With Malcolm Jenkins’ exit, the Eagles could have a need at the safety position. Rodney McLeod is still in the fold and Jalen Mills will (potentially) be moving to safety in 2020, but long-term options are unclear at the position for Philadelphia. Luckily this class has some back-end playmakers that the team could dip into to boost the defense. Previous draft rankings: Wide receiver | Cornerback.
10. K’Von Wallace, Clemson
K’Von Wallace pops off the screen with how aggressive and fast he plays the game. He is a big time hitter, a willing run defender and closes on the ball quickly in coverage. Wallace is a linear, explosive athlete who lacks the agility to make a difference as a deep-coverage defender. However his play close to the line of scrimmage will make him a potentially valuable strong safety in the NFL.
NFL Comparison: Donte Whitner
9. Geno Stone, Iowa
Geno Stone checks all the boxes in terms of technique, football IQ and tenacity. He is a smart, physical player who never gives up on a play. He is not a plus athlete, but makes up for it in his instincts and consistency. Stone’s ceiling is low, but he could be an early contributor in his NFL career.
NFL Comparison: Kurt Coleman
8. JR Reed, Georgia
JR Reed comes from a family of NFL players and it shows. He is a cerebral defender who does a great job seeing plays before they happen. This is hugely helpful considering he is only a decent athlete, but instincts can be the biggest checkmate as an NFL safety. Reed is versatile and hard hitting. Teams will love what he can bring as a defensive chess piece and an off-the field guy.
NFL Comparison: Xavier Woods
7. Julian Blackmon, Utah
If not for a late season knee injury, Julian Blackmon would be much higher on draft boards everywhere. The former cornerback has great size, change of direction abilities and ball skills. He had some growing pains in his transition to safety last year, but his talent was evident in his best moments. If Blackmon can fully recover from injury, teams should be interested in his potential.
NFL Comparison: Reggie Nelson
6. Terrell Burgess, Utah
The other half of the Utes’ dynamic safety duo; Terrell Burgess doesn’t have the size of his counterpart, but he was extremely consistent in his one year starting at Utah. Burgess is an explosive athlete who was dependable as a coverage defender and flashed some playmaking ability. His size prevents him from being an impact tackler and he can be pushed around in coverage by bigger pass catchers. However, his pure coverage skills and athleticism should make teams consider him as deep cover defender who could also line up over slot receivers.
NFL Comparison: Damarious Randall
5. Ashtyn Davis, California
Flip on the tape and the appeal with Ashtyn Davis is immediately obvious. The former track athlete plays like his hair is on fire. He has game-changing speed and plays with a fantastic, aggressive demeanor. Davis is relatively raw and new to the position and that shows in the mistakes he makes. However, if you can temper his aggression and he can be more consistent in general, Davis has star written all over him. Worth noting there are lots of questions with his medicals.
NFL Comparison: Michael Griffin
4. Kyle Dugger, Lenoir-Rhyne
Kyle Dugger had as good of an offseason as any NFL prospect can ask for. The DII star had a phenomenal All-Star Circuit and then blew up the combine. Dugger is built like a superhero and moves like one too. He dominated in college and hung with the competition at the Senior Bowl. The questions with Dugger revolve around his transition from DII to the NFL, but all signs point to him being a game changer in the league.
NFL Comparison: Keanu Neal
3. Xavier McKinney, Alabama
Winning the favor of Nick Saban is always a good sign and Xavier McKinney was a staff favorite when he was at Alabama. McKinney is a brilliant, versatile player who can match up all over the field. He is not a great athlete, but maybe one of the best defenders in the class in terms of football IQ. He is a physical, hard playing player and teams will want him on the field immediately.
NFL Comparison: Johnathan Abram
2. Antoine Winfield Junior, Minnesota
Admittedly higher on Antoine Winfield this draft and have been a fan of his since the season started. Winfield is a very good athlete with rare instincts and ball skills as an over the top defender. Winfield’s size and injury history is a knock on him, but there is nothing small or careful about the way he plays. He is as high-impact as tackler/run defender as he is as a pure cover defender. Healthy Winfield will be dangerous deep safety who can come up and cover the slot in a pinch.
NFL Comparison: Lamarcus Joyner
1 . Grant Delpit, LSU
I think Delpit is getting over thought due to his sustained stardom. Delpit lined up everywhere for the Tigers during the last two years. He covered deep, in the slot, as a linebacker… He has good ball skills, can defend the run and make an impact as a blitzer from anywhere on the field. Delpit is a decent but not spectacular athlete and has a tendency to let his hunger for big plays lead to missed tackles and bad angles in coverage. However, Delpit can do it all at a very high level and could be even better as a strong safety who can cover the slot and play big nickel.
NFL Comparison: Malcolm Jenkins