a potential first-round selection, adjusting for positional value.

Safety

delpit
Photo Cred: WFAB.com

BEST PLAYER: GRANT DELPIT

Honorable Mentions: Xavier McKinney, Antoine Winfield Jr.

It’s a three-man race for the title of the best safety in this class, but Grant Delpit slightly gets the edge in my books. His tackling is an issue, but he’s capable of playing all-around and is an intriguing player in pass coverage. I see him as a very similar overall player to Broncos’ standout safety Justin Simmons.

MOST OVERRATED: JEREMY CHINN

Honorable Mentions: None

Chinn has all the athletic abilities you want, and many see him a dime linebacker at the next level. Yet, if he wasn’t able to dominate at Southern Illinois, I have doubts about his outlook in the NFL.

MOST LIKELY TO BE OVER-DRAFTED: JEREMY CHINN

Honorable Mentions: None

Chinn has recently received first-round buzz, and while that would generally be a mistake, it’s especially true in this year’s draft- the safety class is deep with talent.

SLEEPER: TERRELL BURGESS

Honorable Mentions: None

Terrell Burgess is the exact example of why teams shouldn’t invest in the safety position early. He likely won’t be drafted until the third round, but not is he super instinctual, but he’s capable of playing in the slot, at free safety, and in the box. His man-coverage skills, versatility, and refinement are exactly what every team should be looking for.

DEEP SLEEPER: GENO STONE

Honorable Mentions: None

In my seven-round mock drafts for each team, Geno Stone was a player I continuously drafted in the fourth or fifth round. Iowa defensive players always are super smart, and Stone fits that bill. His understanding and abilities in zone coverage are fabulous, and he’s a true playmaker with excellent instincts.

BOOM-OR-BUST PLAYER: KYLE DUGGER

Honorable Mentions: None

Coming from Lenoir-Rhyne, there’s going to be a lot of risk with Kyle Dugger. However, he’s a freaky athlete capable of being an ideal cover-three strong safety or dime linebacker, and could be an excellent player in the right defensive system. If he played at a division-one college, there’s a great chance he’d be considered the top safety in this draft.

WHERE IS THE VALUE?

Safeties are generally easier to find that a lot of other positions, so unless it’s a blue-chip player, it’s usually wise to wait until the middle rounds. That’s especially true in this year’s draft, which is deep with players who’ll be selected in the second or third round; with there being no clear-cut top safety, teams should address other positions before circling back to this position on day-two of the draft.

 

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