Which 2020 Draft-Eligible Safeties Would Fit Alongside Eddie Jackson?

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Which 2020 Draft-Eligible Safeties Would Fit Alongside Eddie Jackson?

Chicago Bears

It’s time for the next step of the Chicago Bears’ offseason of talent acquisition: The 2020 NFL Draft. We’re going to look at some of the best prospects at various positions of interest leading up to the draft in search of fits for the Bears’ needs.

Previous: Quarterbacks

Today’s position: Safeties

Need: Medium

Currently on the Roster (2019 Pro Football Focus Grade):

  • Eddie Jackson (66.9)
  • Deon Bush (81.9)
  • DeAndre Houston-Carson (60.8)
  • Jordan Lucas (36.6)
  • Josh SImmons

BN’s Composite Ranking

Ranking prospects is difficult, in part, because no one publication has the same set of fundamentals or preferences. In an attempt to work through that noise, we’re using a composite ranking based on opinions from PFF, ESPN, CBS Sports, and Walter Football and adapting them to a points scale. The best of the top-10 prospects gets 10 points, the 10th ranked prospect gets 1, and prospects outside the top-10 get 0. From there, the prospects are ranked by total points.

Here’s how the safeties stack up (points in parenthesis):

  1. Xavier McKinney, Alabama (39)
  2. Grant Delpit, LSU (37)
  3. Ashtyn Davis, California (27)
  4. Kyle Dugger, Lenoir-Rhyne (26)
  5. Antoine Winfield Jr., Minnesota (24)
  6. Jeremy Chinn, Southern Illinois (19)
  7. Terrell Burgess, Utah (11)
  8. Geno Stone, Iowa (10)
  9. K’von Wallace, Clemson (5)
  10. Julian Blackmon, Utah (5)

Best of the rest: Brandon Jones (Texas), JR Reed (Georgia), Darnay Holmes (UCLA), Antoine Brooks Jr. (Maryland), Jalen Elliott (Notre Dame), Tanner Muse (Clemson), Khaleke Hudson (Michigan)

Team Fit

After watching Ha Ha Clinton-Dix hold down the spot vacated by Adrian Amos last season, the Bears should be angling for a long-term option to play alongside Eddie Jackson. And if said player is a draft pick on a rookie-scale contract, so be it. With Jackson being the league’s highest-paid safety (by at least one measure), it would be wise to pair the two-time Pro Bowler with a more cost-effective partner.

Ideally, Jackson’s running-mate in 2020 (and beyond) is someone who would allow Jackson roam as a free-ranging safety. This doesn’t necessarily mean the Bears specifically need an in-the-box safety for the job. Because the NFL is so passer friendly these days, both safeties need to excel in coverage. Meaning that the other half of the safety tandem needs to be versatile enough to handle business in the box, as well as duties in split safety coverage assignments.

Most Likely to be Available When the Bears Are on the Clock:

Xavier McKinney (Alabama) figures to be off the board by the time the Bears are on the clock with the 43rd pick, but this class has some depth. Grant Delpit (LSU), Kyle Dugger (Lenoir-Rhyne), Antoine Winfield Jr. (Minnesota), and Jeremy Chinn (Southern Illinois) are among the group of safeties projected to go in the second round of various mock drafts.

Should Chicago choose to pass on taking a safety with either of its first two selections, prospects such as Geno Stone (Iowa), Julian Blackmon (Utah), Antoine Brooks Jr. (Maryland), Jalen Elliott (Notre Dame), and Khaleke Hudson (Michigan) could be quality late-round finds depending on how the rest of the draft shakes out.

The Bears Have Reportedly Met With…

  • Antoine Brooks Jr., Maryland (Senior Bowl)
  • Jeremy Chinn, Southern Illinois (Scouting Combine, Video chat)
  • Rodney Clemons, SMU (East-West Shrine Game)
  • Jeremiah Dinson, Auburn (East-West Shrine Game)
  • Geno Stone, Iowa (Scouting Combine)
  • Antonie Winfield Jr., Minnesota (Video chat)

If I Had to Pick One:

Contrary to popular belief, the Jeremy Chinn hype train doesn’t begin with yours truly. Indeed, despite Chinn playing for my alma mater, Senior Bowl Executive Director Jim Nagy (no relation to Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy, by the way) has long been the conductor.

Nagy brings in the best senior talent in college football for the premier prospect showcase game every year, and has been tweeting about Chinn since last summer. When someone with an eye for talent such as Nagy continuously drives home how much he likes a player, it makes sense to put that player on your radar. Chinn’s stock steadily rose throughout the season, then hit highs at the Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. So much so, some mock drafts have pegged him to go in the late first round.

So if Chinn lasts and gets his name called by the Bears, I won’t complain. NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein dropped Harrison Smith as a player comp for Chinn. That has me dreaming of teaming one perennial Pro Bowl safety (Jackson) with a player one respected draft insider compared to another (Smith). So where do I sign up?

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.