2020 NFL Draft Scouting Report


Grant Delpit

July 16, 2019 1:00 AM EST


Grant Delpit Scouting Report picture

School: LSU

Height: 6'3"

Weight: 203

Eligibility: JR

Uniform: #7

Position: Safety


Evaluated by: Austin Smith
smith.austinj14@gmail.com
July 16, 2019

Prospect Overview

I'm a big believer in trusting film more than stats. However, it's funny how the most coveted players in the draft process often have the two line up. In Delpit's case, his stat line screams versatility, and his film matches up to it. As a freshman, Delpit recorded at least one tackle in every game, while collecting 60 altogether. He also got his hands on nine passes, as well as intercepting one. That led to high expectations heading into the 2018 season, and Delpit delivered on a grand scale. He totaled 74 tackles, including 9.5 behind the line of scrimmage. Delpit also intercepted five passes, while deflecting nine more. Perhaps the most impressive number was the five sacks he totaled as well. Everything about that line is a testament to his ability to make plays anywhere on the field, and his film echoes that. He’s lined up as a single-high safety as well as one of two playing deep halves. Delpit has also lined up in the slot, in the box as an eighth player, and even on the edge as a pass rusher. He plays man and zone coverage, and Delpit is a tough player to corral when he is sent on a blitz.


Grant Delpit Scouting Report image 1

That versatility also led him to be named a Unanimous All-American in 2018, as well as a Bronko Nagurski Award Finalist for the Nation's Top Defender. That season also led him to a number switch coming into his junior campaign. After wearing the number nine his first two seasons, Delpit will dawn the coveted number seven, which is traditionally worn by some of LSU's all-time greats. With that being said, he still has another year to develop, and while Devin White and Greedy Williams have moved on to the NFL, Delpit becomes the leader of that unit. He is already being mentioned as a potential candidate to go as high as the top 10. Another season as one of the top defenders in college football should help his case, but what Delpit needs is for the tape to match the stat line for a second-straight year. Offenses are going to focus on accounting for him on every play, and if he not only has success but also finds ways to expand his game in order to do so, it will make him one of the top prospects eligible to enter the 2020 class.

Positives

As I've made clear, he is the epitome of a do-it-all safety. In coverage, he shows feet that make me think he could play corner if asked to do so. Delpit's footwork is quick and precise, helping him change direction promptly. That is especially true on shorter routes. He gets into his back-pedal quickly then sinks his hips, and accelerates hard downhill. Delpit also wastes no time identifying his target in zone coverage. He scans his area and breaks on what he sees. Delpit's ability to accelerate also makes him dangerous when he gets his eyes on the quarterback. He flows with the quarterback's eyes and jumps the route. The reflexes he showed to (nearly) pick off a pass against Georgia was very impressive. The acceleration also shows up on his blitzes. Delpit has a fearless approach when he comes on the blitz, and if he wasn't accounted for pre-snap, his ability to get there in a hurry puts the protection in a bind. Delpit also has a keen understanding of when to get low and turn the corner, as well as when to lower his shoulder and try to go through the blocker.

Grant Delpit Scouting Report image 2

I am also impressed with his ability to transition in coverage. Dave Aranda likes to send his defensive backs, and while Delpit is the best at getting home, he is also one of the best at replacing the blitzing player. When covering a receiver, who you weren't initially lined up across from, positioning and balance are essential. Delpit has a knack for this, and he also understands the concept of hot routes. While he could do a better job of wrapping up on a consistent basis, Delpit does have a very good approach to tackling. When he is lined up deep, he takes appropriate angles, breaks down and Delpit knows when to use the sideline as his friend. He doesn’t exactly throw his weight around like some of the most physical safeties, but he's not afraid to lower his shoulder and gets the job done. I also like his instincts closer to the line of scrimmage. Delpit makes quick reads and isn't afraid to shoot a gap to make a play behind the line of scrimmage. Finally, I sometimes questioned his intensity on tape, but when the ball is in his vicinity, and he knows he has a chance to make a play, he turns it up a notch. There were a number of times on tape when Delpit initially missed on a tackle, but with the ball carrier or quarterback still within range, his tenacity helped him get back involved and make the play.

Areas for Improvement

While the list of attributes I like about Delpit is long, there are still plenty of areas for him to either improve or gain consistency. For starters, he doesn't press all that often, and when I've seen him try, it hasn't gone well. With his size, this should be more of a strength, and if he indeed is going to play in the slot at the next level, I want to see him use that length to his advantage off the line of scrimmage. Delpit also has to use his length better when playing the run. He can get stuck on blocks when he is lined up closer to the line of scrimmage, and that shouldn't be the case. When taking on blocks, he needs to do so with balance to get those arms extended. If Delpit can do that, his ability to locate the ball and accelerate will make it tough to run in his direction at all.


Grant Delpit Scouting Report image 3

Finishing plays is also a bit of an issue. As I said, Delpit has to do a better job of wrapping up. Even when he catches a player off-balance or unaware, Delpit focuses more on the impact of the hit than ensuring that he gets the player to the ground. His ball skills also fit into this category. I don't think he particularly tracks the deep ball well, and this might be the one area his angles aren't accurate. I've seen him catch the ball, but I've also seen him drop it due to poor focus. For a player with his ability to affect the game in so many ways, turnover opportunities are bound to find their way to Delpit. He's got to take advantage of them. I've talked about his intensity level fluctuating. It's not always a bad thing, especially when Delpit is the last line of defense. You must take a somewhat cautious manner to ensure that you get ahold of the opponent. Still, there are examples where Delpit plays content with his teammates in front of him making the play. The best safeties play like a heat-seeking missile until the whistle blows. You never know when that extra contact jars the ball loose or when a player is going to break a tackle. I want to see Delpit's intensity when he starts deep, match the intensity he plays with in the box more frequently.

Draft Stock

The hype around Delpit's stock revolves around his versatility as a player, along with the changing landscape of the professional offenses. Passing attacks in the NFL are built on exploiting favorable matchups or personnel. Teams employ running backs that can be just as much of a threat split out at as a receiver as they are on the ground. Tight ends can split out, or motion into the backfield as a lead blocker. Slot receivers require a much different approach than a big-bodied receiver or someone with exceptional deep speed. That is why versatility can be so important. What used to be a quarterback's freedom to change the play at the line of scrimmage is basically a requirement in today's offense, meaning a safety like Delpit must be just as capable of covering a player like Julian Edelman as he is a guy like Rob Gronkowski. He must be able to motion out with James White as a receiver, as well as stay in as an extra presence in the box when White is a runner. Delpit checks a lot of those boxes, and because of that, he will likely be a hot commodity next April if he continues to progress.

Player Comparison

I have to say, Delpit isn't an easy player to draw comparisons to, but for those throwing out names like Tyrann Mathieu and Jamal Adams, I'm going to have to disagree. Adams had an enforcer mentality, and his intensity was ramped up from the second he stepped between the lines until the final second ticked away. While Delpit is a passionate player and isn't afraid of contact, the only real comparison between the two is the college in which they played. Mathieu had the kind of versatility that Delpit possesses but their size, and how they used it to sustain success, couldn't be more different. I will say his versatile, do-it-all skillset does remind me of Minkah Fitzpatrick coming out of Alabama. Fitzpatrick played the "star" position for a good portion of his career, and that position is predicated on versatility. Based on offensive sets, the "star" can take on the role of a nickel corner, a box safety or even a linebacker. They are also a threat to come after the quarterback. I wouldn't go so far as to say LSU has a similar position, but they put Delpit in a similar role quite often, and that is where his best tape comes through. Also, like Fitzpatrick, he is a bit on the slender side to be a "box" safety in the NFL, which is where those skills fit best.

Games Evaluated

vs. Miami (9-2-18)
vs. Auburn (9-15-18)
vs. Florida (10-6-18)
vs. Georgia (10-13-18)
vs. Mississippi State (10-20-18)
vs. Alabama (11-3-18)
vs. Arkansas (11-10-18)
vs Texas A&M (11-24-18)

Notes from Film

  • Tall, lengthy safety with a slightly slender build.
  • There are snaps when he brings the intensity but needs to be more consistent in this area. I'd like to see a player that is more desperate to be involved in plays when he is lined up as a deep safety.
  • When he does make up his mind to come downhill, he sure can accelerate and closes in fast.
  • Does show some quick, precise footwork when asked to play in man coverage. Does a good job of keeping his depth, then driving hard to the receiver when he makes his break. Can help as a nickel corner.
  • I'd like to see him use his hands better taking on blocks. Whether it's on the perimeter in the screen game or when he is lined in the box. At his size, he has the length to effectively take on blocks, extend his arms, locate the ball, disengage and pursue. He does every one of those steps well with the exception of the first two, and while most safeties don't either, he has the tools to do so.
  • I wouldn't say he is passionate about contact the way some of the more physical safeties are, but he does not shy away from it. He is not hesitant to lower his shoulder on anyone on the field.
  • Can't get caught up trying to blow someone up and forget to wrap up. He does that on occasion, and he has missed some easy tackles because of it.
  • Let an easy interception slip right through his hands against Miami. When a ball goes right through the hands that way, it means there was a disconnect with the eyes and the hands. I've seen defensive backs that just don't have good hands, but this is a focus issue.
  • In his early tape, I'm seeing him as a much better player near the line of scrimmage than deep. Great on the blitz as he really closes fast. Identifies run or escape lanes and fills quickly. On the other hand, doesn't necessarily track the deep ball well.
  • I like his patience in the open field. He gets in good position, breaks down and does a more consistent job of wrapping up. It's never fun not being the aggressor in these situations, but it's much more efficient. That is what the last line of defense should be.
  • Early in the year, he just didn't seem to be as involved as I thought he would be considering he had a pair of 10
  • tackle performances by Week 6. The most consistent area I saw him have success was as on the blitz. That's a great tool to have, but it should be a complimentary tool for a defensive back. I hope his involvement ramps up as his second year goes along. Four tapes in, it's just been sporadic.
  • On that note, he was very active against Georgia but had problems finishing. He missed five tackles on my count. Also struggled to get off some blocks from tight ends. Granted, Elijah Holyfield and D'Andre Swift aren't easy players to bring down, and Georgia has recruited tight ends as well as anyone over the last four years, but hopefully, the next step for him is becoming a better finisher. However, I was impressed at him taking on Holyfield on the sideline.
  • Haven't seen him try to press many times, but it didn't work out well when he tried against Irv Smith Jr. If he is going to be a legit option in the slot, he will need to be comfortable playing physical in the first five yards.
  • His best tape is clearly when he is lined up closer to the line of scrimmage, but he may need to add some bulk to his frame to hold up there. He's been very consistent in coverage, so hopes are that a little added muscle won't cut down on his athleticism.
  • It's funny to see the difference in his play when he is blitzing compared to the rest of the time. When they send him, he looks like one of the most aggressive players on the field. However, the rest of the time, he is usually quite calculating, and it can sometimes get him into trouble. Against Jace Sternberger on the goal line, he played about five yards off of him. Sternberger started on a drag and Delpit took a cautious approach before taking off after him. He couldn't catch up in time, and the result was a touchdown. There are times when he is lined up deep when the calculated approach is best, considering he is the last line of defense, but there are occasions where he needs to trust his instincts and play aggressive.

    Scouting Video Courtesy of Sick EditzHD




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