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Top 5 Safeties in the 2016 NFL Draft

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Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

Like cheesesteaks and throwing bracelets at a hockey game, safeties are part of the culture in Philadelphia. Every year, people love to talk about getting the next great safety through the draft. Funny enough, this last year when the team had one of the best safety tandems in the league, it didn't do much to impact the team's record. Going into the draft, the Eagles have a solid pair of safeties in Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod. Therefore, it is unlikely they address the position very early. However, and luckily for the team, this safety class has a lot of depth to it, so if they wanted to add a third safety at some point, they have a good shot at getting a nice player. Here are the best of this deep safety class.

  1. Karl Joseph, West Virginia: Ever since Karl Joseph's freshman year, he has been a playmaker in Morgantown. He is smart, instinctive and violent, constantly setting the tone as an intimidator on the field. He is far more than just a hitter, however. He has excellent range, ball skills and recognition ability that allow him to be a playmaker as a deep, coverage safety. His athletic ability paired with his A1 football instincts and mentality make him a versatile player who can cover deep, in the slot or as a box defender. He did suffer a knee injury this last season which is something to monitor, but if Joseph is healthy, he will be a star in the NFL.

  2. Darian Thompson, Boise State: Thompson is another player who has the versatility to play all over a defense. His size and aggressive mentality make him an asset closer to the line of scrimmage, but he has the range and football IQ to play further down the field. He can get overaggressive in his angles in coverage and as a tackler, which can cause him to miss big. He is also not an outstanding athlete. However, he is still a playmaker with a complete skill set who can contribute to an NFL defense sooner than later.

  3. Vonn Bell, Ohio State: A name that has been lost in the shuffle of this draft, for whatever reason, Vonn Bell might be one of the most complete defensive players in this class. He has a solid build at 5-11, 200 pounds and is a good athlete, but he is just an incredibly intelligent player. He has  good ball skills over the top paired with good range, and he is also a very dependable tackler. He is not an elite playmaker, but Bell is the type of defender who will always be in the right position and never give up big plays.

  4. Keanu Neal, Florida: Neal is intimidation personified. He is well built at 6-0, 211 pounds and he hits like a hangover on a Sunday morning. He is incredibly explosive coming down hill and will make players pay for trying to make plays in the same zip code as him. The further he comes away from the line of scrimmage, the rawer he is, but is absolutely capable of playing free safety. He flashes excellent range, but he does not process information as well deep down the field. He can contribute day one as a play making strong safety.

  5. Justin Simmons, Boston College: Simmons hasn't nearly gotten the recognition he deserves due in part to the fact that Boston College wasn't on the radar this year. However, Simmons is an intelligent and athletic safety that can play all over the field. He is a solid tackler and has excellent range, although he has a tendency to take false steps in coverage that make him look slower than he is. He does have an excellent football IQ, but I don't think he is a major playmaker at the position, a lot of his interceptions were bad passes that he capitalized rather than him making a great play in coverage. However, his intelligence and athletic ability are very valuable and he is absolutely a top 40 player in this class.