Safeties

First Round


Sean Taylor

(6'3" 228 4.51) Miami Junior

Pros: Has good speed and does a great job coming up and stopping the run. A hard hitter that is excellent in the open field. Solid in coverage and can match up against wide receivers. Plays the ball very well in the air and does a great job reading the quarterback in the centerfield. Plays well on special teams.
Cons: Won't be able to match up with most NFL receivers since he is not quick out of his transitions, and a quick and capable route-runner will beat him everytime.
NFL Forecast: Can play either free safety or strong safety, but will most likely be used as a free safety on the next level because of his abilities in coverage. You have to love Taylor's range because if he was a linebacker, he'd probably be fourth or fifth round pick. If he was a cornerback, he could be a fifth or sixth round pick as well. So if he played either of those two positions, he could still stick in the NFL. But he's definitely a safety, and has the ability to immediately come into the league and have a big impact.
NFL Comparison: Brian Dawkins, Eagles.
Value: He definitely has great talent and would merit a Top 15 selection, but unless a team needs a safety to complete an already solid defense, I wouldn't spend a Top 10 pick on him.

Second Round


Third Round


Sean Jones

(6'1" 215 4.56) Georgia Junior

Pros: A hard hitting safety that plays well when coming upfield. He has good speed and can run with receivers. Best when allowed to sit back and make reads on the football.
Cons: Will bite on play fakes since he focuses a bit too much on the quarterback. Doesn't have the hips to be a great coverage safety.
NFL Forecast: Has the range to play both free and strong safety in the NFL. If he can improve in man coverage, he could make an excellent free safety since he plays centerfield well and is more physical in run support than most guys at the position. Also could be a solid strong safety as well in the NFL due to size and run stopping ability. Should be a capable starter with the upside to be a top safety, but I don't think he's going to ever fulfill his potential. But should be at least an above average starter on the next level.
NFL Comparison:
Value: Upside could push him into the second round, but really a third round prospect.

Bob Sanders

(5'8" 204 4.40) Iowa Senior

Pros: Has good speed and closes on ball quickly. Can hit and solid in run support. Has good athleticism and is decent in coverage.
Cons: Will bite on play fakes. Lack of size presents matchup issues. Needs work in man coverage.
NFL Forecast: He's not gifted in coverage, but is adequate. He might move to free safety on a lot of NFL teams. He has good range, but he doesn't seem to be that great when he plays up close to the line of scrimmage. He's a solid player that will be overlooked because of his lack of height, but is a solid safety prospect. He doesn't overwhelm, but is a consistent player that should develop into a capable starting safety.
NFL Comparison:
Value: Third round. A bit of tweener, but a solid safety worth a late first day pick.

Madieu Williams

(6' 190 4.51) Maryland Senior

Pros: Can bring the wood. Is comfortable hanging back as a centerfielder and working the zone. Has good speed and closing speed on the football and receiver.
Cons: Doesn't show much in man coverage. Keys on quarterback too much and will allow receivers to get behind him.
NFL Forecast: I like Williams, he plays like the guy that loves to throw wrenches into machinery. He just loves to mess up offenses. He's not a complete free safety, but works well in zone coverage as he'll develop more in man coverage. He hits like a truck also. He's too small to play strong safety and he's not comfortable playing up near the line. He needs some more polish, but he should make a very capable starting free safety on the next level.
NFL Comparison:
Value: Third Round. Nothing special, but should improve and become a quality starting safety.

Fourth Round


Matt Ware

(6'2" 210 4.51) UCLA Junior

Pros: Has good speed and can make plays in pursuit. Willing in run support. Will be able to cover slot receivers. Plays ball well in the air.
Cons: Lacks great hips to stick at cornerback and slow out of breaks. Not a great tackler and doesn't play very physical.
NFL Forecast: Where he plays in the NFL is a big question to me. He's a big cornerback and was capable at that position at UCLA, but doesn't really have the quickness you like to project there in the NFL. But he's also not a physical player, not even for a big corner, so you don't really think he's going to be a great safety. He's a tweener that may need a few years to find his niche. I think at the least, he'll make a good nickel corner or dime safety. He has the potential to be a starter because he was a solid college player, but you wonder how well he projects to the NFL. I think eventually he will find his feet and be a decent starter, but I'm not sure at what position. I like him better as a safety than a cornerback however.
Value: Could be a solid coverage safety, but too much of a tweener to go on the first day.

Brandon Everage

(6' 194 4.55) Oklahoma Senior

Pros: Shows good speed and can flow to the football. Shows he can match up with wide receivers and shows good burst to the ball when its in the air.
Cons: Not a physical tackler at all and will miss tackles. A liability in the open field.
NFL Forecast: He's a coverage safety that plays well enough there to become a solid starter on the next level. Has some off-field issues however, so it hurts his stock and questions if he'll reach his potential. Is a weak point in run support when he projects to the NFL, although he was adequate in college. Because of his lacking ability in run support, he probably won't develop into a top safety, but could be a very productive guy despite not being a good all-around safety.
NFL Comparison:
Value: His coverage abilities would push him into the second round, but his off-field issue and his weaknesses in run support push him down to round four.

Arnold Parker

(6'2" 214 4.46) Utah Senior

Pros: At his best in tight press coverage. Makes good breaks on the football. Can deliver some hits.
Cons: Lacks a good backpedal, and is not fluid in turns and hips. Not very physical versus the run or with wideouts.
NFL Forecast: He has great size to play the cornerback position, and I think he can play there. But I don't think he's ever going to be a starter there, but could make a quality nickel corner. He has the size you like in a press corner, but he doesn't have the hips or recovery speed you like in a press corner. If he doesn't get the jam, he's in trouble. But his best position will probably be as a cover free safety. But he's not as physical in run support as you would like in your safeties. He's a bit of a tweener at this point that should be able to be a solid backup either at cornerback or safety, but needs to be more physical for both.
NFL Comparison:
Value: As a corner, he would be only a fifth round pick, but his potential at safety moves him to the fourth round.

Etric Pruitt

(6' 196 4.60) Southern Mississippi Senior

Pros: Has great closing speed on the football and likes to mix it up. Best when allowed to get upfield and chase football. Plays well on special teams.
Cons: Doesn't do well when he plays close to the line of scrimmage. Will bite on play fakes too often. Doesn't have quickness for man coverage.
NFL Forecast: He looks like a quality free safety. He is physical versus the run, but he's no strong safety. But his deficiencies in coverage hurt him as a free safety prospect. He even struggles to cover tight ends. His biggest flaw in coverage is not a lack of speed, but he keys too much on the quarterback rather than maintaining his responsibilities. This can allow him to get a jump on the ball as a centerfielder, but it also can leave his corners out to dry. He's not overly big or strong, but plays hard and fast which is going to attract him to a lot of teams. But is too small to play strong safety and is uncomfortable playing up in the box. He should become an excellent dime safety on the next level, but really needs to work in coverage if he wants to become a starter.
NFL Comparison:
Value: Fourth round. Good speed and toughness, but lacking in coverage.

Stuart Schweigert

(6'2" 215 4.45) Purdue Senior

Pros: Has a good nose for the football and will come up and make plays in run support. Is functional in coverage. Has good speed.
Cons: Not very physical, and won't make hits and will miss open field tackles. Not a great run stopper. Doesn't play well in the box.
NFL Forecast: Should be an effective free safety because he can play in both coverage and run support, but he's not dominant in either area. He's got that hard-nosed mentality on the field that you like and has good instincts, but he's not really that special. He has the size of a strong safety, but he's not as physical there as I think he should be and doesn't play well up near the line of scrimmage. Potentially Schweigert could develop into a decent starter, and he has the upside to be a top safety, but I doubt he will be. I'd say he projects best as a capable starter.
Value: Fourth Round. A good player with good upside, but too limited right now in run support.

Keith Lewis

(6' 204 4.57) Oregon Senior

Pros: Will come up and make hits versus the run. Has good nose for the football and will make plays in pursuit. Shows good ability in coverage and can cover tight ends.
Cons: Despite hitting ability, he's not a stout presence versus the run and will miss some tackles. Doesn't have the speed nor quickness to match up with wideouts in coverage
NFL Forecast: He'll deliver some good hits, but he's not what I would call a run-stopping safety. His forte is coverage, but he's not stellar in that area. Basically, he's a good all-around safety that doesn't excel in any particular area, but does most things well. Should be a decent starting safety, but is not going to be a top safety on the next level.
NFL Comparison:
Value: A solid safety prospect, but doesn't do anything well enough to jump into the first day.

Will Allen

(6'1" 202 4.59) Ohio State Senior

Pros: Flows quickly to the football and is good in pursuit. Plays best in the box and near the line of scrimmage.
Cons: Struggles in man coverage and not that great in the zone either. Has poor hips and doesnít show as good speed in coverage as he does in run support.
NFL Forecast: definitely see him as a strong safety rather than a free safety. Heís definitely not undersized for the strong safety position, but lacks ideal size. Struggles in coverage far too much to be looked upon as a free safety. Would be a liability in coverage there, and would need much more time and development before he could become effective there. Is a good run stopper from the safety position. If limited to his coverage duties, could be a solid starting safety, if not heíll be decent, but nothing special.
Value: His impact in the running game could make him a second round pick, but ineffectiveness in coverage drops him here.

Fifth Round


Guss Scott

(5'10" 204 4.50) Florida Senior

Pros: Is good in pursuit and can hit. Is adequate in man coverage.
Cons: Doesn't have great quickness to match up against wide receivers. Will take poor angles to the football.
NFL Forecast: suspect he'll play free safety in the NFL. He's adequate in coverage, but he'll need more work. He has good ability and should develop into a decent starting safety. He won't be a stud, but a marginal starter that would probably be best as a dime back rather than starter.
NFL Comparison:
Value: Fifth rounder with the chance to move up into round four. Makes a nice addition as a reserve free safety.

Gibril Wilson

(6' 199 4.43) Tennessee Senior

Pros: Has nice speed and is decent in run support. Can make some hits. Shows good adjustment to the ball in the air and plays well in the centerfield.
Cons: Not great in run support and will miss some open field tackles. Needs work in man coverage.
NFL Forecast: He looks like he could be a solid free safety on the next level. Heís more of a coverage guy and can be a bit of a liability in the run game. I like his ability however and he should be a decent dime back. Doubtful if heíll ever be an effective long-term starter since heís not as physical in run support as you want your starters to be. But he might be able to be a quality stopgap starter.
NFL Comparison:
Value: Fifth round. Doesn' have huge upside, but should develop into a good NFL player.

Sixth Round


Rashad Washington

(6'2" 219 4.63) Kansas State Senior

Pros: Plays the run very well and will come up and make some hits. Does a good job playing near the line of scrimmage.
Cons: Not a factor in coverage at all.
NFL Forecast: Heís got the near linebacker size you like in a strong safety, and might even get some looks at linebacker on some teams. Struggles in coverage and not a factor there. Depending on the scheme, will determine how good he can be. If he plays in a system that allows him to line up in the box and play the run a lot, heíll be a productive starter. But he'll always be a liability in coverage, so he'll never excel in the NFL.
Value: Sixth Round. Top run stopper that might move to linebacker on a few teams.

Tony Bua

(5'11" 209 4.65) Arkansas Senior

Pros: Has good speed and will make hits against ball carriers. Shows he's effective in zone coverage.
Cons: Doesn't possess the balls-out mentality that you love in a strong safety. Needs to work on his man skills. Will take some poor angles to the football and will miss some open field tackles.
NFL Forecast: He is a safety that will be best used up close to the line of scrimmage. But he should develop into a decent NFL safety. I'm not sure he'll be as good as Adam Archuleta or Pat Tillman, but is in that ilk of linebackers turned safeties. Not as physical as those guys were. He should make a decent backup safety, but I'm not sure if he'll be a starter unless he lands on a team that wants him to play near the line of scrimmage all the time. Has a ways to improve in coverage, but I think he'll get better there with time. Will most likely end up a special teams ace, but he could potentially develop into a decent starter down the road.
NFL Comparison:
Value: If he can find a team that uses their safeties like a linebacker, he's worth an early sixth round pick.

Seventh Round


Jack Hunt

(6' 186 4.65) LSU Senior

Pros: Has good speed and burst to the football. Very willing to come up and make hits in run support. Shows some ability to play centerfield in coverage. Is comfortable playing up in the box.
Cons: Has some difficulty diagnosing plays. Not a very physical tackler or hitter. Struggles in man coverage.
NFL Forecast: He'll have to play in a system where he is supposed to keep everything in front of him. He's undersized, so he'll probably need to add strength for some team's needs. Looks like he'll be a good special teams player, but probably won't be anything more than a dime back on defense. But has potential to excel in that role.
NFL Comparison:
Value: Seventh round. Limited, but an overachiever that you have to like his chances of sticking.

Rashad Baker

(5'10" 204 4.58) Tennessee Senior

Pros: Has nice speed and shows some ability in coverage. Can cover tight ends and is an effective zone player. Is willing in run support and can make some hits.
Cons: Needs work in run support and will miss some open field tackles. Struggles at the point of attack when runners make it to the second level. Doesnít have ability to match up with wideouts.
NFL Forecast: Could make a decent backup free safety that might push for time in dime situations, but mostly will have to stick in the NFL as a special teams player. Heís effective in coverage, but heís not good enough for me to really call him a coverage free safety, although heís more that than a run stopper. Could be a decent reserve, but thatís it.
NFL Comparison:
Value: Helps boost depth, but lacks upside as a starter.

Bryce McGill

(5'10" 222 4.56) Fresno State Senior

Pros: Has quick burst to the football. Capable of providing pass rush as a blitzer. Has good speed and can play sideline to sideline.
Cons: Struggles at the point of attack because he lacks size and strength to shed blockers. Needs more work in coverage abilities.
NFL Forecast: Plays linebacker for the Bulldogs, but his future is at strong safety in the NFL. He has good speed and size for a safety. He'll need more work in coverage and will be a work in progress, but I see him eventually developing as a solid run-stuffing safety. He should be a quality reserve that earns his paycheck on special teams, but could also potentially develop into a decent starter.
Value: Goes in round seven because he has good potential but is a project.

Michael Crawford

(5'11" 209 4.51) Virginia Tech Senior

Pros: Has some speed and ability in run support. Also is effective enough in man coverage to match up with tight ends and wide receivers. Shows he can lay the wood to people. Good burst to the ball.
Cons: Won't make plays vs. the pass, just good enough to shadow a wideout, but won't prevent him from catching the ball.
NFL Forecast: He's good enough in coverage, but NFL receivers will be able to exploit him for the big play on the next level. I think he can be a solid strong safety, and also have the potential to play some free safety in a pinch. Because of this, you like him as a dime back. But he just doesn't excel anywhere enough to say that he is a definite starter, although there is some potential for that. As a starter, I think he would be acceptable, but not great. As a reserve, he could be very good.
Value: Seventh Round. A solid reserve prospect that has good range and ability.

Brandon Ratcliff

(6' 195 4.62) New Mexico Senior

Pros: Has good speed and shows good ability on kickoff returns. Is wiling to come up and deliver hits. Has potential to be a centerfielder and capable of covering wide receivers. Also can rush the quarterback off the edge.
Cons: Doesn't have the pop and power you like in a run-stopping safety. Will miss tackles. Probably doesn't have the hips to be a top coverage guy.
NFL Forecast: Has a good future as a free safety. Needs more polish on his coverage skills, but has a good base to be a solid player on the next level. Is a complete safety, but doesn't excel in any area. Should do well on special teams. Potentially, he could be a capable dime safety, but if he started, he would be a liability. Mostly a coverage safety, but doesn't have the abilities to excel there.
Value: Size and lack of starter potential pushes him into the seventh round.

Daryl Dixon

(5'10" 196 4.72) Florida Senior

Pros: Can come off edge and rush passer. Good in run support.
Cons: Needs work in coverage. Makes poor breaks on the ball and seems to have trouble locating it in the air.
NFL Forecast: He'd make a better strong safety that free safety, but he lacks the size that teams like at that position. At best, he'll be a dime back on the next level, but is nothing special. He's a good run stopper that will have to make his impact on special teams.
Value: Seventh round. Helps depth, but that's it.

Eli Ward

(5'11" 204 4.72) Minnesota Senior

Pros: Will come up and make plays in run supprt. Is adequate in zone coverage.
Cons: He's more a hitter than a wrap tackler, which will cause him to miss some tackles. Lacks great quickness and hips for man coverage.
NFL Forecast: Ward looks like a decent prospect that has a shot to be more of a special teams guy and might develop into a decent dime safety. His upside on defense is not great since he's only an above average college defender. He plays the run and pass well enough to stick on the next level, but not to a degree where he'll be considered a starter.
Value: A special teams guy that won't be picked over guys that have more upside on defense, but has enough to get a shot late in the seventh.

Mitch Hewitt

(6'1" 215 4.65) Bowling Green Senior

Pros: Has good speed and tackling and plays well in pursuit. Shows good ability to match up in coverage and can cover backs out the backfield.
Cons: Lacks size and strength and struggles at the point of attack. Takes poor angles to the football and will tend to overpursue.
NFL Forecast: Looks like he is going to have to move to strong safety. Could be a good run stopper at that position, but is lacking at the linebacker spot. Needs some work and polish in his coverage abilities, but could make a good transition to his new position. He has coverage potential to be match up against backs and tight ends, but won't ever be able to cover wideouts. He's a project, but has some upside.
Value: Too much of a project, but has enough upside to be worth a look late in the seventh.

Undrafted


Tutu Ferguson

(5'10" 185 4.50) Pittsburgh Senior

Pros: Is effective in run support and a sound tackler. Has a decent backpedal. Has experience on returns. Has the range to play both safety and cornerback.
Cons: Doesn't have great speed and is easily beaten deep. Doesn't have great hips and burst to the football.
NFL Forecast: Has played cornerback this year, but I think he'd be best as a coverage free safety. Doesn't have great size for a safety, but his experience at cornerback should help him. Does a good job keeping things in front of him. Is capable in run support and will make most open field tackles. He was a decent collegiate starter that has potential to be a capable special team sace.
NFL Comparison:
Value: Undrafted. Has potential, but was never anything special.

Craig Jones

(5'11" 225 4.77) North Texas Senior

Pros: A hard-hitting safety that plays well up near the line of scrimmage. Great in run support and can make plays in the open field.
Cons: Struggles in coverage due to lack of speed and quickness. Will bite on play fakes and spends too much time eyeing the backfield rather than covering his man. Hits more than he wraps.
NFL Forecast: I think he will have to move to linebacker in the NFL. He doesn't have the speed you like in a defensive back, but rather his speed is fine for a linebacker. Very lacking in coverage, but it won't be as worrisome if he plays linebacker. Although he still would need to improve there in order to make an NFL roster. Has some potential, but a project. Looks more like a backup type that excels on special teams than a guy that can get regular reps on defense.
NFL Comparison:
Value: Undrafted. Too much of a project, but could stick on the next level.

Brian King

(5'11" 180 4.59) West Virginia Senior

Pros: Willing to come up and play in run support. Decent in zone coverage. Has good speed to play catchup.
Cons: Only adequate in man coverage. Not a physical presence and lacks size.
NFL Forecast: He's a former cornerback that is too small to play safety at the next level. But he's not a good enough man cover guy to play corner either. He's good in zone when he's allowed to play centerfield. He might be able to stick in the NFL as a special teams guy, but he'll never be more than a dime back on defense. He's not a bad player, but he's a bit of a tweener. He plays like a quality free safety, but is too small for that position. If he adds some more muscle, and gets up to around 190-195 range, he should be okay, but then he might lose some of his speed.
Value: Has a shot to stick as a backup, but too much of a project to merit being drafted.

Wes Nurse

(5'10" 190 4.55) Boise State Senior

Pros: Has good instincts in run support and willing to come up into the box to make plays. Has nice speed and acceleration to football. Decent in coverage.
Cons: Lacks size and strength. Looks more like a cornerback than a safety. Needs to work on coverage.
NFL Forecast: Nurse has a chance to make it in the NFL, but he plays more like an undersized strong safety than a free safety. He's average at best in coverage and above average as a run stopper. If he could put on a little more weight, he has a better chance to stick in the league. Would be best in a defensive scheme that limits his responsibilities in coverage.
Value: If he was twenty pounds heavier, he'd make a decent seventh round pick.

Lawrence Turner

(5'10" 195) Oregon State Senior

Pros: Has a good nose for the football and comfortable making plays in run support. Has fearless mentality as a hitter in the secondary.
Cons: Needs work in coverage and is undersized.
NFL Forecast: He's a "box" safety since he plays best near the line of scrimmage and when stopping the run. May not have the size or strength scouts like at strong safety, but will likely have to play there since he is lacking in coverage. Basically a strong safety in a free safety's body.
Value: Undrafted. Has a chance to stick on special teams, but lacks much upside for defense.

 

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