Safeties

Class Review: This safety class is pretty solid, and probably one of the best in recent years. It's headlined by Roy Williams and Ed Reed. Both should be very good safeties in the NFL. After that there's a dropoff in talent. But this class has good quality and quantity. There are a large number of prospects that could be selected between rounds 3-5. Usually these players would be the top players in past drafts. The best of the rest are Lamont Thompson (Washington), Jon McGraw, Ramon Walker, Michae Lewis, Tank Williams, Kevin Curtis, Jermaine Phillips, and Chris Hope (Florida State). This class will also be boosted since there are several cornerbacks who may get looks as safeties.



FIRST ROUND


Roy Williams
(6' 219) Oklahoma (4.55)

Williams is a solid playmaker, that works best as the eighth or ninth man in the box. He is decent in coverage also, but that's not his forte. He would work very well in a scheme such as Buffalo or Tennessee's. Williams is really an undersized linebacker that could go on the prowl. Although he's a pure playmaker, he's definitely not worth a Top 10 selection because even as a potentially top safety, he still won't have too profound an impact on a defense. He is the final piece to a solid defense, not a foundation piece.

Ed Reed
(5'11" 205) Miami FL (4.5)

Reed is only a step behind Williams' in ability. Unlike Williams, Reed is a more all-around safety who is solid in run support and better in coverage. But Reed is not particularly great cover man, but is good enough to play free safety or strong safety in the NFL. Most teams will look at him as a run-stuffing free safety because of his lack of size. Reed is a better all-around prospect than Williams, and should adjust quicker to the NFL than Williams.


SECOND ROUND


Ramon Walker
(6' 194) Pittsburgh (4.6)

Walker is a solid playmaker, but needs work before he can be a solid NFL safety. He is rated this high based almost exclusively off his upside. He did not have a big junior year, and was much better as a sophomore. He can play both the run and pass. He can be a pretty decent centerfielder, but is better vs. the run, since he's aggressive and physical. Not the type of player you want roaming the middle of the field looking for a hit. He's a better hitter than tackler, but is good in the latter area. He plays like a strong safety, but won't be one in most NFL schemes because of his lack of size. Must get more consistent, but has excellent upside. Could have possibly been a late first round pick in 2003 had he decided to stay in school one more year.


THIRD ROUND


Michael Lewis
(6'1" 211) Colorado (4.5)

I really don't know what all the hype on Lewis was. It has started to die down since there are questions of his durability. Lewis is an excellent run stuffer, but has a ways to go in pass coverage. He has good size and speed, but not great in either area. He's a solid player, but nothing special.


FOURTH ROUND


Tank Williams
(6'2" 223) Stanford (4.45)

Has great upside, but is pretty raw as a player. Has good speed and is pretty solid in run support. He's not very physical though and will misses too many tackles. He can disappear for stretches of games. Has size to play strong safety, but is not physical enough to play there. Has decent skills in coverage, but will need to improve there also if he wants to succeed as a free safety. Has skills to build upon, but may take a while to develop.

Kevin Curtis
(6'1" 212) Texas Tech (4.5)

Has good size, but is not a great prospect. Has nice potential however. Not as physical as you want in a player his size, and projects as a free safety. Is a pretty average in coverage. His best assets are his size, speed, and smarts, which is what is needed to succeed in the NFL. I'm not sure he'll ever be great, but should be a steady starter in the NFL.

Jon McGraw
(6'3" 208) Kansas State (4.5)

He has a nose for the football and can come up and make stops vs. the run. But he's not a gifted tackler and seems pretty slow in terms of speed. Seems like he plays in slow motion. Has good size to match up with tight ends. Could play either free or strong safety in many schemes. Doesn't have great cover skills however and is probably average at best in that area. Is a pretty solid middle round pick that I think impressed scouts more with his workouts than his true ability.

Jermaine Phillips
(6' 218) Georgia (4.6)

Phillips is a solid safety with good skills. He has good upside. He has pretty good speed, size, and ability in run support. He is a solid all-around guy that needs some more polish. Should be a solid free safety on the next level.


FIFTH ROUND


Coy Wire
(5'11" 209) Stanford (4.6)

Played linebacker at Stanford, but will play strong safety in the NFL due to his size. Has nice upside there as past linebackers have gone on to become very good safeties. But I'm not too sure yet. He doesn't have good strength for a linebacker, and struggled at point of attack. Is a project, but could really work out.

Marquand Manuel
(5'11" 202) Florida (4.6)

Played strong safety at Florida, but will probably have to play free safety in the NFL. He plays more like a strong safety, but should be able to convert quickly. Has nice speed and plays well in run support, although he's no star there. Is pretty solid in coverage, if not great. Won't be able to cover tight ends, but should be a solid NFL player. Doesn't have great upside, but should develop into a slightly above average starter.


SIXTH ROUND


Chris Young
(6' 202) Georgia Tech (4.65)

Young played both cornerback and strong safety during his tenure at Georgia Tech. Spent 2001 and latter part of 2000 at cornerback. He projects better as a safety in my opinion since he lacks top cover skills and speed. Will be a better free safety than cornerback. Has decent ability to cover as a corner, which translates to good as free safety. He can play the run, and thus is a solid prospect.


SEVENTH ROUND


Quentin Harris
(6' 216) Syracuse (4.6)

He has good size and pretty good speed. He's an all-around free safety that is pretty solid in run support and decent in coverage. He'll likely project long term as a dime safety, but with time could develop into a decent starter.

Milton Proctor
(6' 200) Kansas State (4.55)

He has pretty solid speed, but is nothing special as a strong safety. He can play in run support, but is not much more than that. He's only average and I see him as a top special teams guy in the NFL.


UNDRAFTED


Reggie Myles
(5'10" 190) Alabama (4.55)

Lacks size and strength, and is only average in run support. Has nice speed and can be a decent cover man. Right now, he has little upside and is just a backup who may be able to contribute on special teams.

Mark Ponko
(5'10" 195) Pittsburgh (4.65)

Ponko is nothing special as a prospect. He was decent in college, who didn't make too many mistakes. His long-term contributions will be on special teams. Can hit, but lacks in speed and size to play much defense. Has decent cover skills, but doesn't really have enough speed to be much better there.

Steve Bellisari
(6'2" 220) Ohio State (4.6)

Bellisari played quarterback at Ohio State, but probably projects most as a safety in the NFL. Most quarterbacks don't make good transitions to other positions, but Bellisari has too much athletic ability not to get any looks in the NFL. Was very mistake prone as a passer. Had a poor arm, weak accuracy, and was basically one of the worst starting quarterbacks I've ever seen for a major program play. Has size and speed to play safety, but is a project that is a really big question mark right now.


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