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2010 NFL Draft - Safety Rankings
Texas S Earl Thomas
Texas S Earl Thomas
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Apr 20, 2010


Check out the CFN ranking of the top safeties along with the most overrated and underrated prospects.

2010 NFL Draft Position Rankings

Safeties


By Pete Fiutak 

2010 CFN Talent Rankings
- 1st Rounders
- 2nd Rounders
- 3rd Rounders
- 4th Rounders
- 5th Rounders
- 6th Rounders
- 7th Rounders 
- Top Free Agent Talents 

2010 CFN Position Rankings & Analysis

- QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs
- Cs | OTs | OGs | DEs
- DTs | ILBs | OLBs
- Ss | CBs

2010 NFL Combine Quick Looks & Post-Combine Rankings

- QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs
- Cs | OTs | OGs | DEs
- DTs | ILBs | OLBs
- Ss | CBs

2010 NFL Combine Results
- QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs
- Cs | OTs | OGs | DEs
- DTs | ILBs | OLBs
- Ss | CBs 

2010 NFL Combine
- Offensive Winners  
- Offensive Losers 
- Defensive Winners 
- Defensive Losers

This Class Is … Phenomenal up top. Eric Berry, Earl Thomas, and Taylor Mays have special upside and could be the kind of players to revolve a defense around. The talent, though, drops off in a hurry with plenty of good players, but not a lot of elite ones after the first few prospects.

The Best Value Pick Will Be … T.J. Ward, Oregon
Most Underrated … Morgan Burnett, Georgia Tech
Most Overrated … Major Wright, Florida
The Deep, Deep Sleeper Is … Jeff Lemon, SW Oklahoma State

1. Eric Berry, Tennessee 6-0, 211 (FS)
An almost perfect free safety prospect, Berry is 4.47 fast, strong (with 19 reps on the bench at the Combine), and with a phenomenal 43” vertical leaping ability. As good as the measureables are, the game film is better. An ultra-productive playmaker who was always making things happen, he can do it all with great open-field tackling ability and a ball-hawking attitude when the ball is in the air. Durability could be an issue considering the way he attacks, but if he can stay healthy there’s a chance he could turn out to be the best player in the draft.
CFN Projection: First Round

2. Earl Thomas, Texas 5-10, 208 (FS)
The only question is whether or not he’s big enough. He’s not small, but there’s going to be a concern that he’s really more of a corner trying to play safety, and he might not be a natural on the outside. Everything else is in place with 4.46 speed, phenomenal strength, and more than anything, the instincts. Very smart and very prepared, he’s always in the right position and seems to know what’s going to happen a half step before anyone else. If it wasn’t for Eric Berry, Thomas would be the biggest star among the defensive backs.
CFN Projection: First Round

3. Taylor Mays, USC 6-3, 230 (FS)
A straight-up freak of nature, there hasn’t ever been a safety prospect with this combination of raw skills. From the 6-3, 230-pound size, to the 4.36 40 speed, to the 41” vertical, to the 24 reps on the bench, he’s the dream safety who seems too good to be true. Now he has to show he can play. He simply doesn’t make enough big plays considering his raw talent, he doesn’t have a sense for the game, and he’s way too sloppy. Yes, he’s a knockout hitter, but he’s not nearly productive enough on tape getting fooled way too easily and making up for it with his athleticism; that’s not going to fly at the next level. And then there’s the attitude. He comes across as aloof and entitled, and he’s not going to be for everyone. But for all the concerns, with his skills he could be a special, transcendent player with the right coaching and the right dedication to doing all the little things right.
CFN Projection: First Round

4. Reshad Jones, Georgia 6-1, 214 (SS)
Overshadowed by the star power among the top of the safety pole, Jones doesn’t take a backseat to anyone. He’s the best pure strong safety in the draft with great range, defensive lineman strength (with 24 reps on the bench), and great all-around athleticism. While he’s not a blazer, he’s fast enough to fit in any system and he’s one of the biggest hitters in the draft. He’s not all that thickly built and he misses a few too many plays by trying to make the special stop when the routine would do. There are several questions and concerns about his consistency, but there’s a chance he could be among the most special players in the draft if he can put it all together.
CFN Projection: Second Round

5. Nate Allen, South Florida 6-0, 207 (FS)
There’s no questioning his quickness on the field and his athleticism, and he’s fluid for a player of his size, but he needs to get functionally stronger and has to commit himself to the weight room, and he has to become more of a playmaker. He’s not an intimidating force in any way and could end up being better as a nickel or dime defender if he doesn’t eventually move to corner. He’s smart enough to play any spot in the secondary and roll from Day One.
CFN Projection: Second Round

6. Barry Church, Toledo 6-1, 222 (SS)
Shhhhhh. He has flown under the radar playing for Toledo, but he has been a major playmaker from the start of his career. While his measureables were hit or miss at the Combine (looking phenomenal in the short drills bit ran a slow 4.69 40), he played faster on the field looking bigger, stronger, and better than anyone he was going against. However, he doesn’t have top shelf NFL skills and could be limited in what he’ll be able to do. He’s not a cover-2 safety and will have his most value closer to the line.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

7. T.J. Ward, Oregon 5-10, 211 (SS)
While not tall, he’s a thick, tough defender who’ll throw his body all over the place. The walk-on plays like he has something to prove on every snap. Always around the ball, he’s great when the ball is in the air and he isn’t afraid to get as physical as he needs to be. Holding up at an NFL level against the run will be a problem after suffering two bad knee injuries and has always played dinged up. A good athlete, he’s not a great one and will be limited. He might not have a long shelf life, but he’ll be ultra-productive during his time.
CFN Projection: Third Round

8. Darrell Stuckey, Kansas 5-11, 205 (SS)
With decent size and terrific speed, he has the upside to be a great value pick. The sub-4.5 speed makes him a candidate for any safety spot and a near-perfect fit for the cover-2. He’s not known for being physical and he isn’t a strong hitter, but his range and athleticism should be enough to hold down a job for a long time. With his work ethic and his toughness, he’ll make himself into a better player, but he isn’t going to get much bigger and he doesn’t have top end range. His stock was far higher last year than it was after a mediocre 2009, but he could be a great selection in the middle rounds.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

9. Kyle McCarthy, Notre Dame 6-0, 205 (SS)
A terrific playmaker, the question was whether or not he could flash the raw skills to match his on-field production. He did with a good 4.61 40 and with the easy and fluid way he worked around the short drills; he was among the best of all the defensive backs. The 24 reps on the bench did that much more to help him overcome the concerns over his lack of height and bulk. A high-character player, he’s as dependable as they come, but he’s way too small and isn’t nearly physical enough. He won’t likely start, but he’ll be a nice reserve who can do a little of everything.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

10. Chad Jones, LSU 6-2, 221 (SS)
His biggest problem? He’s too good … at baseball. The big-hitting strong safety is a special outfielder and could even be looked at as a good reliever prospect, but he’s just as good a football player. Is he into baseball more? That’s going to be the issue for any NFL team wanting to use a draft pick on him, and there will need to be plenty of homework done to find out his true intentions. He’s not nearly strong enough with a miserable nine reps on the bench at the Combine, but he played a lot bigger on the football field as a game-changer who always seemed to come up with the big plays. However, he’s not physical enough play in and play out and wasn’t nearly consistent enough. It’ll be a buyer-beware draft pick since he’s really a baseball player giving football a look.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

11. Morgan Burnett, Georgia Tech 5-10, 211 (SS)
He’ll change games for good and bad. While he’ll make the brilliant play just often enough to get everyone excited, he’ll then be out of the mix the next two plays and will disappear. He makes way too many mistakes by being overaggressive and takes way too many chances. However, he’s strong, big, and he doesn’t miss a tackle when he has the chance. There’s enough upside to get excited about the possibilities, but he doesn’t have elite raw skills and will have to be coached up in a big way to limit his freelancing errors.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

12. Darian Stewart, South Carolina 5-11, 213 (SS)
He times fast he plays fast and he makes plays fast. He has a good burst into the backfield and is a good, productive tackler, but he managed to be underappreciated despite playing in the SEC. Smart, he seems to know where to be a step ahead of everyone else, but he has to get stronger and he doesn’t do much of anything when the ball is in the air. While he might not have all the physical tools, he’s a leader who could end up managing a more talented group of defensive backs working around him.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

13. Larry Asante, Nebraska 6-0, 212 (SS)
Very tough and very physical, he’s an intimidating force who looks like a strong safety. When he gets to the ball, he doesn’t miss a tackle and he’ll be one of the toughest workers on any team. However, he doesn’t move all that well and isn’t great in pass coverage. It would be nice if he could play like a smallish linebacker and he could shine if he’s in the right scheme and doesn’t have to hang around with the speedier receivers. Put him in a box and he’ll make every play, but his raw skills just aren’t there to be hope for any big upside. He is what he’s going to be, and while that’s not bad, he’ll be limited.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

14. Kam Chancellor, Virginia Tech 6-3, 231 (SS)
Part linebacker, part safety, he’s a huge defensive back with great range for his size. He’ll be great when he moves close to the line and will be terrific in run support. He’s as reliable as they come and is the type of player coaches love to have and had the great Combine needed to confirm what many will see on film. However, he’s a bit of tweener who might not fit a defined role at the next level and may have to beef up to be a smallish linebacker. He’ll get drafted relatively well because he’s a good football player, but someone will have to have a specific idea for how to use him.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

15. Kurt Coleman, Ohio State 5-10, 192 (SS)
A small, active defender who finds ways to make plays, he’s a good athlete with decent strength and good ability to go out and be a baller. He might not look the part, but he’s a pure football player who seems to always find ways to make things happen. A good enough athlete to fit just about any system, he can find a home for someone. However, he’s not an elite athlete and he’s not going to hit anyone with any sort of an impact. He needs to play in a zone and will get beaten badly when matched up one-on-one with anyone with speed. There’s a hard ceiling on what he can become, but he should be a decent player who bounces around the league for a while.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

16. Myron Rolle, Florida State 6-2, 215 (SS)
With high character, smarts, and the will to want to be a good player, the Rhodes scholar is a special person who’s the type of player everyone wants to have on the team. While he’s not fast, he came up with 21 reps on the bench at the Combine and came up with a great 10’4” broad jump. He’s not great when the ball is in the air and got by on his leadership, smarts, and raw talent at Florida State; he’s not all that instinctive. The big concern for teams will be his desire to go through the work of being an NFL player when he has far more important things ahead of him with dreams of becoming a neurosurgeon.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

17. Major Wright. Florida 5-11, 206 (SS)
A big-time recruit even among Florida’s high standards, he was a tough all-around defender who played at a high level for his entire career. While he’s not all that big, he’s a great hitter who doesn’t have any problems throwing his body around. The 4.48 he tore off at the Combine showed off his range, but he’s not smooth and he’s not a phenomenal athlete for his size. With his style, he might have a short shelf life and might always get banged up, and it would be a big help if he didn’t always go for the kill shot and was able to simply make the routine stop. Some will see him as a possible Bob Sanders type and will overdraft him, but that’s a huge reach for a good but limited player.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

18. Kendrick Lewis, Ole Miss 6-0, 198
An underappreciated leader who produced at a high level for a decent Ole Miss defense. Fast on the field, he moves well and was good at making the key plays. However, he wasn’t fast in workouts coming up with a disastrous 4.72 at the Combine while laboring through the short drills. The mediocre athleticism and the corner body type limits his potential, and he’s not a physical enough hitter to be intimidating in any way. He’ll work to try to make a roster, but he’ll have to show something big early in a camp to find a spot.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

19. Terrell Skinner, Maryland 6-2, 214 (SS)
While not the typical Maryland workout warrior, he’s big with excellent strength and just enough speed to get by. He’s not fast by any stretch, but he’s just quick enough to not be a total liability in coverage. A big-time hitter, he’s an intimidating force who packs a wallop. He’s not an instinctive player and he makes far, far too many mistakes, but he might be worth a flier just on his size and hitting ability. Someone will see something big in his potential.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

20. Harry Coleman, LSU 6-1, 211 (SS)
While he worked out at the Combine as a linebacker, he’s really a safety after checking in at a mere 211 pounds. He’s a rock of an athlete who was physical enough to be a tough run stopping linebacker at a high level. While he didn’t miss many tackles that came his way, he wasn’t quite quick enough to sniff out big plays. When he got in space he flew to the ball, but he’ll have to prove his talents can translate to the secondary. It might take some seasoning, and he needs to get more physical, but he’ll at least be a strong special teamer right away.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

21. Mike Newton, Buffalo 5-10, 190 (FS)
With decent speed and good college production, he’s an interesting prospect who could pop out in a camp if he gets a decent chance. Just fast enough to get by at either safety spot, he moves well on the field and seems to always be in the right place at the right time. While he’s not all that big and he needs to get bulkier, he’s a strong tackler who doesn’t make mistakes. He’ll be the type of player who’ll run through a brick wall and will be terrific on special teams, but he’s not an elite athlete and isn’t going to be an NFL ball-hawker.
CFN Projection: Free Agent

22. Van Eskridge, East Carolina 6-0, 194 (FS)
A good leader on a high-quality Conference USA defense, he was moved around where needed throughout his career and he always produced. While he’s a bit lean and he’s not really built to be a high-powered safety, he’s a good tackler who made a ton of plays for ECU. He’s not going to blow anyone up and his raw skills are limited, but he produces whenever he gets a chance and will be a willing special teamer.
CFN Projection: Free Agent

23. Cody Grimm, Virginia Tech 5-11, 203
The son of former star Washington Redskin lineman, Russ, Grimm is a hard-nosed player who has worked hard to get just big enough to play at a high collegiate level. As expected for a player from his family, he’s instinctive on the field and always is in the right position and seems to be thinking two steps ahead of anyone else. While he might be limited because of his size, he’s a good tackler and will do anything needed. The straight-line speed isn’t there, but he’s incredibly quick with the fastest cone time of any safety at the Combine. He’ll always get an honest look because of who his dad is, but he doesn’t have NFL skills to be anything more than a good special teamer.
CFN Projection: Free Agent

24. Jonathan Amaya, Nevada 6-1, 203 (FS)
A walk-on for the Wolf Pack, he was extremely productive as one of the only positives on a miserable secondary. With good speed for his size, he moves extremely well and he can move around where needed with the potential to play just about anywhere in any secondary; his value will be as a good reserve for a rotation. However, his eight reps on the bench are way too paltry and he seemed to lumber a bit through various drills at the Combine. He’s needs to get far stronger and he isn’t going to tackle anyone with any punch, but he’s a good runner with enough talent to make a team as a backup and special teamer.
CFN Projection: Free Agent

25. Lucien Antoine, Oklahoma State 6-1, 215 (SS)
Very tough with good hitting ability and nice speed, he’s as strong as a linebacker and is an intimidating force when he gets the bead on a ball-carrier. However, he’s stretched out as much as he can possibly be and can’t bulk up to be a linebacker. Not smooth, he’s not going to show off much range or cutting ability and he’s only going to make it if he can be used as a run stopper. There’s no way he can hang around in a Cover-2 scheme.
CFN Projection: Free Agent

26. Shann Schillinger, Montana
27. Nick Polk, Indiana
28. Brad Phillips, Northwestern
29. Andre Sexton, Oklahoma State
30. Ryan Hamilton, Vanderbilt
31. Aaron Webster, Cincinnati
32. Randy Phillips, Miami
33. Jordan Lake, Baylor
34. Dennis Rogan, Tennessee
35. Da’Mon Cromartie-Smith, UTEP