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Colts Prospect Interviews: Jeremy Chinn, safety, Southern Illinois

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Could Chinn be the answer at strong safety for the Colts?

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

A popular series from last draft cycle is returning yet again at Stampede Blue. Last offseason, I interviewed over 40 prospects that could eventually be fits for the Indianapolis Colts in the 2019 NFL Draft. As a result, we were able to find out a lot about two Colts who went on to eventually be drafted by the team in Marvell Tell III and Khari Willis. This year I hope to interview even more prospects so you all can get an inside look at these player’s accomplishments and mindsets going into this next draft.

Our next prospect interview is safety Jeremy Chinn from Southern Illinois. Chinn is a fast riser in this draft class who met with the Colts at the Combine. We had a great conversation about his confidence as a safety, his elite combine, and what it would mean to play for his hometown team in the Colts.


Size:

6’3” 221 pounds

Combine Numbers:

40 Time: 4.45 sec / Bench: 20 reps / Vertical Jump: 41 inch / Broad Jump: 138 inch

Senior Stats:

71 tackles, 2.5 tackles for a loss, 1 sack, 7 pass deflections, and 4 interceptions.

Fit with the Colts:

The Colts appear to be set at safety with a nice starting duo of Malik Hooker and Khari Willis. While that is a good pair, adding a player like Chinn could never hurt. He is an elite athlete who has experience playing safety, linebacker, and cornerback. He can be a versatile weapon for the Colts and be a true asset as a match-up nightmare on defense. They’d have to spend a day two pick on him but the Colts’ defense would be so much better if they added the hometown kid in Jeremy Chinn.

Round Projection:

Early-Mid Day 2


Highlights:


Interview:

ZH: I’ve read a bit about your background and saw that you didn’t receive many offers out of high school due to missing time your Junior year with an injury. How did it feel when you got that scholarship offer from Southern Illinois?

JC: It changed my life. I remember the phone call still to this day and after that call, I was in tears. My mom wasn’t home yet so I called her immediately after. That offer just gave me a huge opportunity.


ZH: I saw that you were a great student at SIU, making a ton of Academic All-American teams. How important was it to you to be well rounded on and off the field?

JC: It just speaks to the type of person that I strive to be. It is so much more than just one aspect when it comes to football and the classroom so I just hold myself to a very high standard to just be successful on and off the field.


ZH: Going into your Senior season, the NFL hype was starting to build around you. Did it ever cross your mind to maybe transfer to the FBS and get more exposure that way?

JC: Not at all. I never seriously considered it. I was reached out to by multiple scouts and things like that but I felt like I owed so much to the university and it was never a serious consideration for me.


ZH: From everything I’ve read and heard about you, you are a quiet and reserved type of guy. When you get on the field though, that changes as you become a fiery and vocal leader. What turns that switch for you when you are in game?

JC: That is something that started at a really young age. I remember being in third grade scoring a touchdown and spiking the ball and pounding my chest. Ever since I stepped on a football field at a young age, a switch would just flip and it has been like that since. i can’t necessarily put my finger on what it is but it has been happening since I started playing the game.


ZH: You had a great career at SIU and that earned you a trip to the Senior Bowl in Mobile. How was that entire week for you?

JC: It was an experience that I won’t ever forget. I appreciate Jim Nagy just for reaching out and giving me that opportunity. On the field I feel like I showed scouts and teams that I am supposed to be playing at this level of football and off the field just being able to meet so many people around the game and interact with those types of people was really cool.


ZH: When you were at the Senior Bowl, was it a point of emphasis for you to constantly be flying around and active on defense? I thought you were great all week.

JC: Yeah absolutely. Going into a week like that coming from a small school, you got a lot to show and probably have the biggest question marks around you. Just to erase that question mark and play aggressive all week was definitely a big emphasis.


ZH: At the Combine, you put up some absolutely elite numbers and blew everyone away. How much credit would you give to the SIU training staff and how much credit goes to your natural athleticism for hitting those numbers?

JC: Yeah it a combination of not only athletic ability but also just buying into the process. There is so much hard work that goes into it. Just taking care of my body and performing week in and week out these two months prior to the Combine was a lot of hard work. It was definitely a combination of natural ability and hard work.


ZH: Getting to your film now, that safety intimidator type is really dying in the NFL in recent years. Regardless though, you come downhill and really like to hit players. Would you describe yourself as an intimidator type on defense?

JC: Yeah definitely and I feel like my game is very well rounded. I’m the guy who makes receivers not wanna come across the middle and I’m also the guy who makes the quarterback think twice about throwing the ball deep and also making him think about his drop backs. There are a lot of things I bring to a football team and I just focus on making an impact. I run really well and feel like I can run with anybody so whenever I’m on the field you’ll see a lot of running around.


ZH: Piggybacking off that, you are a very versatile player and we could all see that on film. If you were tasked with being more of a defensive weapon in the NFL and a guy who could play linebacker, corner, safety, etc.. How would you feel about that role?

JC: I would love doing that stuff and I’m very capable in doing that stuff. That is what I did in my time at Southern so that is right up my alley.


ZH: I did see the Senior Bowl crew put you out a lot in press man and as a corner in practice. How was it for you playing in press man in such last year and at the Senior Bowl?

JC: I felt really comfortable. I’m a really long athlete so that definitely helps a lot in the press to get hands on. I make receivers feel uncomfortable so yeah that is just another place on the field where I’m very comfortable.


ZH: If you had to pick the number one trait in being a successful safety, what would you say that trait is?

JC: Oh that’s a good question.. I feel like you just have to expect to make every play. If you are the one high guy at safety, you are the last line of defense so you just gotta expect to make the play even if you are down closer to the box. Whether you are blitzing or run stopping, you expect to make the play. That was my mentality and has always been m mentality whenever I am on the field. I’m the guy who wants to be there first and be the one to make the play.


ZH: To again bounce off that, confidence is huge when playing defensive back. How important to you is being confident to like you said, make every play?

JC: It is everything. Confidence is a big part and it comes with the swagger on the field. Especially as a DB on the field but even more so as a safety as it’s that much more important.


ZH: I don’t typically ask players this but you grew up in Indiana and the Colts were your hometown team. How would it feel to be drafted by them and be a part of the hometown team?

JC: Any opportunity would be wonderful and amazing. Growing up in Indy, the younger me would obviously be very excited and me now would also be very excited to play for the Colts. That would be really cool.


ZH: Final question for you. What is my team getting if they spend a draft pick on Jeremy Chinn?

JC: I’ll start on the field, you are gonna get a game changer. Someone who is gonna impact the game in many ways from the defensive side of the ball and even from the special teams side. When I’m on the field, the game is gonna change and it’s gonna be a different feel on the field. Off the field, I’m huge in the community. I’m very close with my Carbondale community and those things are probably more important to me than anything. The people that come out and see you and buy your jerseys, you are representing them. The name on the front of the jersey is just as important as the one on the back.