NFL Draft Previews: Top 3 Safeties at the Combine

Florida's Keanu Neal

The NFL Combine has finished in Indy. Plenty of college players are trying to stake their claim for being drafted into the National Football League. They could be a game changer for a franchise that can put them on the path to greatness, and make that front office look like geniuses. But, it can also put that franchise’s front office on the unemployment line and make that front office look like bumbling idiots. There are some top prospects that will come into the NFL being stars, some will come in and make a great impact for their teams, and some will be that diamond in the rough who comes out of nowhere to do great things. The draft experts and gurus focus heavily on the offensive prospects entering the draft (i.e. quarterback, wide receiver, running back), but they neglect to focus on the defensive prospects coming into the draft.
As I said before, as the old saying goes, “Offense sells tickets, defense wins championships.” That is the truest saying in all of sports especially in the NFL. Look no further than last month’s Super Bowl 50. The Denver Broncos aggressive, stingy defense stymied the Carolina Panthers high-powered offense, and created 4 turnovers off of the Panthers offense. In my other blog, I mentioned that one of the most underrated positions of a defense is the cornerback. But, another defensive position that gets overlooked is safety. The safety is the last line of the defense. They play pass coverage in the middle and the sidelines of the field and they have to be sure tacklers. Here is the Top 3 safeties in this year’s upcoming NFL Draft.

1. Jalen Ramsey, CB/S, Virginia Tech

Ramsey isn’t only the top corner back in the upcoming draft, but he is also the top safety. Some scouts even feel he would reach his potential more as a safety than a cornerback. He ran a 4.41 at the recent NFL Combine in Indy. Ramsey has a big body, and he’s world-class athlete with excellent footwork and movement skills.

2. Keanu Neal, S, Florida

Neal had a pretty good year for the Gators with 85 tackles and an interception. He ran 4.62 at the 40-yard dash at the combine. He has a big, strong safety with good instincts. But, scouts feel that there is major room for improvement in order to be an NFL caliber safety. Neal needs to improve on his coverage skills as well as wrapping up ball carriers instead of going for the homerun play.

3. Karl Joseph, S, West Virginia

Joseph was on his way to a promising senior year for WV. But, he suffered a knee injury during practice last season and he only played four games. Before his injury, Joseph was having a tremendous season with 20 tackles, a sack, a pass breakup and was leading the nation with 5 interceptions. He was forced to sit out the combine because he’s still recovering from his injury. Some scouts consider him a poor man’s Earl Thomas. They also feel that he has nice cover skills as well as being a physical enforcer with and a good tackler. If it weren’t for the injury, scouts also feel that Joseph would be in first-round pick contention for the 2016 NFL Draft.

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