1) Xavier McKinney, Alabama; Ht: 6-1 Wt: 200
I’ll just get this out of the way right now: I have a slight impartiality to Alabama secondary players. They just always seem to be great and McKinney doesn’t seem to be any different. He sees the field well, he picks off passes, he sacks the quarterback, and he soaks up tackles left and right. He deserves to be the first safety off the board and likely will be.
2) Grant Delpit, LSU; Ht: 6-3 Wt: 203
Speaking of first safety off the board, if Grant Delpit were healthy all season he would have a damn good case of being that name. Delpit didn’t miss any time but was hampered for most of the season and wasn’t able to put out his normal stellar numbers. Just for reference, Delpit put up five interceptions, five sacks, nine pass break ups, a forced fumble, a recovered fumble, and74 tackles his sophomore year, all stellar numbers. He’ll be a hot commodity and instant starter for most teams.
3) Ashtyn Davis, California; Ht: 6-1 Wt: 200
Davis went a bit under the radar for the season considering Cal was a bit of a meddling team, so stars from big schools and standouts at smaller colleges (we’ll get to them in a minute) both got more coverage for the most part. However, Davis played great football the past three seasons and was an absolute staple at the back of the formation. He’s proved he can force turnovers so he should be pricked up pretty early.
4) Kyle Dugger, Lenoir-Rhyne; Ht: 6-1 Wt: 217
I have to say that I’m a sucker for guys from smaller schools and that’s exactly what Duggar is. He’s a ballhawk rover with incredible size and fantastic lower body strength. He’ll soak up tackles and can play a variety of different assignments. His versatility also carries over to special teams where he returns punts and kicks very well.
5) Jeremy Chinn, Southern Illinois; Ht: 6-3 Wt: 221
Chinn is another small school guy who put out great numbers at the combine. He has awesome size and blazing speed that should allow him a bit more leeway when going into coverage. The All-American was a force to be reckoned with and only got better as the season went on, earning double digit tackles in his last two games. He can pick off passes and cover deep routes so don’t be surprised to see him taken early.
6) Antoine Winfield Jr., Minnesota; Ht: 5-10 Wt: 205
Winfield is a bit of a sleeper. He had a good season at Minnesota but was overshadowed by the offense. He really stepped up his production his senior year, though, sacking the quarterback and intercepting a whopping seven passes. He was a large part of the reason the offense was so good, giving them so many opportunities. He’s a good tackler and has the ability to flip the field on his own so he may just shoot up even high come draft time.
7) K’Von Wallace, Clemson; Ht: 5-11 Wt: 205
Wallace has the luxury of playing next to stars at Clemson like Isaiah Simmons, but that didn’t stop him from producing well. He wasn’t a great turnover creator, but he did a great job at shutting down deep routes, breaking up 10 passes over the course of the season and affecting many more. He’s slightly undersized but it won’t be much of a hindrance.
8) Brandon Jones, Texas; Ht: 6-0 Wt: 205
Brandon Jones didn’t get to play on any of the great Texas teams, but he did a very good job at the top of the field for the Longhorns. He didn’t pick off or break up many passes, but he always influenced them and always affected the pay. He constantly made tackles all over the field and didn’t need much support to do his job well. He may not be a high pick but he won’t need much help once he gets to the pros.
9) Antoine Brooks, Maryland; Ht: 5-11 Wt: 215
Brooks is another smaller player in stature, but he’s a bit more built which makes up for his shorter height. He doesn’t stand out at a pass disruptor, but like Jones, he’s all over the place. He excelled at making tackles and was particularly effective behind the line of scrimmage, getting runners down for a loss 18 times in his last two seasons at Maryland.
10) Julian Blackmon, Utah; Ht: 6-1 Wt: 204
Blackmon, a lot like Brooks, didn’t stand out much in a physical aspect at the draft. He has good size and decent build, but he won’t be blowing anyone away as an athlete. He is, however, a very good reader of the game and of passes in general. He picked off four passes this past season and brought home two of his career nine for touchdowns. He’ll be value wherever he goes.