NFL Draft: Top 5 Safeties
Host Trent Fye alongside Tommy Calpin and Matt McClure discuss their top five safeties. The safety position is one of the most important positions on defense. All three had different lineups in their top five:
In today’s NFL, an elite safety is hard to come by. When teams feel they need an upgrade at the safety position, they usually turn to the NFL draft in an attempt to get the best players that college football has to offer. There’s no shortage of safeties in this years draft. Here are the top five safeties in the upcoming NFL draft.
5.) Chauncey Gardner-Johnson - Florida
As one of the staples of the Gator’s defense, Gardner-Johnson did it all for Florida. In his junior campaign he gathered 71 tackles, nine of them were for a loss along with three sacks and four interceptions. Whether it be rushing the passer or dropping back in coverage, Gardner-Johnson will be effective. One aspect of his game that needs work is his reaction times and getting to the ball while it’s in the air. He stood out at the draft combine running a 4.48 40-yard dash along with a vertical jump of 36 inches. It will be interesting to see how an NFL team will utilize the multiple abilities that he has.
4.) Darnell Savage Jr. - Maryland
Known for his high football IQ and instincts, Darnell Savage was the best defensive player for the Terrapins raising his draft stock as the season progressed. Being one of the fastest safeties in the draft, Savage is able to cover a wide range on the field and make big hits on opposing ball carriers. Savage is another safety that can be used in an assortment of ways. His size could be a sign of discomfort for NFL teams , but his skill set should exceed those worries.
3.) Taylor Rapp - Washington
A textbook strong safety, Taylor Rapp started three years at the University of Washington where he always made an impact. He earned Pac-12 Freshman Player of the Year in his first season along with the honors of Freshman All-American. Rapp is able to make plays in coverage as well as at the line of scrimmage. In his junior season, he gathered 59 tackles, five sacks, and two interceptions. He excels in open-field tackling while also being able to cover tight ends adequately. It wouldn’t be surprising if Rapp was taken off the board in the first round of the draft due to his high ceiling.
2.) Nasir Adderley - University of Delaware
Coming from a school that is not known for creating great football players, Nasir Adderley was able to stick out as a great talent at the safety position. In his senior season, he earned the honors of first team All-Conference along with leading his team in interceptions with a total of four. He has favorable size that will allow him to play both safety and cornerback if need be. Adderley’s goal is to be a three down defensive back that can be used in a variety of ways. In addition to playing free safety at Delaware, he was utilized as a kick returner and averaged 29.8 yards per return and scored on one kick. It is very likely that the diversity of Adderley’s game could put him at the top of the safety talents.
1.) Johnathan Abram - Mississippi State
A quarterback in High School, Johnathan Abram adapted well to the play style of a defensive safety. Abram started at the University of Georgia where personal issues led him to move back to his home state of Mississippi and play at a Junior College. He then arrived at Mississippi State where he emerged as one of the best safeties in the country. He finished his senior season with a whopping 99 tackles, two sacks, and three interceptions. Abrams is a physical player that could use some work on his abilities in coverage. The pure athleticism of Abrams and his capabilities as a run defender could make him the first safety taken in the draft. He had a great showing at the combine and teams said he interviewed well which puts him at a great position heading into the draft.
Joseph Muscente is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email jjm67252psu.edu.