Free agency brought plenty of activity last week, and the safety position was one of the more active. Justin Simmons and Anthony Harris earned the franchise tag, while players like Malcolm Jenkins, Eric Murray, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Tre Boston and others secured deals.
While free agency is often seen as the solution for all of a team’s needs, the draft is really where you find value in the offseason. And when it comes to safety, there are a decent number of prospects at the position, starting with LSU superstar Grant Delpit.
[Editor's Note: PFF's new college-to-pro projection system is powered by AWS machine learning capabilities.]
After a sophomore season in which he earned an 84.4 overall grade in 847 snaps, Delpit regressed a bit his junior year to 68.7, missing 20 tackles and allowing 14 of 22 passes into his coverage to be completed. Injuries were a big reason for this decline, as an undisclosed preseason injury lingered throughout the season.
Using our college-to-pro system, we will look at Delpit’s projected performance during his rookie contract. This projection uses his play-by-play data from college, adjusts it for play- and opponent-level context and weighs more-recent data more than past data.
How Delpit Projects as a Coverage Player
Coverage is the most important thing a safety does, and Delpit projects well there. Only Geno Stone of Iowa projects to have a bigger “playmaker rate” — rate of passes broken up and interceptions per primary coverage snap — than Delpit does in the context-free environment:
Grant Delpit’s projected completion percentage allowed and playmaker rate during the first five years of his NFL career in the context-free environment.