1. Amani Hooker, Iowa
-His hybrid abilities should make him a very intriguing chess piece for his future DC. He has size, savvy and strength in the mold of the modern box safety. Likely one of two rookie starters of the bunch.
2. Antoine Brooks, Maryland
-Another player, though smaller than Hooker is grit will take him far. Will attack from anywhere on the field. Be patience with Brooks as it will take a few years for this ranking to fully mature.
3. Taylor Rapp, Washington
-His physicality and strength are a dangerous combination. His overall speed and traffic weaving will be tested immensely at the next level. That being said, he is great against the run, and he can shed blocks well.
4. Mike Edwards, Kentucky
-I like Edwards and production is just gravy. I do not love him though and I fear that there will be some NFL sized growing pains to overcome. His intrigue level is certainly on the rise. In a perfect situation he could find a starting job as a rookie (but I would rather buy low on him in year number two).
5. Jonathan Abram, Mississippi State
-He functioned okay as a deep safety and in the single-high. However, I would worry that he lacks the proper discipline to be trusted in such a role in the NFL. He plays with a hard focus to keep things in front of him but his pile of missed tackled is very concerning.
6. Darnell Savage, Maryland
-He plays with the kind of swagger you want from a professional DB. He might not be Richard Sherman lippy, but his play sure leaves an impression on you. His game speed is always set on full throttle. If he gets his hands of you, he tackles like a snake bite, relentless and nearly inescapable.
7. Deionte Thompson, Alabama
-Here is my other sure-fire rookie starter. However, because he is more of a free safety than the rest of the group I some IDP doubts. He plays a decisive center field. He flies to the ball no matter what hash he is on, and he always gets his hands up. Coach Saban trusts him in single high situations, that kind of says it all.
8. Mike Bell, Fresno State
-He plays with the flow of the action, and he is rarely caught out of position. He understands angles, when to take chances and when to cut them off. His read-and-react timing is sharp. His skills were tested and sharpened further in the pass-happy Mountain West. He tackles with his whole body, and he uses his long arms to his advantage.
9. Nasir Adderley, Delaware
-He understands and practices proper tackling technique. He also a great ability to bob-and-weave with the flow of the play to keep things in front of him and can play both safety positions. However, he may be more comfortable a free safety. He has the speed and the diagnosis chops to thrive in that role. He has excellent burst and explodes through the ball carrier.
10. Marvell Tell III, USC
-In the USC 3-4, he played a ton of single-high, especially his senior season. From that position, he attacked and stung very nicely. However, that is also a position where you are the last line defense. It takes discipline, route knowledge, and patience. I don’t think Tell will ever be a top-five IDP safety, but he should see regular snaps. Hence, opportunities will be present for him to produce consistently.