Sports Info Solutions (SIS) brings you the second annual edition of The SIS Football Rookie Handbook, with scouting reports and statistical breakdowns on over 280 college football players who are likely to be drafted or signed as rookie free agents in 2020 (a glossary for the below stats can be found here). New features for this year include unique and informative NFL team pages, research deep-dives by the SIS R&D team, and—for the first time ever—the NCAA version of their flagship football statistic, Total Points.
Continuing our position-by-position preview of this year’s draft class, we shift our focus to safeties. As a scouting staff, we use common terminology to grade every trait that we evaluate. We use a 1-9 scale with a 1 representing a “Reject” grade and a 9 meaning a “Rare” grade for whatever trait we are evaluating. We spend a lot of time in our internal Scout School making sure that our scales are calibrated with one another, and this common scale and set of language is a key aspect to ensuring that our evaluations are consistent (that…and cross-checks).
Additionally, for each position in the book, there are positional grading scales. As opposed to grading traits, these scales apply to stacking the final grades for each prospect. The final safety scale is as follows:
|9.0 – 7.0||High-end 3 down starter. Pro Bowl level.|
|6.9 – 6.7||Strong starter who plays on all 3 downs.|
|6.4||3rd safety. Low-end starter.|
|6.2||Versatile backup with CB/DS flexibility.|
|6.1 – 6.0||Developmental. Top traits but needs time.|
|5.9||2 down starter. Box safety only.|
|5.8||Average backup. 4th DS. Quality special teamer.|
|5.7||Low-end backup DS with growable upside.|
Grant Delpit: DS Rank 1 of 27 | Final Grade: 6.9
Report by Alex O’Brien
Delpit is an athletic, instinctive, rangy safety with the high-end versatility to be a valuable chess piece for an NFL defense.
Delpit is a safety who will also line up at slot corner and around the box in LSU’s defense utilizing various one- and two-high coverages. He has played in 40 career games with 36 starts, making an impact immediately his freshman year. He underwent collarbone surgery in the spring of 2018, and while he hasn’t missed a game to injury, he gets dinged up often. He possesses a very lean, athletic frame with great length for the position. He has very good speed with quick bursts of energy and aggression. He’s a high-motor player with good physicality, but his frame and durability don’t always match his play style.
Against the pass, Delpit displays very good reactive athleticism and quick instincts. He is an enthusiastic pre-snap communicator to get everyone on the same page. When lined up as a single-high safety, he reads the quarterback’s eyes very well and shows excellent sideline-to-sideline range to eat up ground in a hurry. From the slot, he is able to mirror, match and break from off-man, turn and run deep, or play trail from press while staying connected. Delpit’s combination of length, athleticism and short-area quickness allows him to match up with pass catchers of all sizes, but while he likes to get physical, larger targets are unfazed by his rerouting attempts. He works well as an overhang defender in zone from the slot where he can disguise coverages, key into the backfield, and play off of his instincts. He can get in trouble losing receivers in coverage by just reading the QB and not his man from the slot, but this has also led to great anticipation. His ball skills are very impressive, as he displays the ability to track and high-point naturally, while also jumping routes underneath with good timing and athleticism. He’s a very effective slot blitzer with his play speed and pursuit, but he can get knocked around if picked up.
In run defense, Delpit plays with physicality and occasionally too much aggression, as he is prone to overrun plays. He is not a reliable last line of defense, instead preferring to trigger downfield and attempt to get in the mix. His lack of play strength is an issue in the box, despite having the length, motor and tenacity to shed and pursue. He displays modest tackling ability and tends to dive at ankles or go for a big hit instead of wrapping up with sound technique.
Delpit has the interchangeability to play either free or strong safety at the next level and projects as a high-quality four-down player in any scheme. On 3rd downs he can play in a variety of alignments, whether as a deep safety, in coverage or blitzing from the slot, or even as a speed mismatch in the box, especially with added strength. Despite winning the Thorpe Award in 2019, he had a bit of a down year by his standards. However, his three-year career in Baton Rouge certainly projects an impact starter in the NFL.
|Play speed and range||Tackling ability|
|FBI / Instincts||7|
|Ball Skills / Tracking||7|
|Year||Trgt||Comp||Comp%||Yds||Yds/Trgt||Int||Int Drops||TD Alwd||Tkls||TFL||Brk Tkl||BT%|
|All Coverage||Man Coverage||Tackling|
|Year||PBU||Pos%||Deserved Catch %||EPA||EPA/Trgt||Trgt||Yds/Trgt||Pos%||Tackle Share||ATD+|
|Lined Up||Blitz||Total Points|
|Year||Slot%||Box%||Blitz%||Pressure%||Sack%||Pass Cov||Run Def||Total|