Top-10 Safeties, Pre-Combine

There’s no time to waste. The NFL Scouting Combine is around the corner and it’s critical that we plant our flags and allow these takes, hot or otherwise, to fly. For reference, my initial top-32 big board can be found here. More importantly, here were all my early positional rankings and thoughts. Let’s see what has changed between now and then, and where my head is at walking into Indianapolis.

SAF1 Nasir Adderley, Delaware — Cornerback-turned-safety and four-year starter at a small school (they’ll talk about level of competition plenty), Adderely has elite range coupled with outstanding ball skills. Important thread here.

SAF2 Juan Thornhill, Virginia — 13 interceptions and 26 passes defensed during his time at school. Ball hawk. Versatility (safety-turned-corner; spent time back in the box, and can lineup in the slot) and his ability to produce wherever he is on the field is clearly a plus. Overall athleticism may keep him just outside the number one spot at the position. I saw this and it only confirmed my ranking.

SAF3 Taylor Rapp, Washington — Highly instinctual on the field. Football intelligence is the best in class (just take it from his coach). Stout against the run and a very efficient and consistent tackler. I’ve seen Harrison Smith comparisons floating around, for whatever they’re worth. A three-year starter, Rapp feels underrated heading into the Combine.

SAF4 Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Florida — Like Thornhill, the former Florida Gator has seen reps at corner and safety, and could be a future star at the nickle spot. Supremely confident, perhaps to a fault at times; thought he made big leaps – notably as a tackler – in 2018.

SAF5 Johnathan Abram, Mississippi State — Stick him in the box and let him set tones all game long. Fearless. Relentless. Leader. Winner of all the intangibles. He is everything you want in a strong safety. If he can keep his emotions on the field under control (a good and bad problem to have), the sky is the limit. Think Keanu Neal.

SAF6 Deionte Thompson, AlabamaI don’t think the latest injury news it that big of a deal for Thompson long-term, but his ranking is simply about lingering questions (pre-injury) coupled with just how talented the top of this class is. Thompson doesn’t quite have Adderley’s range, but it’s a strong point to his game. Lack of Combine will not help his case in the intermediate.

SAF7 Darnell Savage Jr., Maryland — His smaller build will keep the floor low, but he’s more-than-athletic enough on top of being one of the more active and aggressive players in a group filled with them. I saw Karl Joseph all over again.

SAF8 Mike Edwards, KentuckyA broken thumb will keep out of drills in Indianapolis, which is a shame because I think Edwards has the talent to rise. He’s not as violent as Abram, but I think he plays in a similar manner working downhill while also adding another dimension to his game with the ball in the air. Teams like versatile players.

SAF9 Evan Worthington, Colorado — An up-and-down and largely incomplete senior campaign isn’t a good look (injuries, etc.), but Worthington is an impressive athlete with an ideal build looking to make some money at the Combine. He’s shooting for high-4.3’s in the 40, which would be a good start.

SAF10 Marquise Blair, Utah — More of a project, but his ability to play the deep-half of the field will be coveted. Ball skills look like a plus. Should be one of the better testers at the position, as well, keeping his stock hot enough. Mid-to-late round selection.

Who do you want the Raiders to come away with and why? If someone missed the cut, tell me who and also don’t forget to tell me how wrong I am.

Catch me on Twitter: @StillRyanFive