5 safeties to partner with Jeremy Chinn in the 2021 NFL Draft
Richard LeCounte III – Georgia
- Projected round – high third round
- Projected role – security safety
Richard LeCounte III was the safety blanket of the Georgia defense during his four seasons with the program. Always back there to limit the big play.
LeCounte consistently showed an impressive instinct to know where the ball was going and move to defend with his good closing speed if he was able. At times even moving toward the receiver before the ball was even thrown.
The prospect also stacked well, allowing his corners to cover while securing the back end to limit the gain if they missed. Regularly taking good angles to put himself in a position to make the necessary play.
With that being said, LeCounte also showed the ability to move up when necessary and either blow up an open receiver or contain a running back with patient pursuit.
LeCounte is the epitome of the word ‘safety’. Keeping the end zone safe and providing that back end support that is so important with the new era of high-flying passing games in the NFL. Teams will get a big play but if you can keep it from being a touchdown you’re in business.
The player would be a perfect mid-round running mate to put behind Jeremy Chinn and if he falls to the third round, the Carolina Panthers shouldn’t look away.
Reed Blankenship – Middle Tennessee
- Projected round – mid-fouth to mid-fifth round
- Projected role – rotational safety with starting potential
Reed Blankenship is a criminally underrated prospect out of Middle Tennessee. With all the skills and instincts of the higher prospects on this board.
Blankenship shows good pre-snap reads and communication, always talking with his team and trying to put them in the best position. He also flashes an impressive ability to sniff out screen plays and absolutely blow them up either through hitting the receiver or taking away their blockers.
With good closing speed and awareness, Blankenship rushes to the ball whenever it’s thrown and affects the pass or the run after it on a consistent basis. Showing an instinct to see where the ball is going.
Blankenship thrives in a deep safety role where He can sit and watch the play develop and use his speed. This is especially apparent on short comeback routes where he will just sit back and wait for the pass before exploding to the ball to limit the gain.
The instincts are there in Blankenship’s game and if he can clear up some overcommitment issues against the run and play-action, he could be an absolute steal in the late rounds as no one is really talking about him.
A player that can sit and watch for a short period if he lands on the Carolina Panthers before taking over from Juston Burris alongside Jeremy Chinn.