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2016 NFL Draft rankings: Top 10 safeties

Ranking the top 10 safety prospects in this year's NFL Draft class.

Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports
1. Karl Joseph (West Virginia) | 5-foot-10, 205 pounds

It's hard not to fall in love with Karl Joseph's tape. I'll admit, scouting safeties is tougher than any other position due to the lack of all-22 film, but Joseph is a guy that immediately jumps out on film as a playmaker. He's constantly around the ball, and he'll run from the complete opposite side of the field to get there if he has to.

This play could have easily been called targeting, but it wasn't. It might even draw a personal foul call in the NFL, but I'd want this kid on my team regardless. Joseph has impeccable ball skills for the safety position and can do anything you ask of him. The only glaring concern is his medical concerns after tearing his ACL in October of last year, but we've seen plenty of athletes come back from such an injury without skipping a beat.

2. Justin Simmons (Boston College) | 6-foot-2, 202 pounds

Simmons is one of my favorite safety prospects in this class and is being criminally undervalued right now. I love the fact that he can play both safety spots along with covering tight ends in the slot. There is a huge need for these types of safeties in the NFL and I could see Simmons being selected as high as the second round.

You can read my full scouting report on Justin Simmons here.

3. Vonn Bell (Ohio State) | 5-foot-11, 199 pounds

Bell is small, but efficient and instinctive in coverage. In a pass-heavy league, Bell is going to be one of the first safeties off the board due to his ability to play deep safety and diagnose plays in front of him. Bell's weaknesses lie in the run game where he tends to sit back and let the ball come to him rather than deliver hits himself.

4. Keanu Neal (Florida) | 6-foot-0, 211 pounds

Moving along, Keanu Neal couldn't be any more different of a prospect than the guy ahead of him. Unlike Bell, Neal makes his presence known with his bone-shattering hits and is a heat-seeking missile that projects best as a box safety. Neal's aggressive attitude can also be his downfall, however, as he missed 10 tackles in 2015 and had the sixth-worst tackling efficiency among all safeties via Pro Football Focus.

5. Miles Killebrew (Southern Utah) | 6-foot-2, 217 pounds

Killebrew is a violent thumper with prototypical size for the strong safety position. He has some rough tape and lacks instincts, however his athleticism alone will warrant a late Day 2/early Day 3 selection. Killebrew is a boom or bust prospect with the potential to either flame out as a special teams only contributor, or he could turn into a very good hybrid safety/linebacker like Deone Bucannon. I love Killebrew's potential, but you have to be very patient with him.

6. DeAndre Houston-Carson (William & Mary) | 6-foot-1, 201 pounds

DHC is nice deep safety prospect and arguably the most complete safety in this draft. He's a below average athlete for the position, but his awareness and instincts in coverage are top notch. DHC is a very efficient tackler and gets the job done in run support, though his technique is lacking at times and you'd like to see him wrap-up more. Last but not least, DHC is scary good on special teams. His ability to time the snap and explode off the ball is incredible for a free safety, which caused him to block nine kicks throughout his career.

7. Jeremy Cash (Duke) | 6-foot-0, 212 pounds

We here at Pride Of Detroit condone the idea of the Detroit Lions selecting Jeremy Cash in the early rounds of the NFL Draft. He may not be all that great of an athlete, but he just makes plays. Think of him as a poor man's Troy Polamalu that just knows when to blitz the a-gaps off the snap and blow up a play at any given time. Cash's tape vs. Georgia Tech may be one of the best performances I've ever seen since I started studying the Draft. Due to his struggles in coverage, teams will have to limit Cash to a box-safety role for him to be effective in the NFL.

8. T.J. Green (Clemson) | 6-foot-2, 209 pounds

Early in the draft process, the hype was surrounding Clemson's Jayron Kearse in the secondary. But now it's his counterpart, T.J. Green, that's earning all of the praise -- and deservedly so. Just like Kearse, Green is very raw at the safety position and a spectacular athlete. Green's 4.34 40-yard dash was the fastest ever from a safety since electronic testing was implemented in 1999. His potential as a deep safety is through the roof.

9. Kevin Byard (Middle Tennessee) | 5-foot-11, 216 pounds

I'm probably higher on Byard than most, but sometimes you just have to tip your cap to a kid that has a knack for making plays and being around the ball. In 51 games, Byard tallied 19 career interceptions while taking four to the house for a score. Byard brings his lunch pail to work and has been fighting the odds his entire career. I wouldn't want to be the guy to bet against him anymore.

10. Deiondre' Hall (Northern Iowa) | 6-foot-2, 199 pounds

Hall offers size and length with the longest arms of any cornerback or strong safety prospect since 1999. He doesn't have the straight-line speed or the foot quickness to stick at CB, so a move to safety is absolutely necessary. Honestly, Hall was born to play the safety position with how physical he is in the run game. He'll have to add some beef to that thin frame of his if he wants to fully commit to becoming a safety in the NFL.


2016 Positional Rankings: Quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end,offensive tackle, interior O-line, edge rusher, interior D-line, off-ball linebackercornerback

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