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2021 NFL Draft Safety Rankings Re-Evaluated

As we move through the pro days and hear the noise of outlandish forty times and verticals through the roof, I have personally gone through and done more research on every position.

The Football Scout 365 Big Board

Don't forget to check out the full Football Scout 365 NFL Draft Big Board.

After Further Review NFL Draft Edition On YouTube

You can check out our Football Scout 365 After Further Review NFL Draft Edition on Youtube. We have five shows so far, three covering the QB position where I break down and connect the dots between player skillset and what the player displays on film concerning such buzzwords like arm talent, arm angle, pocket presence etc.

What I look for when evaluating a DB.

Whether it's a safety or CB, I am looking for similar traits. It starts with the scheme fit and how they translate. Can they adapt to different schemes? Are they more comfortable as a man-to-man defender vs. zone? Are they able to play press-man? Speed and burst matter in the secondary, but speed doesn't matter if a player lacks agility and good technique. Players with quick feet and can react quickly on the fly by flipping their hips are valuable. What do I mean by flipping the hips? Going from your back peddle to a full sprint fast is very important to a DB. The critical part of that transition is flipping your hips to change your body orientation 180 degrees without momentum. It's an awkward body motion that guys at the NFL level make look easy. I also look for willing-run defenders. Can they provide support in the run game? Are they sound in the open field?

All of the above can be true for the safety position, but there are some differentiating factors from a CB. You have two safeties in football, free and strong, and sometimes you get a hybrid nickel or LB style safety. The definition of safety has become blurry as they have to be responsible in similar ways at both spots; that's where the hybrid effect comes into play or the undefined role of safety, so to speak, because of how defenses utilize them to defend against pass-heavy spread offenses.

So you can understand the difference between a traditional free and strong safety, I'll define it real fast. Free safety is often the deep safety lined up at least 10 yards deep, while the strong safety traditionally lines up on the TE side or the heavy side of an offensive formation. Free safeties are responsible for mostly pass coverage, while a strong safety defends the run while also being accountable for pass coverage.

2021 NFL Draft IDL Rankings

Okay, so let's dive into the safety rankings;

1) Oregon S Jevon Holland 6-1 196 lbs Potential Upside Player

Holland is known as a leader and a great communicator. He is an agile fluid player who can move into the slot when needed. Holland has CB skills at the safety position. His flexibility adds to his value. He could play corner in the NFL.

2) TCU S Trevon Moehrig 6-1 208 lbs Potential Upside Player

A free safety who has lined up in a myriad of spots under Head Coach Gary Patterson, often in a single-high look. He finds the football; he is a ball hawk who does an excellent job at breaking up the football at the catch point. He must improve as a run defender at the next level.

3) USC S Talanoa Hufanga 6-1 215 lbs Potential Upside Player

A physical safety who can play deep or in the box. He is strong against the run, and his appeal to NFL GM's places him in the mold of the Derwin James, Jamal Adams style of player. He plays with a violent edge and enjoys contact. He plays with good instincts. He can play zone coverage, and he does well-matched against TE's. Past injury history might be the red flag for some GM's. He has broken his collarbone two times and has dislocated a shoulder. I can attest that it will wear on your body when you try to bring the wood consistently.

4) Georgia S Richard LeCounte III 5-11 190 lbs Potential Upside Player

LeCounte communicates well in the secondary is a smart player who can play both man and zone coverage. He can lineup in the slot when needed. He plays with great balance but plays tight at times. LeCounte is a willing special teams player.

5) UCF S Richie Grant 6-0 194 lbs Potential Upside Player

Grant is a versatile safety who has played several different roles in the UCF secondary. He is solid in both man and zone coverage and has played a box safety role as well. He projects as a free safety in the NFL. He needs to improve his on-field awareness and tackling.


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