The focus so far has been on what the Cleveland Browns will do with their first-round pick at number 10. Let’s now turn our attention to their pick in round two.
At this point, if the Cleveland Browns draft anything but an offensive tackle at No. 10, everyone would be shocked. Initially, fans were high on somehow getting safety/linebacker Isaiah Simmons from Clemson. But after crushing the combine, the Browns would likely have to trade into the top five to get Simmons which is not feasible.
Which tackle will the Browns take? There are clearly four top tackles in the draft which are all top 15 talent. However, which of those is the best of the group is not so obvious to scouts.
Tristan Wirfs from Iowa and Jedrick Wills Jr. from Alabama are right tackles who could easily make the switch to the left side. While Mekhi Becton from Louisville and Andrew Thomas from Georgia are natural left tackles. At this point, I think I am comfortable with any of the four but would prefer Thomas or Wills because of their size, athleticism, and competition they’ve faced in the SEC.
While many fans focus on the first-round pick, the second-round pick at number 41 maybe even more important for Cleveland next year. The Browns need to find another defensive starter, who can have an instant impact as a rookie. While this shouldn’t be an issue to find in the second round, there is always a chance of drafting someone who doesn’t develop as quickly as planned.
Many believe Joe Woods will deploy the 4-2-5 defensive scheme with the fifth defensive back playing a hybrid safety/linebacker type role. The Browns lack depth at both linebacker and safety, but if 4-2-5 is the path forward, look for the Browns to try and take a safety in the second round with added linebacker depth in the third or fourth round.
Okay Browns fans, move on from Simmons — it just isn’t going to happen no matter how much we want him. I know it’s tough, but there are too many holes to fill to give up what it would take to trade for him.
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Some experts believe that Andrew Delpit, the safety from LSU is the most complete safety in the draft. Delpit was a three-year starter for LSU which includes a National Championship and Jim Thorpe Award in his final year in 2019.
However, recently experts have started to believe that Delpit could potentially slip down boards because of his struggle to tackle in the open field. At 6-foot-2 and 213-pounds, the Tiger product is the perfect size for the hybrid safety/linebacker position.
Delpit was great in 2019 but was not as good in coverage as 2018. It should be noted that Delpit played through a high ankle sprain for most of 2019, which can be extremely painful and certainly lowered his potential.
The Browns must be careful as tackling is a crucial part of the game and Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams already struggle at times. But, if Delpit would happen to slip to pick 41, he could be a steal for a day one started in a secondary lacking depth currently.
Antoine Winfield Jr.
While getting Grant Delpit at No. 41 may be somewhat unlikely, there is a decent chance a guy like Antoine Winfield Jr from Minnesota will still be on the board. Winfield is the son of three-time NFL All-Pro Cornerback Antoine Winfield Sr. It remains to be seen if name recognition will get Winfield drafted in the first round.
Winfield was not a highly recruited high school talent out of the Houston area but quickly stepped in at the University of Minnesota starting nine games at safety as a true freshman. Winfield then only played four games each of the next two seasons, which would both be cut short by hamstring and foot injuries.
In 2019, Winfield was healthy for a full season and was voted first-team All-American and first-team All-Big Ten. He led the Gophers with 88 tackles and added another seven interceptions and three sacks in a breakout season.
Winfield doesn’t have the size of Delpit at only 5-foot-9 and additionally lacks some of the athleticism. However, Winfield has a toughness and a knack for the football which cannot be taught.
A tough injury history and size concerns could allow Winfield back to pick number 41, which could be a great value pick for the Browns. However, don’t be surprised if a team like the Minnesota Vikings who employed Winfield Sr. jump in at pick no. 22 (traded from Buffalo) or 25 and draft the talented safety.
Full disclosure, I think Jeremy Chinn is going to be a fantastic safety in the NFL and want the Browns to draft him badly. This prospect from Southern Illinois was originally seen as a third or even fourth-round pick just three months ago but has since climbed the board quickly after a great combine in Indianapolis.
Many colleges overlooked Chinn in high school as he was injured his junior year when most scholarships are offered. With a lack of offers, Chinn ended up at a smaller Missouri Valley Conference school. Even at a smaller university, he was recognized as a second-team Associated Press All-American in 2019.
Chinn has everything the Browns would be looking for at safety including an NFL safety frame at 6-foot-3 and weighing 221 pounds. At this size, Chinn ran a 4.45 forty-yard dash and had a vertical jump of 41 inches. Chinn has tremendous one on one skills and would have the ability to lock up the most talented tight ends in the league.
The impressive safety has also shown the ability to be an above-average tackler which would be important in Wood’s defensive where he would be asked play in the box a large portion of the time. Chinn is still raw and may need some time to adjust to the change of game speed but could turn into a tremendous talent.
Although Delpit and Winfield Jr. may be ready to start day one, in the long run, I’m convinced Chinn may be a better talent and smarter pick.
Many teams have caught wind of Chinn and his stock continues to rise. While it’s unlikely the Browns will have the ability to choose which of the three safeties they want unless there is a huge run at the position, one of these guys should be available.
If the Browns can get one of these guys, the secondary would go from an area of weakness to a strength quickly.