Of course the headline of this topic doesn’t really mean anything to the Bears since they don’t have a first round draft pick. But what it could mean is that the Bears may have to grab a safety in round two if they want a good one out of this draft. Some of the talk you hear is that there is just not a lot of talent at the safety position in this draft for the second year in a row. No talent whatsoever that is first round worthy. Last year only Kenny Phillips from the Miami Hurricanes went in round one and it was at the end of round one at that.
So for the second consecutive year there is a major void of overall talent in the first round. So where is the talent? Some would say there is good talent to be had in the second and third rounds but then a drop off in talent after that. There is some argument that top corner back prospect Malcom Jenkins may be forced over to free safety due to his lack of pure straight line speed in the 40-yard dash. What helps Jenkins though is his overall athletic ability, which fits in very well with the CB mold.
Beyond that it’s a matter of where you plug in the top safeties available. Louis Delmas from Western Michigan is the top rated safety in the draft by most accounts. Delmas is a four-year starter and a thre-time all conference selection which is impressive by all accounts but some may knock him as being a small conference player. Delmas has been productive all four years of college and when you are named All-Conference it’s important to not that it’s not the fans that participate in this vote, or the media. These selections are made by the head coaches within the MAC, so all the evaluation and respect that these players earn are from the coaches in the league. Men who make a career out of evaluating and coaching football talent.
That’s a fine level of respect for Delmas coming from his conference’s coaches. But to take it up another level Mike Mayock of the NFL Network’s Path to the Draft show said that Delmas is the most aggressive run defending safety he has seen in the draft in the last five years. That may be the biggest compliment that can be paid to a player like coming into the draft. He’s an aggressive tackler, unafraid of coming up and making the hit and perhaps overly so given a tendency to come up in play-action. However that can be coached on and worked on to a nice level of improvement. It’s about reading and making the proper reaction at the right time. Plus trusting that if it is in fact a run, that your front seven will be more likely to stop it without the safety having to get up and make the help.
There are a lot of positives regarding Delmas and not as many negatives as you would think for a safety that may fall out of the first round. It’s hard to call be overly aggressive a negative aspect of a player’s game because you want that in a player. You want to be able to have to perhaps calm a player down a bit rather than have to get him pumped up to make plays or big hits.
There is also talk of what is an ideal size for a free-safety in this league and Louis Delmas doesn’t have the ideal frame. One would argue though that at 6-foot 209-pounds is plenty big enough so long as you’re bring the wood every time you tackle.
Mike Brown wasn’t an ideal size and when healthy played at a Pro Bowl level. Bob Sanders of the Colts is 5-foot-9 206-pounds and is known for his aggressive style of play. He’s is like a human missile is the way he flies up to take on the ball carrier in the run game.
What is important is that Delmas plays the ball well in the air and attacks the line of scrimmage well. He isn’t afraid to make the big hits which is important when considering how WRs can be so easily intimidated to come over the middle by a big hitting safety.
Will Delmas last until the second round? Will he possibly be there at 49 when the Bears select? It’s a possibility if the WR talent pool that is considered first and second round worthy is drained by the time the Bears pick.