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Browns Breakdowns: What Grant Delpit brings to the defensive backfield

In seven weeks, the new assemblage of Browns players and coaches are expected to return to Berea for their first team reps and on-field practices of 2020.

We've all been waiting for the start of training camp, which will also be the first time rookies hit the field and jostle for top spots on the depth chart. Some rookies will fight for a starting role in Week 1, while others could be stashed in backup roles and carry starting prospects for the future. We'll just be happy that football is back in Cleveland.

Over the next few weeks, we're breaking down each rookie from the Browns 2020 draft class — with the help of The Athletic's Dane Brugler — and diving into how they might fit into next season's plans.

Next up: Grant Delpit

The Bio

Name: Grant Delpit

Age: 21

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 213

College: LSU

Hometown: New Orleans, Louisiana

Draft selection: 2nd round (44th overall)

The Browns have selected Grant Delpit in the 2020 NFL Draft.

How does he play?: Delpit's instincts, closing speed and ball skills made him one of the top safeties available in the draft, but tackling issues and inconsistency in angle reads pushed him out of the first round. It's worth mentioning, however, that Delpit played through a painful high ankle sprain in the final half of 2019. His leadership, versatility and overall abilities with LSU, the reigning College Football Playoff champions, made him one of the most attractive defensive players in the draft.

Brugler's breakdown: As his second-round selection might suggest, Delpit has room for improvement if he wants to make an immediate impact on Cleveland's defense.

Brugler says Delpit needs to show more consistency in pursuit angles when attempting tackles. A safety is often the last line of defense, and open-field mistakes can often be the difference between an opponent gaining a short-yardage pickup or six points.

But the fix can be done, and Brugler believes a few technique changes could be the difference for how fast Delpit develops into a full-time starter.

"It really just comes down to fundamentals, and those are fixable," Brugler said. "It doesn't mean it's going to be easy, and there might be bumps in the road, but it's something he'll gradually get better at."

Where Delpit shined, however, was in pass protection. He was essentially a lock-down cornerback from the slot position and showcased an ability to read passing plays as if he knew the offensive playbook.

Brugler expects those abilities to make an immediate impact with the Browns defense.

"He has a lot of positive plays on his resume," Brugler said. "You can line him up man-to-man in the slot, you can line him up as a single-high player and he can play different coverages. There's no question about that talent, so if the Browns can get that consistency out of him, it's going to be an absolute steal."

How will he fit?: Delpit won't be asked to immediately take a starting role with the Browns, and he'll 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, but the Browns believe Delpit will develop into a key backfield player who will pair well with Greedy Williams, his former LSU teammate, and Denzel Ward. That secondary trio is one of the youngest but most promising defensive back groups in the NFL.