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2020 NFL Draft Prospect Safety Jeremy Chinn

A quality kid and a solid tackler

Southern Illinois v Mississippi Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Many times a great player needs to be in the right system to flourish. Tthe right system may turn somebody from a good player into a legendary player. When Ray Lewis was drafted in 1996 he came to Baltimore as a run and hit monster linebacker. Yet his potential wasn’t being fully realized because of the defense he was playing in.

Baltimore was in a basic 3-4 alignment with four linebackers. This worked all right, but it limited what their new star could do as an inside linebacker. Ozzie Newsome, who is in his own right was legendary as a player, saw the problem. He noticed that his new linebacker was very instinctive at run fits with speed to chasing down plays from sideline to sideline. What he wasn’t good at was getting off blocks.

So Newsome and defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis decided to change the defense from a 3-4 to a 4-3. He made sure to have two monster defensive tackles in front of Lewis. They were put there to stop the inside runs and take up blockers.

When Baltimore won the Super Bowl in 2000 the two defensive tackles were Tony Siragusa (6’ 3” 330 lbs) and Sam Adams (6’ 3” 350 lbs). Those tackles seem fairly big today,but back in 2000 they were far bigger than any other tandem in football. They were space eaters who would soak up blocks leaving Ray Lewis to roam free. The centers had to help the guards from being overwhelmed inside by the two behemoths.

In 2000 Ray Lewis was the Defensive Player of the Year, a feat he repeated in 2003. The 13 time Pro Bowler and 7 time All Pro is now in enshrined in Canton. Now he may have gotten there anyway. but Ozzie Newsome made sure to put his star player in the best possible situation to get the best out of him. It’s what great GMs do.

The player I bring to you today is not a Ray Lewis type player. S guy like that only comes around every decade or so. The player I bring to you is the antithesis of that type of player. He is a small school kid, a high character smart kid, and a safety who played at Southern Illinois, Jeremy Chinn. He is big for the safety position (6’ 3” 219 lbs with 32” arms) with good speed and all around solid play.

I know what you are thinking. Why do we need another safety for the Jets? As of now Marcus Maye hasn’t shown the ability to be a single high safety. He is a better player when not counted on to be the back end protector. Still, Maye is more effective when moving forward than turning and going backward. Maye will be a free agent in 2021 so if he is not part of Joe Douglas’ plan in the future the time to find a replacement is now. Maye could still be used in a variety of ways this coming season or be traded to increase Draft capital.

Jeremy Chinn could be the right player for the Jets’ system. He could be the key to allowing Jamal Adams to reach his true potential. Just as the defensive tackle duo helped Ray Lewis, Chinn could allow Jamal Adams to have full autonomy.

Every offense has blocking schemes they work on for various defenses. If Adams could be a true wild card (a player who could line up anywhere without restriction) he could find and attack the weaknesses in the other team’s blocking.

First we have to see whether the skill set of Jeremy Chinn would be good enough for any of this to happen before we anoint him as a starter.

Let’s go to the tape...

The Salukis usually play in a two deep safety look. On this play the middle linebacker gets sucked in on a play fake which leaves the middle of the field wide open because no one is in the passing lane.

That is A. J. Brown that Chinn tackles, Brown ran 4.49 at the combine and was a difference-maker in Tennessee this year as a rookie. Brown has a head of steam. He catches the ball in stride and he is off to the races. Chinn makes a nice TD-saving tackle on the play. One thing you will notice about Chinn is that he is a wrap tackler.

On this play Chinn is playing in off coverage on the slot man. He is 12 yards away from the receiver so the QB simply throws the ball to the slot man as quickly as he can to get him out in space. The throw is perfect. It leads the him upfield slightly and to the outside.

Chinn reads the play. He waits for the ball to be in the air before he commits to breaking on the play. He then speeds towards the receiver once he sees the pass. Chinn closes the distance quickly, breaks down into good tackling form, and makes a sure wrap tackle. Although the play looked wide open, Chinn is able to hold his man to a three yard gain.

From the second view you can see how Chinn fights through the stiff arm attempt then wraps up the body with a forcible tackle. Many players would just throw a shoulder into the receiver or look to push him out of bounds. This is a sure tackle.

This next play is using the same off coverage as the play before. This time Chinn is 13 yards from his man at the snap. The receiver has a myriad of routes he can run with Chinn in off man coverage.

This is a roll out pass to the ‘right. The receiver who he is covering runs a lazy, poor route in a zigzag pattern to the sideline with Chinn now tucked in his hip pocket. The throw is a little high and not close enough to the sideline. This might have been a good thing because the pass is hard to catch, and Chinn is right there.

Here is a better view from the endzone.

You can see from this angle that Chinn is gaining on the receiver. If the ball had been lower and on target Chinn would have had the opportunity to step in front for the interception.

Chinn played four years with the Salukis. He became a starter as a freshman halfway through his first year. Chinn had at least 3 interceptions every year he played even though he missed a few games each year with assorted minor injuries. Chinn was a ball hawk in the secondary. He ended his career with 13 interceptions in 38 games.

Here he is again on the left side in a two deep safety defense. The one thing teams will do when you play this defense is run the ball because there are only seven men in the box. The problem with this play is the defensive end gets caught inside, leaving the edge wide open.

Chinn gets a nice break on the play. He comes in, adjusts his cut off angle, and makes a sure wrap tackle on the legs. He will often use this tackle and roll technique to bring down ball carriers when he is on the run. He uses his momentum from the chase then spins his body at the same time he grabs the legs. As long as he is able to hold on it is a sure tackling approach that always gets the man on the ground. This play was well-blocked, and the runner could have turned the corner for a first down without Chinn.

Here the Salukis are back in their base defense with Chinn on the left side of the two deep look. The play is a fake jet sweep to the left with a throw back to the running back in the flat on the opposite side of the field. The motion is meant to get the defense moving in the wrong direction and allow an elusive runner to get in open space.

Chinn sees the play the entire way. He quickly sizes up the receiver then takes him down with a strong leg tackle. He didn’t go for the big hit. He just took his legs out from under the receiver which stopped him cold right at that spot allowing no extra yardage. Chinn has prided himself on being a sure tackler. He had 243 career total tackles of which 181 were of the solo variety. These are great totals for a safety who played in deep coverage most of the time.

When he wants to or the situation dictates, Chinn can lay the lumber to a ball carrier. On this sweep attempt by North Dakota State Jeremy comes in hard and fast to rock the ball carrier. In many of these clips Chinn seems to be moving at a different speed than other players. This play is no exception.

Chinn has always loved to play football. When he was six he cried because they wouldn’t let kids his age play tackle football. and he didn’t want to play flag football.

He was a star player in high school, but a hamstring injury his junior year put him off the radar of college recruiters. Later he got a scholarship offer to North Dakota State, but it was well after his offer from Southern Illinois so he decided to stay with the Salukis.

The scholarship made his mom very happy. “Jeremy is disciplined on and off the field, and he plays football not because I forced him or anybody did — he just loves it, to hear he got a scholarship to do something he enjoyed doing I was just so happy. It wasn’t a relief that I didn’t have to pay tuition, it was just joy,” she said.

This next play is just a really good read by Chinn as he is in off coverage again on the slot receiver. The play is in front of him as the backside tight end comes to the opposite side of the play fake.

Chinn is a film room junkie. He looks for tendencies or tells from receivers and quarterbacks. He also studies formations and the plays run from them. This could be a situation where his film work paid off. Either way I love the tackle on the big tight end. This play only gained one yard.

This next play is what you look for in a deep safety whether as a two deep or a single high. You want the ability to read the play then make something happen. Jeremy in addition to his 13 interceptions also had 31 career passes defensed, which is a lot for any safety. He also forced 6 fumbles in his career.

Jeremy didn’t even know where he was going to play when he came to Southern Illinois. “When I came to college I was pretty open to where I was going to play. “I expected to play corner. And when I got here they moved me to safety the first week. Any way I could get on the field I was open to it” he said. Chinn even played on special teams when the team needed it. He blocked a field goal when he was a junior. His length helped.

Chinn didn’t blitz a lot in his four years, only a few times a season. Here he is on a sack/forced fumble/recovered fumble, the trifecta. He comes out of nowhere like lightning.

Jeremy is a smart kid. He was an All-MVFC player on the field but also a three-time MVFC All Academic honoree and a Dean’s List student. He had a 3.58 GPA.

His coach noticed. “Jeremy is an outstanding student-athlete who is really everything that you look for when you recruit a kid,” SIU head coach Nick Hill. “He has an incredible commitment to doing everything right in the classroom and is an outstanding football player.” Even as a freshman he earned the All Missouri Valley Football Conference Newcomer team honors.

This next GIF is another sack he got against North Dakota State who is annually a contender for the championship in the FCS.

This is just a straight blitz coming from the deep secondary. With Chinn coming so far the offensive line has no idea he is on his way. He gets through untouched. Jeremy was a leader on the defense. He did just about anything that was asked of him. His coach wishes he could have more guys like Jeremy.

“He worked hard in the classroom. He’s a good student, a good citizen, all those things as a football coach you want to hold in front of your players. This is a guy to emulate. This is a guy to take lessons from. Jeremy is one of those guys” coach Hill said.


Jeremy Chinn is a smart kid with solid tackling abilities who can cover tight ends but may struggle against quicker NFL players in the slot. Players Jeremy’s size sometimes have a hard time flipping their hips to run in coverage. I will be watching him at the Combine to see how he does in those drills. He is a leader with great character which is the type of player Joe Douglas is looking for.

I don’t know really how fast he is but, if he can run a 4.45-4.50/40 he might be a prospect worth watching. I could see Chinn as a single high safety who could cover the width and length of the field allowing Jamal Adams to roam free. You need a player with solid tackling abilities as a single high safety since he is the last line of defense.

Things could change quickly, but as of now there is not a lot of hype surrounding Chinn. My guess is he could go as early as the 2nd round (with a standout Combine) or low as the 5th round. Mind you, that is merely a guess. Things will firm up the closer we get to the Draft.

I’m hoping the hype continues to stay low for Chinn. It might allow the Jets to get a great player in the later rounds. At the very least he should be a standout special teams player. He also might be that player the defense needs on the back end. He also might develop into a team leader.

We will see how things go in the coming few weeks.

As of now I like this kid, he would be a solid selection in the 4th round.

What do you think?