2018 Draft Positional Reviews: Safeties

This years safety class is a top loaded group as far as talent, but there was a number of safeties taken. The Safety position is one of the more higher scoring IDP spots and highly coveted by fantasy owners. Now let’s look at this year’s class and see who landed where and what that means. #IDPNation #IDPisKing

1st Round 11th Overall

Minkah Fitzpatrick, (Alabama) Miami Dolphins: There are a lot of mixed thoughts on what position he will play. He is currently slotted as the starting Free Safety according to Rotoworld, and I feel that’s where he will play the most. I do think they will move him around at times to take advantage of matchups, but he mostly will be at free safety, next to star strong safety Reshad Jones. While Jones is more of the enforcer type, Minkah will be more of a rover centerfielder type. Which I believe suits his talents best. In the fantasy world, owners are concerned about his position designation as well. If for some reason he does get tagged as a CB, then his value takes a hit in the overall ranks, but he should still be among the leaders at that position. I don’t think that will happen but never hurts to be prepared. As a safety, he will be coveted by the fantasy world, and his numbers should be better as well. So it depends on if you play in a position-specific league or just a general DB spot league, on how you determine his value.

Fantasy Potential CB2, S2, DB3

1st Round 17th Overall

Derwin James, (Florida State) Los Angeles Chargers: This might be one of the best value picks of the entire draft. I had James ranked as my top safety in my positional rankings. He’s a top ten talent in my opinion and was trending that way just before the draft. Why he slipped back towards the middle of the draft, I would like to know. As for James and Chargers, this is a great fit for both. Derwin should be the starting free safety on day 1 one and will be a huge upgrade for Chargers at the position. He can do everything they want, from being a physical hitter to a good blitzer, to a disruptor in the passing game. It’s all about versatility and James is that. A premium player at a premium scoring position means he won’t last long in fantasy drafts. I can easily see him being a top 10 scorer at the position, as a rookie.

Fantasy Potential S1, DB2

1st Round 28th Overall

Terrell Edmunds, (Virginia Tech) Pittsburgh Steelers: This was a bit of a head-scratcher for me, as I thought this was to early for him to be drafted and there was much better options at safety still on the board. I had Edmunds rated as my 6th best safety in my positional rankings and 36th overall IDP. The Steelers got the position drafted right, as all of their great defensive units have had exceptional play at safety, from Donnie Shell to Troy Polamalu. Can Edmunds, the son of former Miami Dolphin tight end Ferrell Edmunds and twin brother of Tremaine Edmunds, who was drafted by the Bills, be the next great Steeler safety? Only time will tell and there is a lot to like about him. He’ll compete with Sean Davis for the starting free safety spot. He has blazing speed (4.47) and good size (6’2”/220), which should bode well for him in the pro’s. He struggled in man coverage at times, but was a nuisance in the passing game. Don’t see him starting early on but does have that potential. He will earn his stripes on special teams and as a backup. In the fantasy game he’s a stash player that will need some time to develop. If you have the room and can wait, he’s a high risk/reward type player.

Fantasy Potential S3, DB5

2nd Round 54th Overall

Jessie Bates III, (Wake Forest) Cincinnati Bengals: Bates was a player that was gaining momentum heading into draft. The Bengals were impressed enough to take him in 2nd round, but that was a earlier than I had projected. Had an outstanding Freshman year, with 100 tackles and five picks, two that he returned for touchdowns. He is a ballhawk that the Bengals could desperately use and has value as a return man. Showed very well at the combine and his game tape shows a lot of high potential. Will compete with incumbent SS Shawn Williams for the starting job and very well could win the job. If he can translate the same numbers in the pro’s, he will be highly sought after by fantasy owners. A very talented player with a nice opportunity and little competition in front of him.

Fantasy Potential S1/2, DB3

3rd Round 68th Overall

Justin Reid, (Stanford) Houston Texans: A good pick by the Texans as they made the safety positions top priority this offseason. They signed free agent Tyrann Mathieu to play Strong Safety and drafted Reid to eventually be their Free Safety. Justin is the brother to former 49er Safety Eric Reid. He’ll start out as a backup to Andre Hal, who played well for them last season. Even as a backup, I still see Reid getting a lot of playing time as that 3rd safety/ rotation piece, along with special teams. Fantasy owners shouldn’t expect much from him a rookie unless an injury occurs. I think he’s a rotational player this year and then pushes for the starting job. A good one-year stash type player for taxi squad leagues. More and more DBs are making an immediate impact and Reid very could as well, I think it’ll be in back half of the season at the earliest.

Fantasy Potential S2, DB4

3rd Round 82nd Overall

Tracy Walker, (Louisiana) Detroit Lions:  I’ll be honest here, I don’t know a lot about Walker yet, but I will definitely look at his tape. There was a number of good safeties still on the board, so for new HC Matt Patricia and the Lions to think enough of him take him here, has me intrigued. From what I know, he’s a bit of a hybrid CB/S type which is becoming more popular these days. His combine numbers were decent but not stellar and his stats show, that he can make some plays. I really question why you draft a safety here with of the ones already on the roster. This hurts his value tremendously, as he’ll be buried on depth chart and be mostly a special teams player.

Fantasy Potential S4, DB5

3rd Round 93rd Overall

Ronnie Harrison, (Alabama) Jacksonville Jaguars:  Just let me say for my own selfish reasons (I’m a Titans fan), I absolutely hate this pick! But for the Jaguars, this is the rich getting richer. If they had a weakness it was at safety and they addressed that here with a top talent. I have Harrison rated as my #2 safety and #8 IDP, in my positional rankings. Harrison is big hitter and very active playmaker (31 pass breakups & 7 ints in college), in the passing game.  I know the Jags have Barry Church ahead of him as the starter, but he will push him hard for that job and I even see him possibly playing some LB in dime packages. He’ll be able to take his time and learn the game and be ready when his time comes and it will. When you have a unit so loaded talent wise, you begin improving the quality of the depth and that’s great sign of well built team. His value long term is better than the short, but he’s worth getting and holding onto. He’s a high reward player, when he finally gets his opportunity.

Fantasy Potential S1, DB2

3rd Round 95th Overall

Tavarius Moore, (Southern Miss) San Francisco 49ers:  The Niners are shuffling some pieces around in the secondary and have already stated that Moore could possibly move to corner. Not a good pick here to me, as if they wanted a corner then there was plenty of talented ones available. As for Moore he’s a project player, who will need some time to develop. He’s going to see reps at both free safety and corner early on until he gets a set position. A depth piece that will play special teams. He has some really good speed (4.32) and played his best in man to man coverage as an outside corner, but made a lot of tackles as a free safety. Again a versatile player. Not going to be worth much in fantasy or worth stashing at this point.

Fantasy Potential No Value

4th Round 109th Overall

Troy Apke, (Penn State) Washington Redskins:  The Redskins are adding as much talent to their defense as they possibly can. Apke was a two year starter for the Nittany Lions, but didn’t have a huge impact. An average player at the college level and will likely be a career backup & special teamer. There was better talent available at position. Just a depth pick and holds no real fantasy value.

Fantasy Potential No Value

4th Round 117th Overall

Jordan Whitehead, (Pittsburgh) Tampa Bay Buccaneers:  Whitehead showed big potential as a Freshman (110 tackles), as he filled the stat lines, but over his last to seasons he just could never avoid the injuries and improve his game. He also battled a hamstring injury before draft. He’s another project pick on this list and the Bucs hope they can get him healthy and back on track. Not worth owning in fantasy at this time, but maybe keep an eye on him down the road.

Fantasy Potential No Value

4th Round 119th Overall

Kyzir White, (West Virginia) Los Angeles Chargers:  This is a pick who will likely change positions or be a hybrid type player. He played both at S and LB in college, so he could see reps at both positions. Either way, he’s going to be buried on the depth chart and mostly only see time as a special teams player. Plus they drafted star rookie Derwin James earlier, so he’s not worth owning in fantasy leagues.

Fantasy Potential No Value

4th Round 124th Overall

Armani Watts, (Texas A & M) Kansas City Chiefs:  This kid should have went ahead of the four above him on this list. A really good pick by the Chiefs, as they let Ron Parker leave and Eric Berry has injury history. So this is a plan ahead type pick in my opinion. Watts has a ton of experience as a four year starter in college and made a lot of plays (300+ tackles, 10 ints, 5 ff), over his career. He didn’t test well at the combine so his stock slipped some. The numbers are not the be all end all for me, but they do tell part of a story. Watts is a fierce hitter and will get some opportunities to make a name for himself. He’ll have to work his way up depth chart and injuries could open the door for him as well. A taxi squad stash player, so owners can see what his future holds.

Fantasy Potential S2 DB3

5th Round 146th Overall

Tre Flowers, (Oklahoma St) Seattle Seahawks:  The days of the Legion of Boom are gone, so the Seahawks are looking to add talent. Flowers is a developmental speedster (4.45). He’ll be a special teams player and a depth piece at best. He struggles in man coverage and isn’t the best of tacklers. Not good qualities if your trying to make a roster.

Fantasy Potential No Value

5th Round 148th Overall

Marcus Allen, (Penn St) Pittsburgh Steelers:  No relation to the great RB Marcus Allen, but is the godson of Curtis Martin. An interesting pick here for the Steelers, as they drafted Terrell Edmunds in the 1st round, who was a speed sie guy. Allen is the opposite of that. He’s a downhill, physical, big hitting safety, but needs to improve his ball skills. He’ll start out as a special teams player, who could work his way into a rotation. He’s not likely to see enough playing time early on, to warrant owning in fantasy world. A taxi squad stash in deep leagues is possible.

Fantasy Potential S3 DB5

5th Round 164th Overall

Natrell Jamerson, (Wisconsin) New Orleans Saints:  A camp body who might make a practice squad somewhere. He doesn’t offer a lot and will buried on depth chart, if he does make team. He does have some kickoff return experience which could be of some value. Not worth owning in fantasy.

Fantasy Potential No Value

6th Round 184th Overall

Marcell Harris, (Florida) San Francisco 49ers: this is a flyer pick on a player who missed all of 2017 with a torn Achilles. The prior season he had a decent season as a starter for the Gators, totaling 70+ tackles and a couple of picks. He has potential to be a solid backup or rotational player, as well as be a very good special teams guy. Like a lot of the above players, he will be buried on depth chart.

Fantasy Potential No Value

6th Round 190th Overall

Deshon Elliott, (Texas) Baltimore Ravens: I would have thought Elliott would’ve gone much higher and ahead of a number f the safeties on this list. GM Ozzie Newsome continued to impress with his final draft getting great value here. Elliott, who a breakout year (60+ tackles, 6 ints and two returned for TDs) in 2017, will be a backup to Eric Weddle and possibly be his replacement in the future. He’ll get to learn the game from a couple of solid veterans (Weddle & Jefferson), as he transitions to the pros. A good taxi squad stash in fantasy, but it may be a couple of years before he gets his turn.

Fantasy Potential S2 DB4

6th Round 200th Overall

Foyesade Oluokun, (Yale) Atlanta Falcons: Oluokun played LB at Yale but is undersized for that role in the NFL and the Falcons drafted him as a safety. I don’t know a lot about his game, but he does have good speed (4.48) and is athletic. Probably will mostly be a special teams guy, who will need developing. Not worth much in the fantasy world.

Fantasy Potential No Value

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Vol Nation & Titanup! Consumed with all things football! An avid fantasy football enthusiast and have over 15+ years experience in all formats. You can follow me at @DFF_DWIN.

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