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NFL Draft Positional Rankings: Safeties

NFL Draft Positional Rankings: Safeties

The Packers are set at safeties as far as their starters go but could be looking for depth in this year’s draft. Micah Hyde is capable of playing safety and Chris Banjo is still under contract but finding someone for the long term who could step in and play special teams could be something the Packers look to address late. I’ve only ranked players I feel comfortable enough to form a solid opinion/analysis on. It would be disingenuous to rank players I don’t have a strong opinion on.

Previous positional rankings:


1.       Keanu Neal, FS, Florida- The 6’ 211lb Neal is a beast when playing around the line of scrimmage. He thrives when he can come screaming down to pop runners in the mouth. His aggressiveness when tackling can however lead to missed tackles and sometimes over pursuing of plays. In coverage Neal is adequate, he can turn and run with receivers but is definitely better when coming forward. He wastes no time closing in on receivers if they secure the catch in front of him. He is a vicious player.

2.       Karl Joseph, SS, West Virginia- Joseph is a little bit undersized as a traditional safety at 5’10” 205lbs but he plays bigger than he is. He’s coming off a knee injury where he missed all but 4 games last year. He is an incredible ball hawk who does a great job reading the quarterback and driving on the pass. Joseph is also a very hard hitter who likes to set the tone for the defense. If healthy Joseph could make the case for the best safety in the class.

3.       Jeremy Cash, SS, Duke- Cash has good size at 6’ 212lbs and excels at playing in the box. He was asked to primarily be an extra linebacker for Duke’s defense and he didn’t disappoint. Cash takes great angles in the run game, can close in a hurry and can make plays behind the line of scrimmage. Cash will struggle if a team puts him out in space too much as he isn’t an overly fluid athlete. If a team has a plan for Cash to put him in positions that are his strong points, they will be getting a very good player.

4.       Vonn Bell, SS, Ohio St- Bell is the leader of the backend of the defense. At 5’11” 199lbs Bell does a really nice job recognizing routes and reading the quarterback to put himself in position to make plays. Bell isn’t very physical and is more of a drag down tackler as opposed to someone who likes to hit. He’ll have a role as a team’s centerfielder.

5.       Justin Simmons, FS, Boston College- At 6’2” 202lbs Simmons is a bit thinner than you’d like but he does a lot of things well on the football field. He can cover tight ends one on one out of the slot, and is also very good at playing near the line of scrimmage making plays vs the run. He does struggle some if he’s asked to play in the deep half reading routes and breaking towards the ball. Much like with all of these safeties, there are strong suits to his game that teams should utilize.

6.       Darian Thompson, FS, Boise St- Thompson is well built at 6’2” 208lbs and one of the more well-rounded safeties in this class. He is a ball hawk playing the back end, picking off 19 passes in his career. Thompson does a nice job undercutting routes and showed throughout his time at Boise St. that he is a good tackler. He does give up too many big plays and will too often go for the interception as opposed making the sure tackle.


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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (3) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

croatpackfan's picture

I'm voting for Jeremy Cash. Ted Thomspon will pick him in the 2nd or 3rd round and he will play cover ILB...

holmesmd's picture

Uumm, no he will not;)

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Justin Simmons is a possibility if he lasts to Rd 5 or 6. I think he will go higher. I like his ability to play center field better than the author does. I view him as interchangeable at FS or SS, which GB likes.

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