BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Grant Delpit’s 2020 season ended with the Browns before it began.
The rookie safety ruptured his right Achilles tendon while going through individual drills on Monday, a freak injury and another dose of bad luck for Cleveland and first-year coach Kevin Stefanski, who has lost three likely defensive starters in a week to injuries.
The team said Tuesday that Delpit, a second-round pick from national champion LSU, will undergo surgery.
His loss is yet another blow to Cleveland’s defense, and especially its secondary, which was overhauled during the offseason.
Delpit’s injury is the third significant one to strike Cleveland’s defense early in Stefanski’s first training camp.
Linebacker Mack Wilson hyperextended his left knee while breaking up a pass last week, and nickel back Kevin Johnson lacerated his liver when rookie tight end Harrison Bryant landed on him. It’s not known when Wilson or Johnson will be back on the field.
Delpit got hurt while backpedaling during the early portion of practice. He dropped to the turf and grabbed his lower leg while waiting for assistance. He had to be helped onto a cart to be driven back to the team’s facility. An MRI test revealed the tear.
The No. 44 overall pick in this year’s draft, Delpit had played well in camp so far, and the Browns were excited about his progress and potential.
The team signed free agents Karl Joseph and Andrew Sendejo to one-year contracts during the offseason to give them depth and experience in the secondary. Cleveland chose not to sign last year’s primary starters, Damarious Randall and Morgan Burnett, before drafting Delpit, who won the 2019 Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back.
Delpit’s loss will force first-year general manager Andrew Berry to search the waiver wire or potentially make a trade.
Veteran Earl Thomas was recently released by the Ravens, but given his problems in Seattle and Baltimore, it might be too risky to consider bringing him on to a fairly young team that’s a long way from Super Bowl contention.
The Browns are banged-up in their defensive backfield. Starting cornerback Greedy Williams injured his shoulder in Monday’s practice and M.J. Stewart, who was filling in for Johnson, has been slowed by a hamstring issue. Also, cornerback Terrance MItchell has missed practices with a knee injury.