This is the safety rankings for the 2018 NFL Draft. This year’s safety class doesn’t seem as great as last year was but the top 3 players can be very dangerous.
1 Derwin James, FSU
James has elite speed and size combination, is a vicious hitter, good instincts and has that attitude you look for in a safety. In 2017, James totaled 84 tackles, 5.5 for loss, 1 sack with 11 passes batted, two interceptions and a touchdown. His versatility is a huge plus, as he was lined up all over the field. He is coming from a season in which FSU played awful and he wasn’t amazing either. His biggest issue is his inconsistency reading the quarterback’s eyes and locking to a receiver.
2 DeShon Elliott, Texas
Elliott is a personal favorite of mine, he can do it all: very good run support, is solid in coverage, hard hitter, that can also blitz if needed. The Texas Product is a very smart player who can also cover pretty consistently on man and zone coverages. He has good size at 6’2 210 and posted good stats this year, 6 interceptions, 2 touchdowns, 9 passes defended, 3 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery. According to Pro Football Focus, Elliott had the 2nd most plays around the ball with 13 as an active defender against the pass and the run. He might not be the athletic freak James is, but you can argue his game is a little bit more polished. He had 6 interceptions and could have gotten more, but he had some concentration drops after making great plays on the ball. Some of his interceptions were thrown directly to him but still he made the catch and was in good position. The biggest fear on him is the lack of elite speed, which could get him beat on coverages if he bites on a fake or pump fake.
3 Ronnie Harrison, Alabama
Harrison possesses an outstanding combination of size and speed. Is comfortable and experienced playing high or low safety. He reads the quarterback’s eyes and has good route anticipation. He is a physical hitter, has the range to go sideline to sideline and is a quality blitzer. The Alabama product doesn’t show a high football IQ and was helped with having one of the best defensive rosters in the country, if not the best (only talking about defensive backs Alabama has 4 top 100 players). He has shown issues covering receivers in man coverage. He finished the year with 3 interceptions and 4 passes defended.
4 Marcus Allen, Penn State
Allen works at his best when playing safety in the box. He is an outstanding run defender, who hits hard and rarely misses tackles. He is a team leader and plays with the aggression you look for in a safety. Has just one career interception and few passes broken up. May not run well enough to handle single-high duties in NFL. He is not a rangy corner and will be a good addition in run support and a liability in pass coverage especially on middle to deep throws. A change to ILB or a ‘‘moneybacker’’ role like Mark Barron’s, might be for the best.
5 Justin Reid, Stanford
Reid had 5 interceptions, 6 passes defended and 1 fumble recovery in 2017. Reid shows very good hands and a ballhawk mentality. He shows good instincts and covers well in zone and man coverage. Some scouts say he is too small, yet say Minkah Fitzpatrick has great size, in reality, they are the same height (6’1) and Reid is actually 2 pounds bigger, so it’s a non-issue there. Reid is solid in the running game, albeit not a big hitter. Reid’s biggest issue is he gets lost sometimes while in coverage, which leads to mistakes. Those kinds of mental mistakes can be easy to correct to some and will follow them forever to others.
6 Armani Watts, Texas A&M
7 Quin Blanding, Virginia
8 Terrell Edmunds, Virginia Tech
9 Jordan Whitehead, Pittsburgh
10 Kyzir White, West Virginia
Honorable Mention: Jesse Bates, Wake Forest
Check out the other 2018 NFL Draft rankings: https://www.couchriderreport.net/2018-nfl-draft-erics-top-5-wr-rankings/