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2020 NFL Draft prospect profile: Jeremy Chinn S, Southern Illinois

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Small school player has rare combination of size and speed

Reese’s Senior Bowl Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

If the New York Giants miss out on Isaiah Simmons and choose to select a tackle fourth overall, there are still some prospects with similar positional versatility who will be available later in the 2020 NFL Draft. One of the best options on Day 2 is Jeremy Chinn of Southern Illinois.

The big, long safety prospect was a force at the FCS level over the past few seasons. His hype earned him invites to the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine. Both times he backed up the hype with standout performances.

Now, Chinn seeks to make the jump to the NFL. With a safety class that has so much uncertainty, Chinn could stand out in the 2020 crop. I also had the opportunity to speak with Chinn back in November about his journey to the next level.

Prospect: Jeremy Chinn Safety Southern Illionis
Games watched: vs. North Dakota State (2019), vs. Youngstown State (2019)
Red flags: None

Measurables

Stats

Games played: 38 games played
Tackles: 243
Tackles for a loss: 5.5
Forced fumbles: 6
Interceptions: 13

Quick Summary

Best: Length, Speed, Burst
Worst: Consistent Instincts
Projection: Starting safety with positional and formation versatility

Game Tape

Full Report

The first thing that pops out on tape when watching Chinn is his rare blend of size and burst. Chinn is a huge safety at 6-foot-3 with long arms. You would assume a safety of his size would be heavy, slow, and better off chasing down ball carriers in the box. Chinn, however, has the elite burst and speed of a much smaller player. Combining this uncommon blend of speed and size, Chinn has an athletic profile that will make defensive coordinators beg their GM’s to draft him.

With his speed, Chinn is quick to track down the ball once he makes his read. His ability to process what’s in front of him isn’t as quick as you’d hope from a multi-year starter, but he makes up for it with his acceleration.

That burst is what makes him a talented playmaker when the ball is in the air. Once he reacts, Chinn will transition and close down on the ball on pass plays. He’s quick to wrap up receivers or leap to make a play on the ball. On one play in particular against Youngstown State, Chinn flew to track a pass from 10 yards out and used his long arms to bat the ball out of the air.

As a tackler, Chinn was fairly consistent. He’s strong at wrapping up opponents low to eliminate any further upfield progression. He won’t resort to arm tackling or tackling too high like some defensive backs do. Chinn sometimes will dive too low on an opponent, leading to missed tackles.

One piece of Chinn’s game that isn’t typically discussed with safety prospects is his impact as a blitzer. In two separate games, Chinn blitzed from his full safety depth to fly past centers and wrap up opposing quarterbacks. One of the quarterbacks was Trey Lance, who was voted the best player in the country at the FCS level.

Overall Grade: 6.7 Projected Starter [Grading Scale]

Projection

Chinn is the perfect example of a player with high upside coming from a small school. Teams won’t be willing to draft an FCS prospect in the first round, but Chinn could go quickly early in the second.

What Chinn brings to the table is a physical prowess that makes him big enough to play in the box, but the speed to roam the secondary. While other safety prospects are further along in their ability to react and analyze plays, Chinn’s tools as a prospect make him hard to pass on.

Like I’ve stated with every small school draft prospect I’ve evaluated, coming from a small school stands as Chinn’s biggest negative. His football IQ is not nearly as developed as some of the other prospects in this class. Chinn will need time to learn the game at a much higher level than the FCS before he can reach his potential and back the traits he has.