Grant Delpit was named the best defensive back in the country last year with national champion LSU, but he lasted until the 44th overall pick of this year’s draft, where Cleveland was thrilled to get him. Here are Delpit’s odds at Mybookie to win 2020 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year as well as the Browns’ over/under win total.
Partly due to his family being displaced from New Orleans due to Hurricane Katrina, Delpit attended three different high schools: One in Louisiana, one in Texas and one in Florida but he never wavered on attending LSU.
Delpit did not redshirt at LSU as a freshman in 2017 and in fact played in every game and finished fourth on the team with 60 tackles – including at least one in every game. He had 3.5 tackles for loss, an interception and nine passes defended.
As a sophomore, he was of three consensus All-Americas on the defensive side of the ball for LSU in 2018 joining linebacker Devin White and cornerback Greedy Williams. Delpit was a finalist for the Nagurski Award and first-team All-SEC. He led the SEC in interceptions (5) and finished No. 2 in the league in passes defended (14). Delpit added 74 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 5.0 sacks, 9 pass breakups, 4 QB hurries and 1 forced fumble and 1 fumble recovery. He had double-digit tackles in three games (10 vs. Auburn, 10 vs. Florida and 10 vs. Mississippi State) and was named SEC Defensive Player of the Week in a win over Mississippi State as he had 10 tackles, one sack for an 8-yard loss and two interceptions.
Then last year, Delpit cemented himself as one of the top defensive backs in LSU history as he won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s best defensive back. In doing so, he became third player in LSU history to win the Thorpe Award, joining first round NFL Draft picks in Patrick Peterson (2010) and Morris Claiborne (2011).
Delpit also became the first LSU player named first team Walter Camp All-America in consecutive seasons since running back Charles Alexander in 1977-78. Despite playing through an ankle injury much of the season and missing one game, Delpit recorded 65 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions and two sacks along with a fumble recovery and eight passes defended. In the national championship game win over Clemson, he concluded his NCAA career with six tackles and a sack for a 10-yard loss.
Delpit also wore No. 7 as a junior after wearing No. 9 in his first two seasons. The No. 7 in LSU football has been passed down to some of the recent greats in the program beginning with Patrick Peterson, and followed by Tyrann Mathieu, Leonard Fournette, and DJ Chark.
No surprise after such a big season that Delpit opted to turn pro and not return to LSU for his senior campaign. He split his snaps between free safety (385), slot corner (316), and box safety (149) in his LSU career. He was a downhill attacker against the run and instinctual as a coverage safety when healthy.
Cleveland grabbed him at No. 44 overall in the draft. Delpit is known for his length and physical demeanor in the middle of the field who sometimes takes bad angles in run support and misses a lot of open field tackles. He has been compared to Kenny Vaccaro.
Delpit became the second Thorpe Award winner to be drafted by the Browns in their history. The other was Antonio Langham, the Browns’ No. 9 overall selection in 1994. While Langham played just two seasons in Cleveland, Delpit expects to be a much more impactful for the Browns during his career.
Delpit won’t be asked to immediately take a starting role with the Browns, and will likely begin the season in a rotation that maximizes his versatility and raw talents. Cleveland has veterans in Karl Joseph and Andrew Sendejo to carry the bulk of work at safety. However, Delpit could force his way on the field because he’s so good in coverage.
“He has the ability to play down in the box and he has the ability to play in the post. We can play him in the dime. He can match up in the slot and man coverage,” said Browns defensive coordinator Joe Woods. “He is the ideal type of athlete that I look forward to getting in the secondary. The size and the speed, to me, he possesses it all.”