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2020 NFL Draft Preview: Looking toward the future at safety

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

The NFL Draft is slated for April 23-25, providing seven rounds for the Broncos and other teams to find their stars of the future. At this point, Denver is slated to have 11 total picks, five of which will fall within the first 95 selections. In other words, John Elway will have plenty of assets to work with throughout the weekend.

What will he do with those picks? That’s anyone’s guess. But in the coming weeks, 1043TheFan.com will provide an overview of the best prospects.

Today, we continue by looking at a position that is currently set for the Broncos – safety. Justin Simmons is a rising star, having been named an All-Pro in 2019. In addition, Kareem Jackson is a upper-echelon player, as he showed in Week 14 when he was all over the field against the Texans and won Defensive Player of the Week honors. That said, Denver is a little thin at the position, with Will Parks having departed via free agency. So some depth would be a good thing. In addition, Simmons is currently a franchise tag player, so his long-term status is up in the air. If the Broncos are looking to strengthen tis position, here are the players to consider for the job:

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Top Five on the Board

1. Xavier McKinney – McKinney is the best safety in this year’s class because of his versatility. He’s good in coverage, both in zone and picking up tight ends, and he’s strong against the run. He’s also good as a blitzer, which is an underrated skill. At Alabama, it was impossible not to notice him, as McKinney was constantly around the football. That’s what jumps off the film and gets scouts excited.

2. Grant Delpit – Delpit won the Jim Thorpe Award in 2019 for a reason; he was the best defensive back in college football. There isn’t anything his game doesn’t possess. He’s fast and physical, smart and aggressive; all of these traits translate well to the NFL. The only knock on his game is his tackling ability, as that wasn’t always flawless during his time at LSU. But given his other skills, that seems like a fixable problem.

3. Antoine Winfield Jr. – While not as athletic as some others in this year’s class, Winfield has a lot of things going for him. For one, his father player in the NFL, so his pedigree is going to get the attention of scouts. In addition, he’s as good in coverage of tight ends as any other safety on the board. That’s a big plus. He can also move into the box and stop the run, which gives defensive coordinators a lot of flexibility.

4. Ashtyn Davis – At Cal, Davis showcased that he’s good in coverage. Dropping down to man-to-man in the slot, he’s as good as anyone in this year’s class. That’s a big positive, given how NFL offenses currently play; a safety who can cover tight ends and slot wideouts is invaluable. Davis drops on draft boards, however, because of his issues against the run. His ability to fill holes and stop backs is a question mark.

5. Terrell Burgess – Two things are working against Burgess. For one, he only saw extended playing time at Utah during the 2019 season, so the tape is limited on him. In addition, he doesn’t possess great length, checking in at only 5-foot-11. That said, he’s really, really good in coverage, both in zone and man-to-man, which teams shouldn’t overlook. His ability to stop the run is a question, but that’s a skill that can be developed.