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‘Sleeper” safety Antoine Brooks Jr. moves up draft boards

While much has been said about the potential of the cornerback class in the 2020 NFL draft, the safety position hasn’t received nearly as much hype.

Part of that is due to the lack of star power. LSU safety Grant Delpit entered the season as the presumed top safety and a potential top-10 pick, but he’s seen his draft stock take a dip after an average junior season. Now, many analysts peg Alabama’s Xavier McDaniel as the top safety. Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons has started at safety and linebacker but is seen as more of a linebacker in the pros. Otherwise, Simmons would likely be the top-rated safety.

But after those two, the next-best safety is still very much up for debate, with names like Minnesota’s Antoine Winfield Jr., Lenoir-Rhyne’s Kyle Dugger and California’s Ashtyn Davis all in the mix.

Add another name to that list: Maryland’s Antoine Brooks Jr.

“The 2020 safety class is really good, which means it’s easy to overlook or not discuss every player to the extent they deserve,” writes The Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller. “I believe that’s the case with Maryland’s Antoine Brooks Jr.”

The 5-foot-11, 215-pound senior finished the season with a career-high 87 tackles, along with 8.5 tackles for loss and 1 interception. For his career, Brooks has 237 tackles, 27.5 TFLs and 4 INTs, including two his sophomore year.

Miller called Brooks his “Sleeper of the Week,” adding that Brooks’ good range and tackling skills “… project him as a starter-level player with further development of his instincts and diagnosis skills.”

“He’s versatile in that he can walk up into the box or play back in the defensive backfield, but that could lead teams to wonder where his true fit is. That’s why development might be needed, but once Brooks finds a home, he could provide a legitimate impact at strong safety.”

Brooks is the No. 136 overall prospect in the latest Fanspeak-Steve big board.

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