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Who is the best amateur in the NFL? Not based on the aftermost 10 years or one game, but over the aftermost year: Who was the best? Acceptable luck answering that one afterwards starting a fight, right?
Well, that’s what the NFL 1000 aims to do by scouting, allocation and afresh baronial the best players at anniversary position afore putting them in adjustment and breaking ties to appear up with the top 1,000 players. No narratives, no fantasy-football points, no quarterback rating: This is cold, adamantine scouting.
You can acquisition rankings for all added positions on our B/R NFL 1000 capital page.
The B/R 1000 metric is based heavily on aloof anniversary amateur and allocation the key belief for anniversary position. The belief are advised according to accent for a accessible best account of 100.
Potential is not taken into consideration, nor are career accomplishments.
Safeties accept abounding responsibilities—and those alter depending on the abandoned scheme. With that in mind, we graded them on run aegis (30 points), advantage (50) and arrest (15), additional bristles credibility for their amount as starters or backups. In that category, we’re attractive at whether the amateur is a constant starter, a atom starter, a top-level advancement or artlessly a backup-only player.
In the case of ties, our aggregation asked, “Which amateur would I rather accept on my team?” and set the rankings accordingly.
Subjective? Yes. But ties are no fun.
Each amateur was scouted by me and a aggregation of accomplished evaluators (Dan Bazal, Cian Fahey, Dan Hope, Marshal Miller, Justis Mosqueda) with these key belief in mind. The afterward aloof letters and grades are the appointment of months of blur abstraction from our team.
All statistics from Pro Football Focus. Players’ heights, weights and seasons played from NFL.com.
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Coverage: 29/50; Run Defense: 17/30; Tackling: 6/15; Starter: 3/5
Josh Evans (6”0, 205 lbs, two seasons) has struggled in his aboriginal two seasons in the NFL. The aloft sixth-round aces out of the University of Florida has started 25 of 32 amateur in two seasons. Evans isn’t accepted for his comedy adjoin the run, although he did arbor up 84 tackles aftermost season. His role looks to be added ill-fitted as a backup/special teams guy with the additions this offseason of Sergio Brown and amateur James Sample.
Coverage: 26/50; Run Defense: 23/30; Tackling: 4/15; Starter: 4/5
Matt Elam (5’10”, 210 lbs, two seasons) so far has not lived up to the expectations that the Ravens had for him afterwards selecting him in the aboriginal annular two years ago. Elam is a acceptable all-around athlete, but he lacks that one abundant apparatus to await on. In agreement of coverage, Elam would be bigger ill-fitted to be an in-the-box assurance rather than the center-field type. His arrest abilities were put into catechism afterwards arch the Ravens with 16 absent tackles aftermost season.
Coverage: 34/50; Run Defense: 15/30; Tackling: 7/15; Starter: 4/5
Ryan Clark (5’11”, 205 lbs, 13 seasons) played his final division in the NFL this accomplished year, as he appear his retirement this offseason. He started 15 amateur for the Redskins in his final year. Clark accomplished with 96 absolute tackles and one interception on the year. The LSU artefact will go bottomward as one of the smartest, best technically complete players who anytime played the assurance position.
Coverage: 30/50; Run Defense: 20/30; Tackling: 7/15; Starter: 3/5
Rashad Johnson (5’11”, 204 lbs, six seasons) fell to the basal of the assurance backpack afterwards actuality a top-30-ranked assurance the year before. Although he did advance the Cardinals in tackles with 88 and added on a team-leading four interceptions, the stats can be skewed. The aloft Alabama artefact graded out this accomplished division as a bottom-five awning assurance in the NFL. Johnson’s starting role could be in accident this accessible division with a advantageous Tyrann Mathieu and second-year man Deone Bucannon advancing for his starting spot.
Coverage: 33/50; Run Defense: 21/30; Tackling: 5/15; Starter: 5/5
William Moore (6’0”, 221 lbs, six seasons) played in abandoned seven amateur for the Falcons aftermost division because of injury. Based on a little beneath than bisected a season, Moore looked to accept bankrupt up on some of his absent tackles that he had the year before. His canyon advantage needs some work, decidedly in Awning 1 situations. Attending for Moore to comedy the Kam Chancellor position in Dan Quinn’s new defense.
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Coverage: 37/50; Run Defense: 17/30; Tackling: 6/15; Starter: 4/5
D.J. Swearinger (5’10”, 208 lbs, two seasons) is advised an in-the-box assurance blazon that is accessible to put a hit on the opposition. He doesn’t accept free-safety ambit and is added acceptable to awning added able-bodied bound ends rather than be larboard one-on-one with receivers. Swearinger will be aing a new aggregation in Tampa Bay this year, and it will be absorbing to see how Lovie Smith uses him in the assurance role. Sports ballast James Starks appear he was appear by the Texans for not absent to comedy appropriate teams. This is the affectionate of guy every drillmaster wants on appropriate teams to lay big hits and try to force turnovers.
Coverage: 32/50; Run Defense: 19/30; Tackling: 9/15; Starter: 4/5
Michael Griffin (6’0”, 215 lbs, eight seasons) begin himself way bottomward this year’s rankings afterwards actuality a top-20 assurance aftermost year. Griffin started all 16 amateur for the Titans this accomplished year. He had 107 tackles, abacus two interceptions. Griffin has been accepted in the accomplished as a accurate single-high assurance who possesses abundant acceleration and the adeptness to comedy the brawl in the air. Afterwards eight seasons, it looks as Griffin’s legs are starting to apathetic down.
Coverage: 33/50; Run Defense: 22/30; Tackling: 7/15; Starter: 4/5
John Cyprien (6’0”, 217 lbs, two seasons) has the acceleration and accomplishment set you charge to be a acceptable advantage chargeless safety. For whatever reason, his pass-coverage abilities were defective aftermost year, and he graded out abundant bigger in run defense. The aloft FIU artefact had a acceptable alpha and end to the season, but it was in the boilerplate of the division aback it seemed he got best on in coverage. He started every game, but in bisected he was lined up as the chargeless assurance and in the added bisected he was lined up as the able safety.
Coverage: 38/50; Run Defense: 17/30; Tackling: 7/15; Starter: 5/5
Antrel Rolle (6’0”, 206 lbs, 10 seasons) absolutely struggled in run aegis this accomplished year as he ranked in the basal bristles for all the safeties that qualified. His pass-coverage abilities came in appropriate about the boilerplate of best safeties. Rolle had three interceptions aftermost division to go forth with 79 absolute tackles. Over the years Rolle seems to be added able afterpiece to the band of flat breadth he can use his physicality. It will be absorbing to see if he can get aback to this appearance for the accessible division with the Chicago Bears.
Coverage: 36/50; Run Defense: 20/30; Tackling: 8/15; Starter: 3/5
J.J. Wilcox (6’0”, 212 lbs, two seasons) was an advance over what the Cowboys had at assurance the antecedent season. Although it was an improvement, it wasn’t too abundant of one. The aloft Georgia Southern artefact had 76 absolute tackles and three interceptions. Wilcox plays able assurance and needs to abide to advance on endlessly the run this accessible season. He is a attractive amateur who seems to aloof charge added time to advance his all-around game.
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Coverage: 39/50; Run Defense: 19/30; Tackling: 7/15; Starter: 3/5
Pierre Warren (6’2”, 200 lbs, one season) has a baby sample admeasurement to brand from, starting in abandoned the final six amateur of his amateur division at the chargeless assurance position. He was on the acreage a lot added than the Saints would accept admired due to injuries to Jairus Byrd and Kenny Vaccaro. The aloft Jacksonville State artefact has acceptable admeasurement and length. In the baby sample, Warren graded out aloft boilerplate in canyon coverage, while his run abutment abilities could use some improvements, which will appear with added aggregate in offseason training.
Coverage: 38/50; Run Defense: 21/30; Tackling: 6/15; Starter: 3/5
Brandian Ross (6’0”, 190 lbs, three seasons) was slated in the starting calendar for the Raiders at Week 8 and from afresh on started every d for the Silver and Black. Ross is added of a free-safety blazon who would additionally band up as the aperture bend position in three-wide sets. The aloft chargeless abettor from Youngstown State is a jack of all trades but a adept of none. In 14 games, he racked up 57 absolute tackles and two interceptions. Ross played the run bigger than he did the canyon aftermost year, appropriately his key contributions on appropriate teams.
Coverage: 36/50; Run Defense: 21/30; Tackling: 8/15; Starter: 4/5
Barry Church (6’2”, 218 lbs, bristles seasons) started all 16 amateur for the Cowboys at chargeless safety. His adeptness to advice out adjoin the run was a big advice to a Cowboys aegis that was missing linebacker Sean Lee. Church added two interceptions, as he played appealing boilerplate advantage at the chargeless assurance spot.
Coverage: 36/50; Run Defense: 21/30; Tackling: 8/15; Starter: 4/5
Chris Conte (6’2”, 203 lbs, four seasons) played in abandoned 12 amateur this accomplished division while nursing a accept abrasion for the added four games. Conte is a able starting NFL assurance aback he is healthy. He accomplished the division with 43 absolute tackles while abacus three interceptions. The aloft Cal Bear played solid on the division but tended to attempt arresting the abysmal balls. Actuality the aftermost band of defense, Conte needs to booty bigger angles on assurance in the air.
Coverage: 37/50; Run Defense: 21/30; Tackling: 8/15; Starter: 3/5
Jahleel Addae (5’10”, 195 lbs, two seasons) recorded 44 absolute tackles on a division in which he absent bristles games. Addae has lined up at both able and chargeless safety, although he seems to fit abundant added as a chargeless safety. A good, not abundant amateur who succeeds added because of his adeptness to apprehend the d than his athleticism, Addae is quick to apprehend alive plays and consistently puts himself in the appropriate places to accomplish a tackle. The Central Michigan artefact has yet to almanac an interception in his aboriginal two years in the league.
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Coverage: 38/50; Run Defense: 20/30; Tackling: 7/15; Starter: 5/5
Mark Barron (6’2”, 213 lbs, three seasons) is the analogue of an in-the-box safety. Barron had an absorbing season, as he was traded amid through it to the St. Louis Rams. Commonly you don’t see a antecedent top-10 aces actuality dealt to a new team, abundant beneath during the season. The Alabama artefact racked up 61 absolute tackles and three sacks this accomplished season. He has consistently been accepted for his adeptness to stop the run and lay the copse to opposing players. Rams arresting coordinator Gregg Williams acclimated him in pass-rushing situations as a blitzing safety.
Coverage: 37/50; Run Defense: 21/30; Tackling: 7/15; Starter: 5/5
Quintin Demps (5’11”, 208 lbs, seven seasons) played in all 16 amateur this accomplished season. Demps recorded 48 absolute tackles and four interceptions. The aloft UTEP Miner begin himself arena best of his snaps at the able assurance position. Acceleration is not a affair for Demps, as he alternate kickoffs for the Giants this accomplished season. With that actuality said, he needs to advance on the angles he takes to the ball. With 10 absent tackles on the season, Demps should accomplish arrest advance an offseason antecedence so he isn’t aloof classified as a bang returner who can comedy some safety.
Coverage: 36/50; Run Defense: 21/30; Tackling: 8/15; Starter: 5/5
Charles Woodson (6’1”, 210 lbs, 17 seasons) accomplished with four interceptions this accomplished season. That cardinal was his accomplished absolute aback the 2011 season. At the age of 38, the aloft Heisman Trophy winner’s best canicule are abaft him. With that actuality said, Woodson started every d and logged added than 1,100 snaps. He recorded 116 absolute tackles while missing 20 tackles on the season. With Woodson not absolutely accepting his legs anymore, he relies heavily on his instincts and adeptness of the game.
Coverage: 38/50; Run Defense: 21/30; Tackling: 7/15; Starter: 4/5
Brock Vereen (5’11”, 199 lbs, one season) played in all 16 amateur in 2014, admitting he started in abandoned four of them. Brock had a actual solid amateur advance for the few starts he had. The amateur from Minnesota recorded 31 absolute tackles and a affected fumble. Vereen is a chargeless assurance blazon who played the canyon bigger than the run this accomplished season. His advantage abilities appear from actuality a acceptable amateur who takes able angles to the ball. Vereen got to aftertaste what the NFL is all about, and he could be a for a big additional season.
Coverage: 38/50; Run Defense: 20/30; Tackling: 8/15; Starter: 4/5
Thomas DeCoud (6’2”, 195 lbs, seven seasons) started 11 amateur this accomplished division for the Carolina Panthers. He recorded 49 absolute tackles and added one interception on the year. DeCoud’s 11 starts were all at the chargeless assurance position. DeCoud’s disability to awning receivers or bound ends and his abridgement of interceptions fabricated him a accountability for the Panthers. In the run game, he needs to comedy with constant address to annoyance bottomward opposing ball-carriers.
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Coverage: 37/50; Run Defense: 21/30; Tackling: 8/15; Starter: 4/5
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (6’1”, 208 lbs, one season) played in all 16 amateur but didn’t win the starting chargeless assurance atom until Week 7. Clinton-Dix recorded 91 absolute tackles and one interception in his amateur season. The aloft first-round aces out of Alabama got bigger as anniversary d went on. His adeptness to comedy the brawl in the air is what has abounding Packers admirers aflame about his future. Clinton-Dix has a allowance for consistently actuality about the brawl and does able-bodied in pass-coverage situations. His arrest adeptness will charge to advance to accomplish him a complete all-around safety.
Coverage: 36/50; Run Defense: 22/30; Tackling: 8/15; Starter: 4/5
Roman Harper (6’1”, 205 lbs, nine seasons) had a career-high four interceptions in 2014. With that actuality said, arena the canyon isn’t a absolute backbone for Harper. The 32-year-old is adequate as an in-the-box-safety at this date in his career. Not able with abundant speed, Harper depends on his instincts and acceptable arrest adeptness to be productive. The aloft Alabama artefact accomplished with 62 absolute tackles and one sack aftermost season.
Coverage: 38/50; Run Defense: 22/30; Tackling: 7/15; Starter: 3/5
Isa Abdul-Quddus (6’1”, 200 lbs, four seasons) started four amateur for the Detroit Lions at the chargeless assurance position in 2014. He is abundant added of a appropriate teams asset who can be an able amateur in concise stints. The aloft chargeless abettor from Fordham graded out a little aloft boilerplate in canyon advantage and run defense.
Coverage: 38/50; Run Defense: 21/30; Tackling: 8/15; Starter: 3/5
Louis Delmas (5’11”, 210 lbs, six seasons) started and played in 13 amateur aftermost division afore his division was cut abbreviate because of an ACL injury. The Miami Dolphins able assurance had 64 absolute tackles aftermost division to go forth with one interception, which he alternate 81 yards for a touchdown. Delmas has all the concrete measurables to be one of the best safeties in the NFL, and in some stretches of the season, he looks like one. Aberration has followed Delmas his accomplished career. He needs to blanket up added on his tackles instead of aggravating the beating out the opposing ball-carrier. He grades out able-bodied on his pass-coverage adeptness because of the alteration in his achievement and his acceptable straight-line speed.
Coverage: 31/50; Run Defense: 25/30; Tackling: 11/15; Starter: 3/5
Brandon Meriweather (5’11”, 198 lbs, eight seasons) lives for contact. To some, he is accepted for bargain shots added than his arena ability. Meriweather is the account of two adapted players aback it comes to his adeptness to avert the canyon adjoin the run. He grades out like a linebacker arena the assurance position, as he racked up 44 absolute tackles and three sacks on the season. The aloft Miami Hurricane tends to attempt aback it comes to arena coverage. Let’s aloof say Meriweather is your archetypal in-the-box assurance aggravating to abort ball-carriers.
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Coverage: 33/50; Run Defense: 25/30; Tackling: 8/15; Starter: 5/5
Kemal Ishmael (6’0”, 206 lbs, two seasons) started 10 amateur for the Atlanta Falcons this accomplished division while actualization in all 16 games. Ishmael had a career-high 99 absolute tackles and four interceptions, one of which he alternate for a touchdown. The aloft seventh-round aces from UCF played both assurance positions in 2014 but tends to fit the cast of a chargeless assurance more. Overall, Ishmael struggled in canyon advantage in his aboriginal year of starting mostly because of abridgement of acquaintance on the field.
Coverage: 33/50; Run Defense: 25/30; Tackling: 8/15; Starter: 5/5
T.J. Ward (5’10”, 200 lbs, bristles seasons) had an alive aboriginal division with the Denver Broncos. The able assurance from Oregon is a archetypal run-support assurance who accomplished with 81 absolute tackles, two sacks and two interceptions in 15 amateur this accomplished season. Ward’s pass-coverage adeptness was a botheration for him in 2014. Ward excels at aerial abatement to accomplish plays about the band of flat in the run game, about like an added linebacker in the box.
Coverage: 40/50; Run Defense: 20/30; Tackling: 6/15; Starter: 5/5
Rahim Moore (6’1”, 195 lbs, four seasons) had 50 absolute tackles while abacus four interceptions this accomplished season. Moore doesn’t accept the aristocratic acceleration that you would commonly see from the chargeless assurance position. He depends added on creating abundant angles. He connected to be a accountability adjoin the run in 2014. Breadth Moore makes his money is on the pass-coverage side. He has additional advantage abilities and best brawl skills. The aloft UCLA artefact is the archetypal centermost acreage blazon of chargeless safety.
Coverage: 37/50; Run Defense: 22/30; Tackling: 7/15; Starter: 5/5
Eric Berry (6’0”, 211 lbs, bristles seasons) was one of the hardest guys to rank. The aloft first-round aces from Tennessee had his division cut abbreviate due to actuality diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma. In the six amateur that Berry did comedy in, he recorded 41 absolute tackles. Aback Berry is on the field, his ambit in unprecedented, and as a tackler, he can accompany some adduce with him. For all football admirers out there, we achievement that Berry absolutely recovers from this, and hopefully we will get to see his abundant aptitude aback on the acreage in the a future.
Coverage: 31/50; Run Defense: 22/30; Tackling: 13/15; Starter: 5/5
Marcus Gilchrist (5’10” 198 lbs, four seasons) absolutely had a boxy year in canyon advantage in 2014. His development seemed to be slowed this accomplished season, as he needs to accomplish quicker decisions with no ashen movements in breadth coverages. There is no catechism that he has the acceleration to comedy the chargeless assurance position. Now he needs to absorb added time putting that acceleration to use and advancing the brawl with confidence. Gilchrist graded out appropriate about boilerplate with arena the run.
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Coverage: 38/50; Run Defense: 24/30; Tackling: 5/15; Starter: 4/5
Calvin Pryor (5’11”, 207, one season) was affected to comedy best of the division at a position his accomplishment sets don’t absolutely suit. Aback the Jets drafted Pryor out of Louisville in the aboriginal round, they accepted him to be their able safety. Because of injuries and poor play, Pryor was advance into the starting role at the chargeless assurance position. In his amateur season, he had 51 absolute tackles and a half-sack. It’s not adamantine to see that Pryor’s abilities clothing him abundant added as a bottomward in-the-box safety. Attending for the Jets to bung him there in 2015.
Bradley McDougald (6’1” 209 lbs, two seasons) was confused into the starting able assurance role for the final bristles amateur of the division in deathwatch of the Mark Barron trade. He accomplished the division with a absolute of 43 tackles and one interception. The interception and 32 of his 43 tackles came in those bristles starts. The aloft undrafted chargeless abettor from Kansas looks to be the appropriate fit in Lovie Smith’s Awning 2 defense. McDougald graded out aloft boilerplate in his pass-coverage adeptness while actuality aloof boilerplate in run-stopping ability.
Coverage: 40/50; Run Defense: 21/30; Tackling: 6/15; Starter: 5/5
Ron Parker (6’0”, 206 lbs, four seasons) spent the majority of the 2014 division arena the chargeless assurance position. He racked up 88 absolute tackles, one interception and one sack. Parker absolutely struggled adjoin the run aftermost season. He ranks a the basal of all safeties aback it came to endlessly the run. On the cast side, his pass-coverage abilities were hardly aloft average. He needs to advance added on alive plays and abide to appointment on his wrapping up abilities while tackling.
Coverage: 38/50; Run Defense: 21/30; Tackling: 8/15; Starter: 5/5
Aaron Williams (6’0” 199, four seasons) fabricated the about-face from the able assurance position to the chargeless assurance position in 2014, breadth he started 14 games. Williams racked up 68 absolute tackles and one interception. He is abundant bigger ill-fitted arena breadth advantage at the chargeless assurance position than absolute coverage. Affective to the chargeless assurance atom took abroad what Williams does best, though, which is appear abatement and accomplish tackles. The aloft Texas artefact is a complete tackler who is attractive to get added adequate with his new position and use added ambit to accomplish plays on assurance in the air.
Coverage: 41/50; Run Defense: 21/30; Tackling: 6/15; Starter: 4/5
Jimmy Wilson (5’11”, 205, four seasons) had a career-high 54 tackles and one interception this accomplished season. He has the aberrant adeptness to comedy assurance as able-bodied as appear bottomward and comedy the aperture bend position. His adeptness to get in and out of cuts and aqueous achievement acquiesce him to handle the baby quick guys inside. Wilson is a solid amateur who gets the best out of his adeptness and has stuck in the alliance by actuality an all-around aggregation guy.
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Kendrick Lewis (6’0″, 205, bristles seasons) enjoyed his best career division in his aboriginal year with the Houston Texans. In coverage, he showed the ambit to awning the boilerplate of the acreage and the adeptness to comedy over the top on receivers. He’s been acceptable abundant in advantage to bout up to the bound end, too. On the downside, Lewis accustomed over 60 percent of attempts befuddled his way to be completed while acrimonious off two passes.
Lewis has the admeasurement and breadth to booty on blockers and force the run aback to the boilerplate of the field. With his instincts, he’s apparent he can detect out the run and acquisition the brawl on comedy activity or misdirection. His angles are apple-pie aback in pursuit, and Lewis has apparent he has the acceleration to run the alleys and lay the bang on the ball.
Lewis was answerable with 14 absent tackles on the year, article that kept his accouterment account way bottomward admitting his 61 abandoned stops.
Lewis bound bottomward the starting chargeless assurance job for the Texans through 16 amateur in 2014, assuming the ambit and instincts to be the man in the boilerplate of the field.
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George Wilson (6’0”, 210 lbs, nine seasons) has been blame it about the alliance for a while now, aboriginal with the Buffalo Bills and now with the Tennessee Titans. Arresting the canyon was the backbone of his d aftermost season. Aback asked to bead in beneath zones, Wilson showed acceptable acquaintance and activity to get to the atom on time.
In what acclimated to be the able safety’s backbone to his game, run aegis was far from it aftermost season. Wilson struggled to get off blocks over and over again. Abacus that to his abridgement of run recognition, he ranked in the basal bristles in arresting the run this accomplished division from the assurance position.
Wilson had 74 absolute tackles on the season. Absent tackles were not too abundant of a problem, registering aloof six on the season. He’s never been accepted to be a big-time hitter, but he qualifies as a reliable tackler.
Wilson is currently a chargeless abettor attractive to acreage a job. As affected nears, if any injuries appear to any safeties, Wilson’s cardinal will be on top of the account of guys to call.
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Too abounding absolute assignments aching Michael Mitchell (6’0”, 210 lbs, six seasons) during his aboriginal division with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was consistently begin out of position and became abnormally capricious afterwards comedy action. Mitchell has the ambit and brawl abilities to be a acceptable starting assurance in the NFL, but he’ll never activity any amount to the Steelers if he is erfingers of award the football or arena aural the assemble of the system.
Because of his access and abiding straight-line speed, Mitchell can aing to the band of flat from a deep-lying assurance atom as able-bodied as anyone in the NFL. His athleticism makes him an able apostle adjoin amplitude runs adjoin either sideline. He doesn’t accept the strength-length aggregate to activity his way through bigger blockers in tight, but he can bend his anatomy and await on his activity to still be a confusing presence.
Mitchell’s address as a tackler isn’t a aloft issue. He can consistently accompany ball-carriers bottomward aback he locates them; his bigger affair is his bendability award the ball. He will run himself out of plays too about or aroma aback aggravating to band up big hits. Mitchell can accomplish big hits that jar the brawl loose, creating abeyant turnovers and incompletions.
The Steelers will be assured abundant bigger comedy from Mitchell during his additional division with the team. He can’t acquiesce to abate his own amount by arena with such poor discipline.
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Also addition adamantine guy to grade, Kurt Coleman (5’11”, 200 lbs, bristles season) was best up appropriate afore Week 1 kicked off by the Kansas City Chiefs. It angry out to be one of the best under-the-radar pickups in the league. He accounted for bisected of the team’s interception absolute while arena aloof 396 snaps. Coleman had three interceptions to go forth with six passes defensed.
Not the bigger of guys, Coleman handled himself OK in arresting the run. His abilities clothing him added of a chargeless assurance blazon that displays his playmaking adeptness on assurance in the air adjoin adverse the run. With that actuality said, his reads and reactions came out aloft boilerplate on seeing the run advance in advanced of him.
Coleman racked up 37 absolute tackles while missing aloof three tackles in bound snaps. His acceptability had been one assurance who isn’t attractive for abundant contact, but with this accomplished season, you could see he was added accommodating to blanket up on tackles rather than aloof bandy his anatomy at the ball-carrier.
Being absolutely able of arena both assurance positions, Coleman will accord the Panthers some added abyss with the crumbling Roman Harper and with the abandonment of Thomas DeCoud.
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For a connected time, Dwight Lowery (5’11”, 212 lbs, seven seasons) wasn’t accepted abundant for the affection of comedy he consistently displayed on the field. Lowery’s adeptness has consistently been primarily based on his conduct and consistency, rather than his athleticism and physicality. As such, he is not the best able assurance in the NFL, or one who stands out regularly. Aing 30 years of age bureau that Lowery’s athleticism isn’t accepting any better, but the abstruse aspects of his d abide to accomplish him a admired allotment overall.
A run apostle who can apprehend plays as they advance from abysmal spots on the field, Lowery is a accommodating tackler and an acquainted assurance in traffic. He can’t set the bend like Kam Chancellor or blaze through gaps like Earl Thomas, but he will consistently put himself in the best position to sustain the candor of the team’s run aegis as a whole.
There is a application to Lowery’s accouterment attempts that accomplish him bend out. His address is sound, and alike admitting his anatomy isn’t large, he can still be advised an appulse tackler because of his all-embracing access to advancing ball-carriers.
Not aback Antoine Bethea was in Indianapolis accept the Colts had a assurance as reliable as Dwight Lowery. He was miscast in a boxy bearings with the Atlanta Falcons aftermost year.
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It’s bright what the Arizona Cardinals apprehend with Deone Bucannon (6’1”, 208 lbs, one season). He will be accepted to fit into a Kam Chancellor blazon of role, about acting as a linebacker and safety. Admitting his size, he showed off absorbing alteration in alteration administration in breadth advantage aftermost year, but he needs to advance a greater bendability with his footwork, acquaintance and brawl abilities to absolutely be a admired allotment in coverage.
Because the Cardinals blurred the accuracy amid linebacker and assurance for Bucannon during his amateur season, he was fatigued in bureau best safeties aren’t adjoin the run. Asking Bucannon to consistently booty on guards in bound situations accepted to be too abundant admitting his size. Bucannon needs to appearance off bigger anatomy positions in bound and accept how to apprehend and acknowledge to alfresco runs to get the best out of his athleticism adjoin the run.
With Bucannon’s akin of athleticism, it’s accessible to be a apathetic tackler. That wasn’t the case with the amateur in 2014, though. He agreeably captivated up ball-carriers and collection through acquaintance by blurred his accept aback accustomed opportunities.
Bucannon is the blazon of allotment that is activity to accept a role aural the defense, but it’s cryptic whether that role requires him to start. The Cardinals accept affluence of antagonism at assurance in their abject packages, while a abeyant Daryl Washington acknowledgment could appulse his breeze calculation in nickel packages.
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There may not be a bigger abode in the NFL to comedy assurance (or cornerback) than in Buffalo. As allotment of the Bills’ aback seven, Duke Williams (5’11”, 201 lbs, two seasons) wasn’t tasked with awfully difficult assignments. The Bills’ adeptness to get burden with aloof four rushers anchored the amplitude for their safeties because they could army the coverage. Admitting that benefit, Williams still managed to booty poor angles adjoin the brawl and about looked to be a footfall abaft the breach mentally.
Williams is an advancing and accommodating run defender. He may not consistently accomplish the appropriate decision, but he works to acquisition the football in following and closes to the band of flat in a hurry. Afterwards the adeptness to run through bigger blockers, Williams has to await on his acceleration to shoot through gaps and advantage to appointment around/underneath opponents.
Although not a big player, Williams carries a about blubbery anatomy that allows him to appointment through ball-carriers at the point of contact. His issues appear added from poor angles than poor arrest address or a abridgement of strength.
Williams’ role in the aegis became added bound as the division went on aftermost year, but the abandonment of Da’Norris Searcy should advance him aback into a starting role aing season.
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Of the array of assurance options the Rams boast, Rodney McLeod (5’10”, 195 lbs, three seasons) is the abandoned accurate chargeless assurance on the abyss chart. His ambit and adeptness to apprehend routes as they advance beggarly that he is about the best fatigued apostle by appointment alive the boilerplate of the field. He is able to consistently accomplish acceptable decisions and put himself in the best position to awning the best space, while additionally possessing absorbing brawl abilities and awareness. Admeasurement is an affair for McLeod; he can’t be trusted in man advantage and can be taken advantage of at the t point because of it.
Controlled explosiveness is acute for McLeod’s adeptness in run defense. McLeod needs to await on his athleticism to atone for his limitations in diagnosing plays. While he’s not a bad clairvoyant of plays by any means, he’s additionally not acceptable abundant to advanced breadth the brawl is activity to exhausted blockers to spots. For an undersized assurance such as him, that is problematic.
Because of his size, McLeod is consistently activity to be a ambiguous tackler in the NFL. He artlessly doesn’t accept the backbone or breadth to consistently cull defenders to the ground. He has been a high-volume tackler over his accomplished two seasons as a starter, but the Rams will be acquisitive to abbreviate his acknowledgment with added able comedy advanced of him in 2015.
McLeod’s susceptibility adjoin the run makes his abiding bend as a amateur concerning. He needs to comedy abaft a ascendant advanced seven to absolutely activity amount to his secondary.
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Having never absolutely been a full-time starter, Stewart (5’11”, 214 lbs, bristles seasons) started 14 amateur for the Ravens aftermost season. Asking Stewart to comedy in man-coverage situations isn’t ideal. He is abundant added ill-fitted to comedy Awning 2 carapace and use his athleticism to apprehend the routes on receivers and bound ends. He tallied one interception aftermost season, abacus three passes defensed.
The South Carolina artefact bigger accepting off blocks this accomplished season. He still struggles at times with demography the appropriate angles to the ball-carrier and depends on his athleticism to save him.
Stewart tallied 53 absolute tackles aftermost division but had nine absent tackles. He tends to accept blessed anxiety aback advancing to accomplish tackles. His aggressiveness is great, but he can’t appear in out of ascendancy acquisitive to accomplish a accouterment about the band of scrimmage.
He looks to be slated as the starting chargeless assurance for the Denver Broncos this season. With Rahim Moore affective on to Houston, Stewart will be advancing it out with Omar Bolden for the starting spot, but it looks to be Stewart’s to lose.
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Wright (5’11”, 204 lbs, bristles seasons) started seven amateur aftermost division for the Buccaneers afore actuality placed on season-ending IR. While accoutrement the canyon has never been a absolute able clothing for the able safety, he graded out a little beneath average. Wright came over with Lovie Smith and was in the abysmal Awning 2 aegis as he was in Chicago. He had aught interceptions while breaking up aloof one pass.
Wright is absolutely added of a run apostle than canyon apostle any day and has been aback he aboriginal entered the alliance out of the University of Florida. In bound games, Wright has apparent he is added than able of advancing up and arresting in run defense.
Wright had 46 absolute tackles aftermost division while missing six tackles. He additionally totaled 12 stops on situations of arresting the aboriginal bottomward or the end zone. Wright doesn’t accept any absolute abilities that jump out at you; he is aloof a guy who seems to be in the appropriate places at the appropriate times to accomplish tackles.
Wright will be advancing it out in affected with arising able assurance Bradley McDougald for the starting atom in the Buccaneers defense. If he loses the battle, he will be added than able to booty over either assurance atom in a advancement role, as able-bodied as attempt on appropriate teams.
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Jaiquawn Jarrett (6’0”, 196 lbs, four seasons) took over the starting chargeless assurance position for the New York Jets for bristles amateur during the additional bisected of the season, announcement acceptable advantage adeptness in the casual d while additionally cutting up two interceptions. A additional appropriate teamer, Jarrett didn’t shy abroad from accepting a adventitious to be a starter.
In the run game, Jarrett graded out appropriate about the alliance average. He tended to comedy bigger actuality abroad from the band of flat and while adrift the abysmal assurance role. While he was a key contributor on appropriate teams, arresting the run is a little adapted than aloof accoutrement on kickoffs and punt returns.
He racked up a absolute of 27 tackles and 1.5 sacks. Jarrett totaled six absent tackles on the division and tended to attempt adjoin ball-carriers in one-on-one situations. It was boxy to brand out Jarrett, as he played a bound role backward in the division aback he assuredly got his chance.
Jarrett will best acceptable access affected aback in the advancement role, as the Jets alive Marcus Gilchrist in the offseason. With Calvin Pryor slotted to be at the able assurance spot, Jarrett will accept a boxy antagonism activity on with the newcomer Gilchrist.
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It’s boxy to acquisition effective, able safeties in today’s NFL because of how offenses access the game. Stevie Brown (5’11”, 215 lbs, four seasons) is an able and able assurance with absorbing athleticism and brawl skills. However, Brown is too inconsistent aural his accomplishment set to be advised one of the bigger safeties in the NFL.
Brown is a accommodating run apostle who is quick to apprehend blocks and access the band of flat on a snap-by-snap basis. He isn’t big, but he carries a blubbery anatomy and abundant short-area activity to appointment about blocks instead of angry through them.
Brown played a bound role in the Giants defense, but admitting not actuality on the acreage all the time, he was able to afresh acquisition his way to the football. He fabricated 37 tackles on 588 snaps, missing aloof bristles tackles.
With the Houston Texans in 2015, Brown will accept a adventitious to attempt for a starting spot. With the Giants in 2014, he was acutely aloof a commutual role player.
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Despite never establishing himself as a high-quality amateur with the Philadelphia Eagles, Nate Allen’s (6’0”, 210 lbs, bristles seasons) aptitude has consistently been obvious. He has the affectionate of ambit and athleticism that allows him to finer act as a single-high safety, while actuality beefy abundant and big abundant to bead into the box and aggressively awning bound ends in man coverage. Bendability and controlling are what authority Allen aback from actuality a high-quality starter.
Allen has the admeasurement and adeptness to activity through blocks and will aggressively dart downfield aback he recognizes gaps in the offense’s blocking schemes. Allen’s acuteness is inconsistent on a snap-by-snap basis, which hurts his run-defense rating.
While arena added than 1,100 snaps, Allen absent aloof nine tackles aftermost season. He wasn’t a high-volume tackler admitting actuality on the acreage so much, though.
Because of his inconsistency, it’s adamantine to buy into Allen as a starting assurance in the NFL. He has the talent, and if he realizes that aptitude on a added approved basis, he could become what the Oakland Raiders achievement he can be.
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Rafael Bush (5’11”, 205 lbs, four seasons) is a ample assurance who is bigger ill-fitted to band up abysmal in a Awning 2 aegis than any other. He has acceptable instincts afterwards abundant athleticism and a alertness to be advancing already he has apprehend the play. That aggressiveness can appointment adjoin him, as the league’s added accomplished passers accept been able to dispense him with their eyes. Bush is aces of accidental to a affection NFL defense, but he was overstretched with the Saints aftermost season.
With a well-built, bunched frame, Bush has the adeptness to bear abundant block attempts in bound situations. His ample athleticism additionally allows him to appointment sideline-to-sideline and aing on the band of flat in a bustle from abysmal alignments.
A high-volume tackler who absent actual few tackles aftermost season, Bush is congenital able-bodied to accompany bottomward all kinds of ball-carriers while assuming off the address that gets the best out of his able-bodied ability.
The Saints anticipation abundant of Bush to ahead him from abrogation for the Atlanta Falcons aftermost year, but Jairus Byrd and Kenny Vaccaro abide the favorites to alpha in New Orleans.
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Rob Ryan’s use of his safeties in 2014 was actual questionable. The arresting coordinator didn’t acquiesce his players to comedy to their strengths, and cipher was a bigger archetype of that than Kenny Vaccaro (6’0”, 214 lbs, two seasons). Afterwards about actuality a cornerback/safety during his amateur season, Vaccaro was asked to comedy added from the band of flat in added amplitude aftermost year. His aggressiveness in this role fabricated it accessible for opposing quarterbacks to consistently advance him. Vaccaro was eventually benched, abundantly because of his disability to be able in coverage.
Despite his abridgement of abundance in advantage from a abysmal position, Vaccaro showed off an adeptness to be acclimatized in following on the additional level. He could locate and ample gaps adjoin the run and appointment from amusement to amusement adjoin amplitude plays.
Vaccaro is an advancing tackler who brand to bound into tackles to annoyance ball-carriers to the arena with his athleticism. His address is about good, but in his adapted role in the defense, he struggled with closing on defenders accurately in space.
Many of Vaccaro’s failings aftermost year can be abhorrent on the apprenticeship agents and injuries. He will charge time to advance into his role afterwards arena afterpiece to the band of flat as a rookie.
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T.J. McDonald (6’2”, 217 lbs, two seasons) is a prototypal box assurance in today’s NFL. His advantage adeptness isn’t ever impressive, but McDonald accepted over the additional bisected of aftermost division that he has abundant ambit and acquaintance to not be a accountability in space. If he can sustain that bendability alive adjoin bound ends and patrolling the boilerplate of the acreage in breadth coverage, afresh his strengths adjoin the run will accomplish him a admired allotment for the Rams aegis affective forward.
A burglary amateur with the admeasurement and backbone to abstract his way through cartage and the all-embracing acceleration to aing on the brawl from adapted spots on the field, McDonald’s abandoned affair is his bendability with his conduct and acquaintance in anticipating or advancing plays.
McDonald consistently looks like a linebacker not aloof because of his size, but because he combines the controlled acuteness and abstruse abundance that the best tacklers in the NFL all boast. He has the adeptness to aing on ball-carriers in a bustle afore exploding through them, as able-bodied as the adeptness to cull ball-carriers bottomward from abaft in pursuit, relying on his address and arm strength.
McDonald will be fending off antagonism for arena time in 2015, but his comedy during the additional bisected of aftermost division suggests that he will backpack a arresting role in the aegis affective advanced regardless.
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Noted as a appropriate teams performer, Miles (6’2”, 211 lbs, bristles seasons) showed he can accomplish aback alleged upon. In two starts and bound to 365 absolute snaps, Miles accounted for one interception. He showed that he is able-bodied abundant to awning bound ends one-on-one as able-bodied as comedy some in-the-box safety.
Miles has the admeasurement to do accident in the run game. His anatomy apparel him altogether for a able assurance type. Although he graded out about boilerplate adjoin the run, there is added in the catchbasin to advance on that. As he gets added accustomed with acquainted the run play, he will be able to acknowledge afterwards cerebration so much.
He tallied 28 absolute tackles but added four absent tackles to his total. As mentioned, Miles has abundant admeasurement to comedy the assurance position but charge blanket up bigger as able-bodied as drive through the ball-carrier.
Although Miles abounding in accurately aftermost division at times for the Ravens, he still projects as a appropriate teamer who can be slated in the starting calendar in case of an injury.
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Ever aback his canicule as a advancement on the Pittsburgh Steelers, Ryan Mundy (6’1”, 209 lbs, six seasons) has been a reliable, if limited, football player. He is a acceptable amateur but is somewhat beeline for the assurance position. Mundy’s ambit prevents him from actuality an able single-high assurance in Awning 3 or Awning 1, but he can excel aback the acreage is squashed down, and he can await on his instincts to breach on receivers and the football. With his length, he is able to accomplish up for any apathetic reactions or abridgement of athleticism in space.
Mundy can move about the acreage and be acclimated in adapted bureau because of his abundance arresting the run added than his abundance in space. Advancing into the alliance and arena beneath Dick LeBeau meant that a focus on actuality a acceptable run apostle was absolute in him from aboriginal in his career. The rewards of that charge are actuality reaped now, as Mundy understands how to analyze plays as they advance and can appointment his way through blockers with his athleticism.
Mundy had added than 100 tackles aftermost year on beneath than 1,000 snaps. He is a high-volume tackler who possesses the aggressiveness and athleticism to acreage big hits in space.
If put in a bigger situation, like he was in 2013 with the New York Giants, Mundy can be a admired starter. In Chicago with the Bears, he was an overshadowed absolute on a bleak arresting unit.
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In eight starts this accomplished division for the Indianapolis Colts, Sergio Brown (6’2”, 218 lbs, bristles seasons) showed that he is added than able of actuality a starting assurance in the NFL. Spending best of his time at the able assurance position, Brown showed the adeptness to awning bound ends and abounding the zones on canyon defense. A apparent assurance not accepted for his acceleration depends a acceptable bit on actuality in the appropriate abode at the appropriate time from blur study.
Defending the run, he was a little aloft boilerplate aftermost season. Because of the abridgement of linebacker abyss the Colts had, he had to comedy afterpiece to the band of flat as an in-the-box safety.
For his size, Brown doesn’t blanket up abundant and takes too abounding ball-carriers on up high. He racked up 33 absolute tackles while abacus six misses. This is one breadth Brown needs to bank up if he wants to get amateur minutes.
Brown is slated to be the starting chargeless assurance for the Jacksonville Jaguars this season. Not accepting too abundant to attempt against, it will be absorbing to see how able-bodied Brown does if he’s able to alpha all 16 games.
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Ranking Troy Polamalu (5’10”, 207 lbs, 12 seasons) as the 32nd assurance in the NFL may assume casuistic based on his reputation, but the affection of his comedy in contempo years makes it boxy to advance Polamalu any higher. During his prime, Polamalu was a adventuresome amateur whose athleticism accustomed him to booty advantage of his instincts to consistently accomplish big plays. During his final season, aback his athleticism had beneath dramatically, Polamalu became a liability. His bad decisions in advantage were commonly punished, while his acceptable decisions no best bore bake-apple because he wasn’t fast abundant to get to the brawl consistently.
Even as his athleticism in amplitude declined, Polamalu still showed off absorbing backbone and activity to appointment through acquaintance as a box safety. He could band up as a linebacker and abstract accomplished bound ends off the bend aback anticipating the breeze to agitate alive plays.
Struggling added to accompany bottomward added ambiguous alive backs and receivers in space, Polamalu’s absent tackles were about accessible to see. He still showed off acceptable backbone and address at the point of acquaintance aback he could aing on plays appropriately enough.
In truth, Polamalu is abandoned ranked this aerial on the account because of the low affection of safeties beyond the league. He should be a Hall of Fame amateur one day, but he was allotment of the problem, not the solution, for the Steelers accessory in 2014.
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For as connected as Bernard Pollard (6’1”, 226 lbs, nine seasons) has been in the NFL, he has been assort as a able safety. Alike admitting Pollard is at his best aback lined up afterpiece to the band of scrimmage, his versatility is greater than his acceptability suggests. He can calmly band up abysmal in Awning 2 looks, relying on his controlling and acquaintance to apprehend avenue combinations and breach on the ball.
Despite his admeasurement and strength, Pollard’s run aegis wasn’t as absorbing in 2014 as it has been in seasons past. Allotment of his struggles were actuality affected to accord with added abhorrent linemen instead of bound ends or cutting gaps, but best significantly, he needs to ascendancy his aggressiveness to abstain demography himself out of plays.
Because he was afflicted aboriginal in the season, Pollard had bound acknowledgment as a tackler in 2014. His aggregate of concrete backbone and address allows him to both abuse receivers and bound accompany bottomward bigger ball-carriers.
Pollard could accept been a key allotment for the Titans aftermost year, but that was prevented by injury. Afterwards actuality appear by the franchise, he has remained bearding as a chargeless agent.
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Jim Leonhard (5’8”, 188 lbs) connected to baffle expectations in his 10th NFL season. He already afresh accepted he can comedy a admired role as a atom starter, appropriate teams ace and able sub-package awning man. With bound size, there will consistently be times aback Leonhard artlessly can’t compete, but he’s a dog to accord with beneath and has the address to about-face and run with aperture receivers, backs and bound ends. And with two interceptions on the year, he’s apparent the calmly to accomplish plays aback challenged.
Leonhard started the final bristles amateur of the year for the Browns, and in that time he showed that as a chargeless assurance he has ambit and a acceptable feel for angles in pursuit. The downside is that he’s activity to get bumped off the band a lot by affective blockers and isn’t the best advantage in short-yardage situations.
An able tackler in space, Leonhard’s four absent tackles adjoin his 27 abandoned stops was a poor arrangement that was backed up on film. He has to be added advancing aing the ball-carrier and be accommodating to booty on head-up tackles.
Leonhard appear afterwards the division that he planned to retire, but don’t aphorism out Rex Ryan calling him already the division begins for addition reunion.
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A beeline amateur with bound brawl abilities and awareness. LaRon Landry (6’0”, 226 lbs, seven seasons) is a assurance who artlessly wasn’t congenital to comedy in this era of football. His allure with bloating his anatomy to greater sizes every offseason has absolutely batty his career, because it has hindered his adeptness to be adjustable in amplitude while additionally slowing his straight-line speed.
Considering his size, it shouldn’t be any abruptness that Landry is able to authority his own adjoin bigger bound ends and abhorrent linemen aback asked to bulwark off blockers adjoin the run. He plays with acceptable activity and possesses a agitated band that makes him one of the tougher assignments for any run-blocker in the league.
Landry was a added agitated tackler aback he was lighter, but his aggregate and backbone in contempo years has still fabricated him a adamantine hitter. He is a high-volume amateur with acceptable address who can consistently bead ball-carriers afterwards acceptance ground. If you can’t awning in the NFL, you accept to be able to tackle.
Another abeyance and actuality appear by the Indianapolis Colts may accept brought a abortive end to Landry’s career. He is aloof 30 years old, but the risks could outweigh the rewards at this point.
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The San Francisco 49ers will be acquisitive that Eric Reid’s (6’1”, 213 lbs, two seasons) aboriginal division in the NFL is added apocalyptic of what his career will be than his additional season. Reid has accustomed advantage adeptness with the ambit to be one of the best deep-lying safeties in the NFL. He can comedy the brawl in the air calmly and apprehend routes as they advance from a abysmal position. However, his bendability during his additional year was decidedly worse than it was during his aboriginal division in the league. He was outshone by adept Antoine Bethea alongside him.
Under Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers abandoned invested in arresting backs who were accommodating run defenders. Reid reads and reacts to alive plays able-bodied and has the athleticism to aing on the band of flat quickly. He doesn’t berserk activity through contact, but he doesn’t artlessly abide to blocks either.
Reid has the adeptness to abstract receivers up over the boilerplate of the field, but he puts added of an accent on bringing ball-carriers to the arena with address rather than relying on his athleticism.
As a 23-year-old assurance at this level, Reid was accepted to accept inconsistencies. How he responds to those inconsistencies will actuate his future, but he’s too accomplished to not be a starter.
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The affection of Husain Abdullah’s (6’0”, 204 lbs, six seasons) comedy is heavily abased on what you ask of him. While this is a account that is about accurate about all players in the NFL, it’s decidedly the case with Abdullah. He can excel in tighter breadth coverages aback his athleticism isn’t ever tested. He’s not necessarily a bad athlete; he aloof doesn’t avowal aberrant range. Abdullah is bigger at account avenue combinations and cautiously adjusting his accession to advanced and acclimatize to breadth the brawl is going.
Although a reliable tackler and able amateur in coverage, Abdullah can be apathetic to acknowledge to alive plays. He doesn’t accept the closing acceleration to band up abysmal and still awning the band of flat from amusement to sideline.
Abdullah played added than 1,000 snaps and absent aloof 10 tackles aftermost year. He carries a able-bodied anatomy that allows him to accomplish able tackles adjoin bigger players, but he additionally won’t consistently abuse abate players. He is stronger than he is explosive.
At affliction a reliable role player, Abdullah doesn’t acquire the aforementioned affectionate of aptitude as assistant Eric Berry, but he’s an important antithesis to whoever plays able assurance in Kansas City out of Berry or Ron Parker.
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2014 was an important division for the career of George Iloka (6’4”, 220 lbs, three seasons). He has caked his cachet as one of the bigger starting safeties in the NFL and as an important allotment for the Bengals secondary. Iloka’s breadth and backbone to accomplish plays at the t point is actual impressive, but it would be abandoned afterwards his conduct and ambit in coverage. Iloka can’t act as a abandoned chargeless safety, but he is actual able aback put in Awning 2 or abode coverages breadth he can analyze plays to be proactive in award the football.
With Reggie Nelson alongside him, the Bengals accept arguably the best run-stopping brace of safeties in the NFL. Iloka offers greater admeasurement and backbone to appointment his way through blocks and acquisition the football. His acquaintance and bendability at the accouterment point allows him to calmly accompany bottomward bigger ball-carriers and added ambiguous ball-carriers.
Iloka’s breadth and backbone accord him the concrete accomplishment to acreage big hits on receivers alive over the boilerplate of the field. He combines that atomic adeptness with constant address to accomplish the simple plays as able-bodied as the blatant ones.
He’s still a about amateur player, but Iloka should be entering his prime at 25 years of age this season. He could still advance into one of the best safeties in the NFL.
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In his aboriginal NFL season, Tre Boston (6’1”, 205 lbs) capitalized on the advantage abilities he showed at North Carolina and bigger aloft the aberration he showed in his final division of college. Boston wasn’t targeted often, arena sparingly—just 14 times, acceptance eight catches—but he accepted he can bout up in man or breadth advantage and has the size/speed aggregate to handle able advantage responsibilities.
Playing the run was accustomed for Boston, and he hit the arena alive as a pro. From the chargeless assurance position—often in a single-high look—he showed abundant instincts and ambit with able believability as a tackler in space. And while his apocryphal accomplish can be bigger upon, his aboriginal division was a success.
Boston absent aloof two accouterment attempts in bound arena time, but we’re allocation him added on what he did aback he had the adventitious to accomplish plays, and there he comes up actual well. His adeptness and anatomy as a tackler in amplitude and in cartage denticulate actual well.
Boston started aloof bristles games, actualization in 11, during the 2014 season, but he has apparent himself actual able of captivation bottomward a full-time starting job.
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In Donte Whitner (5’10”, 208 lbs, nine seasons), the Cleveland Browns accept a prototypal able assurance for today’s NFL. The accent arresting aback brings animality and intelligence to the boilerplate of the field, while boasting abundant ambit to be trusted in adapted coverages. Whitner won’t lock bottomward bound ends in man coverage, but he can be acclimated that way on a approved basis. So connected as he is commutual with a gangling chargeless safety, Whitner can be a actual admired allotment for any defense.
Despite not actuality a big safety, Whitner is strong, advancing and concrete adjoin contact. He will use his calmly to ascendancy bottom blockers and activity through bigger blockers. Whitner plays aggressively but additionally shows off the ascendancy and acquaintance to acknowledge to adverse and amplitude plays outside.
For as connected as Whitner has been in the NFL, he has been a acceptable tackler who decreases his capability by aggravating to acreage big hits too often.
Although axis 30 years of age afore the alpha of the season, Whitner still appears to be in his prime. He will abide an important allotment of the Cleveland Browns secondary.
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Tony Jefferson (5’11, 212 lbs, two seasons) took the starting able assurance job during the 2014 division acknowledgment to his concrete attendance in advantage and the ambit he shows accurate plays all over the field. Aback akin up in man coverage—something the Cardinals adulation to do—he has the backbone to booty on bound ends and the achievement to bout up adjoin backs. Jefferson isn’t an interception threat—he’s yet to column a aces in his pro career—but banned targets and gave up aloof 27 catches on the year.
Whether it’s in the box or advancing abatement from a abysmal assurance look, Jefferson identifies the run able-bodied and is accommodating to booty on blockers. His stout anatomy keeps him low to the ground, which allows for abundant leverage. Jefferson will appetite to appointment on bigger angles aback advancing up to comedy the run, but he graded out actual able-bodied for a second-year player.
Jefferson is able of actuality a backbreaking tackler, but added impressively is the believability he brings to the table. He had 67 abandoned tackles and missed aloof eight attempts. He has accepted himself to be a constant amateur in space.
The ancient undrafted chargeless abettor from Oklahoma has become a rock-solid amateur at both chargeless and able safety. He can apprehend a big payday already he becomes a belted chargeless abettor afterwards the 2015 season.
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A burst ACL at the end of his amateur division affected Tyrann Mathieu (5’9”, 186 lbs, two seasons) to acclimatize his access in 2014. The assurance was added bound athletically as he alternate from the abrasion and dealt with the ache of cutting a brace. Bound athleticism meant that Mathieu had to become beneath of a nickel cornerback in man advantage and comedy added like a acceptable safety. Admitting the adapted approach, he was able to appearance off absorbing awareness, brawl abilities and able while arena disciplined, controlled football in space. Mathieu is bound axis into one of the best absorbing arresting backs in the NFL.
Being a abate arresting aback in the NFL consistently puts a greater focus on said defender’s adeptness to appointment about blockers in bound situations. Mathieu relies on his access and adaptability to be a bureau in the alive game, but while cutting a brace and convalescent from his knee injury, he didn’t comedy to his abounding potential.
Mathieu’s role was bound throughout the accomplished season, so he couldn’t be a high-volume tackler. Predictably, he is a added able tackler adjoin abate players in amplitude rather than aback he attacks the band of flat adjoin bigger ball-carriers.
Mathieu should acknowledgment to actuality a acute allotment of the Arizona Cardinals’ aegis in 2015.
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In his seventh division in the NFL, James Ihedigbo (6’1”, 217 lbs) assuredly begin his absolute fit. Arena in a aegis that didn’t charge to assault actual often, alongside a able and able assurance and abaft a high-quality advantage linebacker, Ihedigbo was rarely fatigued in coverage. He abandoned bare to be acclimatized and constant in his assignments that about asked him to convoying a attenuated breadth of the acreage as the aegis awash its coverage.
While not actuality ever fatigued in coverage, Ihedigbo bare to appearance off his amount somewhere. Throughout his career he has been a acute and burning run apostle who attacks the band of flat with controlled aggression. He showed those ancestry off already afresh in 2014.
While actuality an advancing and able run apostle in agreement of account blocks and award the football, Ihedigbo wasn’t a acceptable tackler in 2014. His abridgement of athleticism in amplitude causes him to overcompensate with assailment that negates his backbone by demography abroad his antithesis and control.
Ihedigbo is assured of his starting atom in Detroit aing division artlessly because there is cipher in position to claiming him. The Lions were too focused abroad on their agenda during the offseason.
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Morgan Burnett (6’1”, 209 lbs, bristles seasons) has never been a abundant awning safety, but allotment of his struggles accept consistently been how he has been used. In 2014, he was able to comedy with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, a added accustomed amplitude assurance who could handle the deep-lying assignments aback the Packers acclimated them. Burnett still had abysmal assignments, but there were added opportunities for him to be a forward-moving apostle rather than addition who was attempting to drag and position himself afterwards a backpedal.
Burnett has the affectionate of anatomy that allows him to counterbalance up to bound ends and abhorrent linemen. He plays with the affectionate of address and abandon that allows him to use that anatomy effectively. Burnett is as acceptable of a run apostle as you’ll acquisition in the NFL. He is intelligent, advancing and able in aggregate he does whether he curve up in the box or added from the band of scrimmage.
While arena 1,090 snaps, Burnett absent aloof nine tackles. He fabricated 114 tackles and landed affluence of big hits while accomplishing so. Sometimes he can be overaggressive in the bend he takes to the football, but those snaps are few and far between.
Burnett is about an ideal able safety. He could activity greater versatility and bendability in coverage, but aback acclimated correctly, he is a actual admired starter.
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The aloft cornerback struggled with his controlling and bendability in advantage while arena for the New Orleans Saints. In Philadelphia, Malcolm Jenkins (6’0”, 204 lbs, six seasons) rectified those issues and became one of the added admired and able awning safeties in the NFL. He has the accomplishment set to bead bottomward into man advantage adjoin bound ends and the ambit to be a deep-lying assurance in Awning 1 or Awning 3 looks from the secondary. His brawl abilities accept been inconsistent in seasons past, but they were beneath of an affair in 2014.
Whatever the Philadelphia Eagles coaches did for Jenkins afterwards signing him in chargeless agency, it worked. The arresting aback who ahead looked abashed and abashed alive his way adjoin ball-carriers in following played with a greater aggressiveness and acuteness on a snap-by-snap base aftermost season.
Jenkins has never absolutely been a bad tackler; he’s aloof never been a accommodating tackler. There were times during his career breadth he showed so abundant averseness that it was absurd to acclaim him as a run apostle or abiding tackler. Not abandoned was he a abundant bigger tackler in 2014 than in any antecedent season, but he additionally showed off his adeptness to accomplish big hits aback opportunities arose.
Jenkins is a absolutely adapted amateur now compared to what he was aloof 12 months ago. The amount of a gangling assurance who can accouterment and accomplish plays on the brawl is huge in the NFL. Jenkins may not be on the akin of the absolutely abundant safeties in the alliance appropriate now, but he’s abandoned a bank or two below.
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Returning to the Patriots afterwards a year with the Eagles, Patrick Chung looked abundant added adequate in advantage at able assurance and arena underneath. Aback asked to bead abysmal into coverage, Chung did not accept the accomplishment set to handle accelerated downfield threats or bound ends up the seam. Aback best effective, Chung is able to band up afterpiece to the band of flat in a breadth defense, which is what the Patriots asked him to do.
The adeptness to comedy with such assailment is a aberration for an undersized safety. You adeptness apprehend that affectionate of comedy from a Kam Chancellor and his amazing admeasurement at safety, but Chung brings it with his 5’11”, 210-pound frame. He loves to comedy abatement and has no botheration bushing gaps and accurate plays on ball-carriers. Closing acceleration is an affair for Chung; however, he is able to accomplish up for that with acceptable instincts and the adeptness to apprehend the offense.
Chung was one of the added constant tacklers in 2014, recording 63 abandoned tackles and abandoned missing 11. The adeptness to comedy bigger than he is has consistently been a key for Chung adjoin bigger backs—as able-bodied as actuality able to use his activity and instincts to accompany bottomward quicker players.
After a bottomward year with the Eagles, Chung rebounded accurately and played in a added adequate role for himself at able safety. The Patriots charge accept additionally acquainted added adequate with Chung aback in the mix, as the aggregation re-signed the adept assurance to a three-year accord this offseason.
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Dawan Landry showed abundant advance in his adeptness to bead in advantage and accomplish plays on the brawl aftermost season. While Landry abandoned had one canyon aegis and no interceptions, he gave up abandoned two touchdowns in 2014. Acceptance quarterbacks to complete 72.5 percent of their passes in his area, Landry charge do a bigger job in advantage if he wants to stick in the pass-heavy NFL.
If it weren’t for a 97-tackle division in 2011, Landry would accept bristles after seasons of 100-plus tackles. Recording addition 107 in 2014, per NFL.com, Landry showed his adeptness to aing on the brawl and comedy central the bow at able safety. Landry is a archetypal able assurance in that he does not consistently attending adequate in advantage but has no botheration dispatch in the box and accurate plays in the alive game.
Being a run-stopping safety, Landry charge be constant in his tackling. And he is. Abandoned missing three tackles in his 970 snaps, Landry accepted that he is still one of the surest tacklers at his position. At times, Landry looks added like an undersized linebacker because of his adeptness to comedy the run and accomplish tackles.
It’s amazing that the No. 16 assurance on our account is still analytic for work. The 32-year-old could attending to accumulate with drillmaster Rex Ryan in Buffalo as a bargain and reliable advantage to go forth with Aaron Williams.
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Da’Norris Searcy does not accept abounding ancestry that stick out on film. He doesn’t accept aberrant speed, admeasurement or hands. But he does get the job done and plays able-bodied beneath in breadth coverage. As an able player, Searcy is able to sit and apprehend the quarterback and knows aback to advice his teammates. In the appropriate matchups, Searcy can handle man coverage, but best of the time he will charge to be on a aback underneath.
Searcy is not advancing adjoin the run but is able to put himself in position to accomplish to plays. Defective the closing acceleration to accompany ball-carriers is one limitation Searcy has that has aching him from acceptable a solid apostle in advantage and adjoin the run. Decreasing his cardinal of absent tackles was huge, as he saw that cardinal appear bottomward from nine in 2013 to aloof six in 2014.
Having connected accoutrements and acquirements how to use them in arrest was the aberration in 2014. Afterwards accepting agitation with absent tackles, Searcy was able to acquisition bureau to accompany bottomward ball-carriers and accomplish bigger contact. He is still not an accurate tackler but did get the job done in 2014.
Starting in 13 amateur in 2014, Searcy was a reliable apostle for the Bills and helped the adolescent aegis booty addition footfall advanced in its progression. The Titans additionally took agenda of Searcy’s comedy and alive the assurance to a four-year accord and accept slotted him to alpha at able assurance aing to Michael Griffin.
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There’s no catechism that Danieal Manning’s (5’11”, 212 lbs, eight seasons) athleticism has beneath badly over contempo years. It appeared to be the capital accuracy he couldn’t accomplish the Cincinnati Bengals’ agenda afore the division began. The 32-year-old was never a abundant amateur in the aboriginal place, which helps him be a added able amateur now. That is because Manning has consistently relied on his conduct and acquaintance in amplitude to be an able player. He can’t be overstretched by difficult assignments but can still be an able amateur in breadth advantage and on specific assignments in man coverage.
A actual concrete amateur who attacks blockers with a controlled physicality, Manning understands anatomy accession and aback he needs to artlessly try and bite his way through to the football. He has limitations in following in amplitude aback asked to about-face and hunt bottomward a ball-carrier.
Manning absent aloof one accouterment on 591 snaps aftermost season. That is incredible. He may not acquisition his way to the football as about as in seasons past, but he still makes plays like he is one of the best arrest safeties in the league.
Manning’s role should apparently abide reduced, but it’s so difficult to acquisition affection assurance comedy in any affectionate of role today. Teams should still ambition Manning as a starter.
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Will Hill’s (6’1”, 228 lbs, three seasons) appulse for the Baltimore Ravens in 2014 was abandoned bound by the cardinal of snaps he played. The able assurance isn’t the bigger amateur in the NFL, but he has a able-bodied advantage appearance that allows him to aggressively activity bigger bound ends in press-man coverage. His quick-twitch athleticism allows him to stick with those players through their routes while he understands how to use his breadth to acquisition the football at the t point.
Playing afterpiece to the band of flat bureau you charge be added adamant adjoin acquaintance than if larboard in amplitude added often. Hill wasn’t one to bandy bigger blockers to the ancillary afore award the football, but he additionally wasn’t confused off his atom easily. His backbone and adeptness to apprehend the alive aback stood out regularly.
Hill is a technically complete tackler who is able to abuse abate defenders while application his all-embracing athleticism to cull bigger defenders to the arena behindhand of the bearings he finds himself in.
Hill should be a abundant added arresting allotment in the Ravens aegis in 2015. His accomplishment set is a attenuate one beyond the NFL appropriate now. So connected as the Ravens don’t overextend him and ask him to act as a single-high assurance too often, he will be an basic allotment of their secondary.
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Antoine Bethea (5’11”, 206 lbs, nine seasons) appears to be adequate the prime of his career. At 30 years of age, the assurance combines abundant concrete ancestry to still be a actual able amateur with the abstruse abilities and acquaintance to get the best out of them. His adeptness to analyze plays from abysmal zones and acclimatize aback lined up beneath makes him one of the 49ers’ best admired defenders. He will be a acute allotment for a aggregation that is aback defective adept players through the back of its defense.
Bethea is a run apostle who relies added on his adeptness to analyze and advanced plays than his athleticism to aing amplitude in pursuit. He understands how to apprehend the movement of abhorrent linemen to get to spots afore defenders on alfresco runs while still actuality airy abundant adjoin acquaintance to authority his arena amid the tackles.
Bethea played added than 1,050 snaps aftermost year and absent aloof 13 tackles. That affectionate of bendability doesn’t appear afterwards aesthetic technique, but what makes Bethea best absorbing as a tackler is the short-area explosiveness of his bunched frame. He relies beneath on his breadth and added on his aggressiveness and backbone to accompany ball-carriers to the ground.
One of the bigger free-agent additions that any aggregation has fabricated over the accomplished few seasons, Bethea is still one of the best safeties in the NFL.
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Reggie Nelson (5’11”, 210 lbs, eight seasons) consistently seems to be the abandoned assurance aback it’s time to altercate the best starters in the NFL. Arena on a Cincinnati Bengals aegis that is ample with high-quality starters has played a role in that, but added cogent is Nelson’s abridgement of one absolutely abundant trait. Instead of accepting absurd ambit or animality like some of his peers, Nelson relies on discipline, footwork, intelligence and athleticism to be one of the best ample players in the NFL. This is decidedly axiomatic in his advantage ability, as he can band up in any atom on the acreage to still be effective.
Nelson’s brainy accuracy is such that he diagnoses alive plays and avenue combinations as able-bodied as any assurance in the league. His acceleration to admit what the breach is accomplishing is important because he doesn’t accept the aggregate to consistently get off blocks. He can activity through acquaintance but needs to win with his calmly and activity rather than arduous power.
While not a big safety, Nelson is abundant and actual physical. He combines his aggregate with a access and address that acquiesce him to latch assimilate ball-carriers of all adapted sizes in adapted situations. Nelson played aloof beneath 1,200 snaps aftermost division and absent abandoned 11 tackles (playoffs included).
One of the best underappreciated players beyond the accomplished league, Nelson’s amount will acceptable abandoned be accomplished by best already he has ancient the game.
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Ranked afresh in the top 10 safeties, Reshad Jones (6’1”, 215 lbs, bristles seasons) is one of the best able able safeties in the game. Jones sees affluence of activity in man advantage adjoin AFC East bound ends. Opposing quarterbacks targeted him 24 times for 15 catches on the year, and he surrendered three touchdowns. It’s those touchdowns that accumulate his account down, as Jones could be bigger in the red zone.
A stout presence, Jones doesn’t accord up on a comedy and is accommodating to booty on blockers to accomplish the tackle. He’s abundant in pursuit, too, assuming off acceleration and an compassionate of angles to accomplish the comedy downfield. Jones does a abundant job account the comedy and befitting himself active.
Jones isn’t abashed to be concrete at the point of attack, and he showed with his 79 abandoned tackles and one affected lix that he can stick ball-carriers and accomplish a comedy in amplitude or in traffic. Jones is an adept tackler, too, acceptation he’ll lower the bang aback accustomed the chance.
A accurate top-10 safety, Jones is a baton and basal allotment for the Dolphins defense.
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Mike Adams’ (5’11”, 200 lbs) 11th division in the NFL was his best, as he begin an ideal fit with an advancing Indianapolis Colts defense. From his atom at able safety, Adams was able to appulse advantage by lining up beyond from bound ends and additionally alive in abysmal zones. Unlike some able safeties, Adams was acclimated added in man coverage. He saw 36 targets on the year, of which he accustomed 25 catches for two touchdowns. But he additionally showed off his calmly and playmaking skills, announcement a career-high bristles interceptions.
Adams absolutely has the admeasurement to accomplish plays adjoin the run, and in 2014, we saw him become added of a bureau in the box. The Colts acclimated him about on the bend of the formation—especially in short-yardage situations—and asked Adams to be a accurate bend defender. In that role, he could bend to be bigger adjoin blockers but can accept an impact.
With 76 abandoned tackles, Adams fabricated his mark on the defense. In those attempts, he did absence 10 tackles but showed himself to be stout at the point of advance and accommodating to booty on ball-carriers head-up.
At 34 years old, it’s absurd Adams is a abiding accoutrement for the Colts defense, but he showed in 2014 that he’s able of captivation bottomward the starting job at a aerial level.
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A third-year amateur out of Wyoming, Tashaun Gipson (5’11”, 205 lbs) has accepted to be a playmaker at the chargeless assurance position. In 2014, he acquaint six interceptions and a affected lix while attached targets to 12 catches on aloof 20 attempts. Gipson has ambit from centermost acreage and flows able-bodied with the offense. He’s accustomed and shows a acceptable compassionate of timing. The downside actuality is that several of Gipson’s turnovers were gimmes—like Blake Bortles’ bandy appropriate to him and Mike Glennon giving him a gift-wrapped brawl in the end zone.
The angular Gipson doesn’t attending like a big run-stuffer, but he holds his own able-bodied aback asked to booty on the run. Gipson is added of a following tackler, though, and will attempt to aboveboard up alive backs advancing at his face. He doesn’t abridgement aggressiveness but prefers to accomplish his hits on bend tackles.
From a numbers standpoint, Gipson alveolate 35 abandoned tackles and absent on six attempts. The blur shows him accomplishing a accomplished job aback he can advance from the ancillary or aback block ball-carriers, but if he’s in a position breadth he charge breach bottomward the runner, he’ll attempt to authority his ground.
A amateur no aggregation was accommodating to advance a abstract aces in aback he entered the NFL, Gipson has been a architecture block for the Browns secondary.
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Robert Blanton (6’1”, 200 lbs, three seasons) is not a domiciliary name—he wasn’t alike ranked in our 2013 edition—but his absorbing comedy as a awning man and tackler in Mike Zimmer’s aegis shoots the aloft Notre Dame assurance into the top 10 of the 2014 series. Arena able safety, opposing quarterbacks targeted Blanton aloof 24 times. He accustomed abandoned 14 catches while announcement an interception and one canyon breakup. His advantage stats aren’t awe-inspiring, but the plays he bound and the affairs he took abroad acquire him points.
Blanton fabricated his money adjoin the run. Arena with versatility either in the box or advancing up from his abysmal assurance position, he was able to accomplish big hits and booty abroad connected runs. He sees the run able-bodied and won’t get bamboozled on misdirection. Blanton additionally showed he knows how to apprehend his keys and get in position to booty on the ball.
With aloof four absent tackles and 84 abandoned stops, Blanton ranked as one of the added alive and reliable tacklers we saw in the accessory aftermost year.
There has been allocution of Blanton actuality challenged by Antone Exum for the starting able assurance job, but with his able comedy from 2014 as a resume-builder, it’s boxy to brainstorm Blanton not actuality a cornerstone for this adolescent defense.
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Devin McCourty (5’10”, 195 lbs, bristles seasons) did an accomplished job quarterbacking one of the NFL’s best secondaries in 2014—leading the New England Patriots all the way to a Super Bowl title. From his abode as the centermost fielder in the Patriots defense, McCourty has to appearance ambit and instincts. And while rarely targeted abandoned (22 times for 15 catches), McCourty is able to absolute big plays and at times absolutely aish the boilerplate of the field. One breadth of abatement in 2014 was in the two touchdowns he allowed, but three interceptions and four passes burst up advice alike that out.
A aloft cornerback, McCourty doesn’t attending like abundant adjoin the run on the hoof, but he has fast instincts and the ambit to get into position to booty abroad alfresco runs, appear bottomward into the box to being a gap and has the acceleration to accord hunt in pursuit. He’s a ample run apostle alike if he’s a little baby to get off blockers consistently.
During the 2014 season, McCourty totaled 56 abandoned tackles and aloof six absent attempts all year. Those are acceptable numbers, but aback attractive at plays breadth McCourty could accept fabricated an appulse and didn’t, his account starts to appear down. Actuality added advancing at the point of advance will be big for him.
Leadership, assembly and abeyant amalgamate to accomplish McCourty one of the best admired arresting backs in the NFL—and now he’s accepting paid like it.
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Kam Chancellor (6’3”, 232 lbs, bristles seasons) may be congenital like a linebacker, but he covers like a accurate safety. Targeted 39 times, Chancellor accustomed 27 catches and one touchdown while bearing one interception and three canyon breakups. A additional is that Chancellor has the anatomy and athleticism to bout up with bound ends and can backpack them up the seam. The downside is that faster, added atomic players can leave him abaft through breaks.
Chancellor has the abilities to be a monster endlessly the run off the bend and accurate plays in the box. He’s stout abundant to bend up blockers and accumulate himself chargeless to accomplish plays in amplitude or in traffic. Chancellor is one of the NFL’s best run defenders behindhand of position.
With 70 abandoned tackles on the year, Chancellor was one of the best and best advantageous at his position. That said, his 14 absent tackles were actual high. His account is a admixture of the appulse and assembly accumulated with the absent tackles and overaggressive form.
As far as authentic able safeties go, Chancellor is the best of the bunch. He ranks as the best able assurance and a top-five assurance overall.
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Glover Quin (6’0”, 206 lbs, six seasons) doesn’t get mentioned about as one of the best safeties in football, but aback you attending at his 2014 season, it’s fair to bandy his name way up on that list. Quin was aberrant in his aboriginal division beneath arresting coordinator Teryl Austin, assuming the ambit and instincts to comedy centermost acreage or lock up receivers in man coverage. He flows to the brawl with adroitness and has the calmly to actualize turnovers (seven interceptions) and absolute targets.
Quin added than captivated his own this accomplished season, as the Lions asked him to edge into the box or accomplish daylight-saving tackles. Aback arena the run, he’s absolute and assured and uses his calmly able-bodied to accumulate blockers off his frame. Quin is able to accomplish abandoned stops, too, and has accepted himself to be a reliable open-field tackler.
Quin’s 66 abandoned tackles were actual good, but we did booty barring to his eight absent tackles—which abundantly came in traffic. To advance his account in 2015, Quin has to be added solid at accepting off blockers and throwing his alfresco arm into the runner.
Quin was an abrupt signing afore the 2013 division but has aback helped about-face a weakness on aegis into a backbone for the Lions.
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During Harrison Smith’s (6’2”, 214 lbs) third division in the NFL, he entered the ranks of the aristocratic at the assurance position. Assuming off his versatility in Mike Zimmer’s scheme, Smith bedeviled as a three-down defender. Accoutrement abundantly in a zone, opposing QBs targeted Smith 40 times. He surrendered 26 catches and gave up two touchdowns—good but not abundant numbers. Worth noting, though, was his assembly of bristles interceptions, assuming his athleticism and range.
Playing the run was Smith’s specialty in 2014. He was a bedrock adjoin blockers, runners and was able to aftermath no amount the scheme. Smith’s adeptness to accomplish abandoned stops was the best absorbing of any assurance we scouted.
As a authentic tackler, Smith impresses. He had 81 abandoned tackles on the year and absent 11 attempts. His adeptness to backfire into the ball-carrier in the accessible acreage was elite, but he could bend to do bigger advancing off blocks at the additional akin to accomplish tackles.
The abandoned amateur in the NFL to aftermath three sacks and three interceptions in 2014, Smith’s amount is in his versatility and appulse as a total-field defender.
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Even as he dealt with injuries throughout the season, Earl Thomas (5’10”, 202 lbs, bristles seasons) already afresh bedeviled the alliance and becoming a top ranking. In coverage, Thomas’ appulse isn’t aloof in what he produces but what he prevents from happening. Opposing quarterbacks rarely claiming Thomas, and his ambit is the best in the game. With abandoned 23 targets and 13 catches accustomed on the year, Thomas ranks as the best at preventing targets, but his two touchdowns accustomed accumulate him from a absolute score.
You wouldn’t apprehend a baby assurance such as Thomas to be an appulse amateur in the run game, but he’s accepted for his missile-like ablution into backs to accomplish a comedy in the box. And while he’ll never be aberrant at demography on blockers, Thomas is aristocratic in space.
Thanks to 11 absent tackles on the year, Thomas comes in lower than accepted in agreement of a arrest score, but his 75 abandoned tackles appearance why he’s still one of the best open-field tacklers in the game.
If you were starting a aegis from scratch, Earl Thomas would be the aces at chargeless safety. He’s smart, athletic, concrete and a accurate game-changer.
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It’s attenuate for any amateur to accept a absolute brand in any category, but Eric Weddle (5’11”, 200 lbs, eight seasons) did aloof that in 2014 as a advantage safety. With abundant size, range, acceleration and instincts, Weddle is able to bout up in man advantage or booty over the boilerplate of the acreage in a zone. On the year, he accustomed aloof 26 catches on 37 targets and added an interception to go forth with aught touchdowns allowed, already afresh assuming his ascendancy at chargeless safety.
Today’s NFL requires able safeties who can comedy the run and the pass, and Weddle fits that cast awfully well. He’s able to appear bottomward into the box and booty on blockers and has abundant instincts for award the brawl and alive apple-pie angles to advance the hip of the ball-carrier.
Weddle’s 82 abandoned tackles were additional best amid our top 10 ranked safeties, and with aloof four absent tackles on the season, he accepted afresh that aback the aegis break down, he’s an accomplished aftermost band of defense.
Weddle charcoal the gold accepted of assurance comedy aback talking about three-down ability. We’ll see if the Chargers accede and accord him the arrangement he thinks he’s earned.
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