Draft Class Info: Top 5 Safeties

Draft Class Info: Top 5 Safeties
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A group similar to the linebacker corps with a talented top end and developing group of high upside guys in the mid rounds. Some stand out athletes with high upside in coverage, read on to find who I have as my number one.

5. Juan Thornhill – Virginia

Crushed the combine with an elite workout. Incredible scores in the jump and athleticism tests vaunted his draft stock into early day two buzz. That said, acceleration on tape looked modest to say the least. Thornhill has exceptional ball skills and excels in zone coverage. His exceptional peripheral vision makes up for some misgivings with his footwork. Could be a better tackler. Exposure to cornerback position will help him at the next level.

4. Nasir Adderley – Delaware

An elite coverage safety with top range and great ball skills. Adderly works best when given freedom to make plays on the ball behind a solid pass rush. Experience at cornerback has given him good one on one coverage skills, mirrors receivers well out of the break with really solid footwork. Great physicality as a tackler and when fighting blocks in the run game. Definite contributor in the less glamorous parts of a safeties game. Good versatility will have him playing up in the box and covering receivers out of the nickel. 

3. Johnathon Abram – Mississippi State

A safety with dynamite in his shoulder pads, Abram is known for his big hits, particularly close to the line of scrimmage. Has had his issues with targeting ejections including one that caused his own schools spring game to be abandoned. However this hard hitting mentality will be a big success in the NFL. Makes good decisions in the run game and blitzes well. Coverage skills leave much to be desired, especially his ball skills. Has a lot to work on in that area if he is to get a second contract in the NFL. Has incredible athleticism, great frame and is well built for the pros. Not a guy who skips gym sessions. 

2. Taylor Rapp – Washington

In spite of a poor 40 time at the Washington Pro Day Rapp can still be a huge success in the NFL. Another do it all guy in the middle of the field. Tackles like a demon and makes himself known in the run game and on blitzes. Coverage skills are okay but by no means a strength of his game. Lack of flexibility makes it tough for him to live with receivers. Combined with his inability to play deep due to slow changes of direction, Rapp will make his money with physical coverage. Ideal to match up against physical tight ends, especially in a smart scheme. Rapp’s high motor and tough tackling give him a throwback vibe, however with good coaching I think he could be a stellar all round safety talent.

1. Chauncey Gardner-Johnson – Florida

A do it all safety with solid coverage skills, especially close to the line of scrimmage. CGJ is a playmaker in the secondary with exceptional athleticism. A big game temperament that was on full show in his bowl game. Where a crucial interception changed the course of the match. Does really well in man coverage and projects well as a do it all safety in the middle of the field. Would possibly struggle if asked to play single high but that isn’t his game. Improved his tackling a huge amount last season, went from one of the worst tacklers in college football to a skillset that is more than passable in the NFL. 

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