By Michael Stewart
Introduction: The 2020 safety class has some ball hawks, bangers and hybrids as well. It’s always an uncertainty how they will adjust to the fast pace of the NFL. Although this season class my not be as deep as some past years; there should be a few hearing their name on day 1 of the draft. Here’s my top 10 safeties in college football.
- Xavier McKinney (Alabama) 6’1/196: McKinney reacts well to the ball and usually doesn’t miss many tackles. McKinney anticipates well and has a nose for the ball.
- Antoine Winfield Jr. (Minnesota) 5’10/205: Winfield Jr. has had health issues; which has limited his ability to showcase his true talents. Winfield Jr. has good instincts and reacts well to the play with his high-end acceleration and sound tackling skills. If he can stay on field, he should see his stock rise and perhaps hear his name either late on day 1.
- Grant Delpit (LSU) 6’3/203: Delpit talent covers every facet you can possibly think of if you’re looking to create the perfect safety. Delpit has the speed, size, instincts, athleticism, drive and high football IQ. Delpit has played at linebacker when needed in certain defensive packages and has often times taken over a game.
- Kyle Dugger (Lenoir-Rhyne) 6’2/205: Dugger is climbing up the draft boards and for good reason. Dugger versatility allows him to be more aggressive in coverage and Dugger is solid against the run. Dugger also has special teams skills; which will serve him well in the NFL.
- Ashtyn Davis (California) 6’1/201: Davis is very versatile corner playing at different positions (outside/slot). Davis has excellent speed for his size and has a high motor. Davis might need a solid season in the NFL to adjust to the speed and talent level, but his ability to play on special teams will allow him time to develop and should start as a sophomore.
- Shyheim Carter (Alabama) 6’1/200: Carter is excellent in man to man coverage and is versatile to play either on the outside or in the slot. Carter is a sound tackler and rarely is out of position to make a play.
- Antoine Winfield Jr. (Minnesota) 5’10/205: Winfield Jr. has had health issues; which has limited his ability to showcase his true talents. Winfield Jr. has good instincts and reacts well to the play with his high-end acceleration and sound tackling skills. If he can stay on field, he should see his stock rise and perhaps hear his name either late on day 2.
- K’Von Wallace (Clemson) 5’11/210: Wallace is raw, but has a very high ceiling to excel in the NFL. Wallace plays a physical game and often initiates contact. Wallace has excellent reaction to the ball and rarely lets a receiver get behind him.
- Brandon Jones (Texas) 6’0/210: Jones plays very physical and has the speed to stay with most wide receivers. Although Jones is not limited in man coverage, he does his best work in zone coverage and has great instincts. Many football experts label Jones as a safety “who enjoys arriving on a screen with bad intentions”; which translate into Jones
- Terrell Burgess (Utah) 6’0/195: Burges best asset is his physical play; but don’t be fooled by this hard-hitting safety as Burgess can also play solid in pass coverage.
Final Thoughts: Although this year’s group isn’t as deep as year’s past, the position does have talented safties as we could see at least two taken in the 1st round. Overall, we should see about 12-15 safeties taken in the 2020 draft; which is not as much as other defensive positions projected to go in the 2020 draft. GM Dave Gettleman has Jabrill Peppers penciled in at one safety spot, but the other spot is wide open. Antonio Bertha was not the answer and it is unclear if Michael Thomas will return in 2020.