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Most Important Questions

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Most Important Questions: No. 8 - Where will Grant Delpit fit on Browns' defense?

Training camp can't get here soon enough. By then, we'll have plenty of answers to all of the loose ends surrounding the 2020 Browns.

For now, we simply have some questions.

Over the next few weeks, we'll be discussing those queries and analyzing the variables that accompany them. We've narrowed our list to 10, but there are certainly many more that will need to be answered by the time Cleveland opens the season against the Ravens in Baltimore.

We're continuing today with a look at one of the Browns' most promising rookies and how he may fit on the defense.

The question: Where will Grant Delpit fit on the Browns' defense?

There was a lot to like about Grant Delpit entering the 2020 NFL Draft. For the Browns, one of the most intriguing facets of the LSU star's game was his ability to do a lot of different things on the field.

And even though he's making the big leap from college to the NFL, Delpit likely won't be pigeonholed to one specific spot on the field. His biggest asset is … all of the assets he provides for a defensive play-caller.

"One of the things is we really feel like he can fit in any safety role because of his versatility," Browns EVP of Football Operations and GM Andrew Berry said shortly after Delpit was picked in the second round. "I think it would be unfair to task him as just a free, just a strong or just what we would call a big nickel. The appeal is that he really does have the modern-day safety skill set from a coverage standpoint because of that versatility. That is something that we are really excited to have."

Browns defensive coordinator Joe Woods took that praise one step further, calling Delpit the "ideal athlete" in the secondary for the type of scheme he wants to run.

"Grant is a very talented player," Woods said. "When you look at his tape, he has the ability to play down in the box and he has the ability to play in the post. We can play him in the dime. He can match up in the slot and man coverage. 

"The size and the speed, to me, he possesses it all."

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

The Browns entered the 2020 offseason with big holes to fill at safety. Only two players from last year's roster were set to return — Sheldrick Redwine and J.T. Hassell — and both were coming off their respective rookie seasons. Cleveland promptly added two veterans to the group with the signings of Karl Joseph and Andrew Sendejo at the start of the league year. Both have been regular starters for years and figure to be in the mix to do the same with the Browns in 2020.

All three could wind up on the field at the same time, depending on the situation and depending on how the installation of the Browns' new defense progresses at training camp.

"I would like to transition into a dime system, but it is going to be something that is going to take time to get into, just because of getting their reps," Woods said. "Eventually, I would like to have a nickel package, where we have two linebackers on the field, but also, just to create better matchups and be a little bit more diverse in our scheme, I would like to get to a dime package, where we are putting an extra safety on the field."

The knock on Delpit coming out of LSU, where he earned All-American honors as a sophomore and took home the Jim Thorpe Award as a junior, was his tackling. One of the main reasons many attributed to this issue was the nagging ankle injury Delpit played throughout the Tigers' championship season. 

Delpit, who many believed to be a first-round talent, likely fell to the second round because of it. The Browns pounced on the opportunity to snag him with the No. 44 pick and believe the shortcomings from his college tape can be addressed on the practice fields leading into his rookie season.

How quickly he adapts will go a long way toward how many tasks will come his way in 2020.

"The one thing is I know he can tackle," Woods said. "We just need him to be more consistent. That is something we will work on. He is eager and he is ready to go."

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