2014 DRAFT GUIDE
NFL Draft: Ranking the safety class by tiers

Tue Apr 3, 2012 2:30pm
By the National Football Post

Breaking down the top safety prospect by tiers…

Tier 1

Mark Barron: Alabama (6-2, 218)
Has the makings of a heck of a special teams player who can also attack downhill vs. the run game, play inside the box and drive on the football in front of him in the pass game. Isn't going to be a major threat turning and tracking the football, but his improved instincts makes me think he can start in the league early on.

Tier 2

MartinMartin displays good balance when asked to change directions.

Markelle Martin: Oklahoma State (6-1, 198)
A gifted athlete with a good burst and range in the deep half. However, wastes motion out of his breaks and isn't a very good open field tackler. Possesses slightly above-average instincts, but will make more plays on the football when he tightens up his footwork. A potential starter only at this stage because of his intriguing athleticism.

Tier 3

Harrison Smith: Notre Dame (6-2, 214)
Isn't a guy you want to trust to run with receivers down the field. However, because of his solid natural range and instincts, I can see him getting over the top and making plays in a center field type role as an NFL strong safety.

George Iloka: Boise State (6-3, 216)
Iloka is a tall kid with solid balance for his size and has some natural athleticism and pop. Has experience playing corner and being a physical press coverage man. However, he isn't a guy who can quickly re-direct and close on the football in the deep half. He needs to play with his hands on defenders, but is a more coordinated bigger safety than say Seahawks starter Kam Chancellor and he could start at the next level.

Christian Thompson: South Carolina State (6-0, 213)
He's a good athlete who has some talent. Needs to do a better job finding the football, but can change directions and has some speed to his game as well when tracking the football.

Brandon Taylor: Louisiana State (6-0, 195)
He can tackle in the box and in space, despite being a bit inconsistent at times. Displays some natural coverage ability and looks capable of maturing into tweener starter/nickel safety at the next level.

Kelcie McCray: Arkansas State (6-2, 195)
He does have some natural coverage ability for his size and should run well for the position. There are some questions about desire as a tackler and instincts in the deep half. However, a guy at his size with his athleticism at worst deserves a shot late.

Check out tiers 4 & 5 on page two...

Tier 4

Trenton Robinson: Michigan State (5-10, 195)

Is coordinated and can keep his feet under him, but looks tighter when asked to turn and run. Tackles well and looks like at best a low end starter who needs to play in tighter areas to be effective in coverage.

JAcksonICONJackson has some talent, but there are concerns off the field.

Aaron Henry: Wisconsin (6-0, 210)
A good-sized kid with some natural cover skills and range, but is still learning the mental nuances of the game. Still developing at the position, but skill set says potential starter.

Tier 5

Tony Dye: UCLA (6-0, 216)

Isn't an elite athlete, but plays faster than he times. Will tackle consistently and is coordinated in coverage. Looks like a potential special teams stud who with some time could fight his way into a starting line-up as a strong safety. However, medical concerns will likely cause him to fall.

Janzen Jackson: McNeese State (6-0, 190)

A talented kid who can run, track the football and can be a violent striker on contact. However, isn't the most sound of wrap-up guys, is raw with his footwork and has character concerns. Nevertheless, has the talent to play in the NFL and should get a shot because of his ability to run and strike.

Check out the NFP Draft page here...

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