In this series, we analyze rookie IDP prospects by position group, giving you insight into where players will be selected and the pros and cons of each prospect’s game. Today, we’ll focus on the 2020 rookie defensive backs.
Xavier McKinney (Alabama)
Projected NFL Draft Selection: First Round
Pros: Versatility, change of direction and awareness
Cons: Open field tackling
McKinney has ascended up draft boards this offseason. Initially a borderline first to second, the 2019 third-team All-American is now considered a lock for the first round. Over the last two seasons, McKinney’s production has been elite, creating 169 total tackles, 13 TFLs, six sacks, five interceptions, and two touchdowns. Additionally, the 6 foot, 201 pound Alabama alum has great tape showing a wide variety of skills needed to start in the NFL. I see McKinney coming off the draft board by pick 25.
As with most IDP players, McKinney’s situation will be an important factor for him to produce value. If asked to play a lot of center field coverage, McKinney’s value drops. If asked to attack the line of scrimmage, the star defender would likely become an extremely valuable rookie defensive back, who would most likely be selected in the middle rounds of IDP rookie drafts.
Jeff Okudah (Ohio State)
Projected NFL Draft Selection: Top 10
Pros: Size, speed, and attitude
Cons: Route recognition
A blue-chip prospect, with 4.48 speed and 97th percentile burst score, Okudah checks all the boxes and everything an NFL team wants in a shutdown corner. NFL.com compares him to Patrick Peterson and Playerprofiler.com compares him to Jalen Ramsey, which would put him in elite company. Okudah could really be something special in the NFL, which will begin with a top 10 selection in the 2020 draft.
If Okudah lives up to expectations and becomes a true shutdown corner, his value in IDP unfortunately drops. When a cornerback is considered elite, defensive coordinators tend to avoid targeting them on a weekly basis, thus reducing their opportunities to produce. As a rookie, Okudah should be tested, and therefore will thrive in CB required leagues. I see him selected as a late-round choice in IDP rookie drafts.
Grant Delpit (LSU)
Projected NFL Draft Selection: Top 40
Pros: Size and aggressiveness
Cons: Range and balance
Delpit posted an extraordinary 2019 season for the NCAA champion LSU Tigers. A 2019 first-team All-American, the safety produced 65 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions, and seven passes defended. However, Delpit’s NFL draft stock has slipped in recent weeks. I don’t see the defender sliding lower than pick 40, but he may not be selected in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft.
Delpit has the highest IDP ceiling of the 2020 defensive back class. His ability to play in the box and his aggressive playstyle fits perfectly with the production needs of IDP rosters. I see Delpit selected in the middle rounds of IDP rookie drafts with plenty of upside long term.
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