The Bills had great safety play last year with Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer and they are both back. I am not sure how good Rafael Bush, Dean Marlowe and Kelsie McCray are. We could use another safety for depth and upgrade. There is both top end, middle of the draft and late round talent for safety in the 2018 NFL Draft. Two of the top 10 players in this years draft are safeties. Here is my evaluation of safety prospects for this years draft.
1)Minkah Fitzpatrick, Ala., 6’1″, 201 lbs., 4.46 40, 14 reps, 33″ vertical. Can play any position in the defensive secondary. Great cover and great in run support. A consensus top 10 pick. Leader, no issues, played in a lot of big games and was outstanding.
2)Derwin James, Fla. St., 6’3″, 215lbs., 4.47 40, 21 reps, 40″vertical, 132″broad. A sensational athlete. Can cover. Great run support. Versatile. Strong safety or could play as a hybrid safety/linebacker. Will go early in the first round.
3)Ronnie Harrison, Alabama, 6’3″, 214 lbs., 34″ vertical. Pulled muscle and did not run at the combine but his game tape shows him to be very fast. Free safety. Instinctive. Great tackler and great in pass defense. No issues. Could go in the later 1st round. He is really good.
4)Justin Reid, Stanford, 6’1″, 204lbs., 4.40 40, 16 reps, 36.5 vertical, 128″ broad, 6.65 3-cone, 4.15 shuttle. Like James, a freaky athlete. His production at Stanford was really great. 99 tackles. 5 interceptions. Great ball skills. Also could go in the 1st round.
5)Terrell Edmunds, Va. Tech., 6’2″, 220 lbs., 4.47 40, 41.5 vertical, 134″ broad. A big, freaky athletic strong safety. He also could play a hybrid type role. He is a day 2 prospect. The older brother of Tremaine Edmund, the best linebacker in the draft. Has all the skills and a real football player. Plenty tough and a leader. Someone we could use on the Bills.
6)Marcus Allen, Pa. St., 6’2″, 202 lbs., 4.59 40, 15 reps, 37″ vertical, 127″ broad, 4.32 shuttle. Another big strong safety. Great in run support and can cover. He made a lot of plays for Pa. St. Probably a 3rd round pick.
7)Jessie Bates, Wake Forest, 6’2″, 195 lbs., 4.50 40. 6.78 3-cone, 4.26 shuttle. 33.5″ vertical. Fast and quick safety. Could play strong or free safety. Probably a 3rd round talent. Needs to get a little bigger and stronger.
8)Dane Cruikskank, 6’1″, 206 lbs., 4.41 40, 25 reps, 38.5 vertical, 121 broad, 6.89 3-cone, 4.24 shuttle. Big, fast, strong and athletic. I think he has a ton of potential. Could be a steal later in the draft.
9)Godwin Ibwebuike, Northwestern, 6’0″, 205 lbs., 4.45 40, 19 reps, 35.5″vertical, 128″ broad, 6.56 3-cone, 4.12 shuttle. Lightening quick and fast free safety. Played huge for Northwestern. He will hit people.
10)Armani Watts, Tex. A&M, 5’11”, 205 lbs., 13 reps, 35″vertical, 120″broad, 7.25 3-cone, 4.37 shuttle. He can play both safety positions. He is a little slow, but he is instinctive and makes a lot of plays.
11)DeShon Elliott, Tex., 6’2″, 205 lbs., 4.58 40, 15 reps, 36″ vertical, 121″ broad. Has played free and strong safety at Texas. A hard hitter and great against the run. I think he will get better. He is very good.
12)Damon Webb, Ohio St., 5’11”, 195 lbs., 4.62 40, 17 reps. He is a little slower, but he looked good in coverage. I saw him make a lot of plays in big games for Ohio St.
13)Kyzir White, W. Va., 6’2″, 216 lbs., 21 reps, 35.5″vertical, 113″broad. A big bullish strong safety. Could bulk up some and be a hybrid linebacker. No times on him as he did not run at the combine or his pro day. The knock on him is that he is slow, but I saw him makes tons of play for W. Va.. He is a tough football player. Will help on special teams and this is where he might make his mark, as a core special teams player. Another later round steal IMO.
14)Trey Flowers, Ok. St., 6’3″, 200lbs., 4.45 40, 18 reps, 35.5 vertical, 126″ broad, 7.10 3-cone. A big strong, fast and quick safety. A great talent in the later round.
15)Natrel Jamerson, Wisconsin, 6’0″, 198lbs., 4.40 40. 38″vertical, 123″broad, 6.87 3-cone, 4.15 shuttle. MVP of the shrine bowl and he looked NFL ready. Fast and quick. Likes to hit people. Freakish speed.
16)Jaleel Wadood, UCLA, 6’0″, 198 lbs., 4.40 40, 25 reps, 35.5 “vertical, 120″ broad. Another speed/strength freak. Very good.
17)Siran Neal, Jacksonville St., 6’0″, 199 lbs., 4.56 40, 17 reps, 40.5″vertical, 122 broad, 7.0 3-cone, 4.28 shuttle. Very athletic and good enough speed. He will stick and play in this league. An unbelievable value late in the draft.
18)Trey Walker, Louisiana Lafayette, 6’2″, 200 lbs. 4.51 40, 14 reps., 7.0 3-cone. Big fast and quick safety. Made 97 tackles this past season. He needs to get stronger but could be someone with a big upside.
19)Joshua Kalu, Nebraska, 6’1″, 195 lbs., 4.58 40, 17 reps, 41.5 vertical. A former corner. Could turn into a great free safety. Good cover skills.
20)Troy Apke, Pa. St., 6’2″, 198 lbs., 4.34 40, 16 reps, 41″vertical, 131″broad, 6.56 3-cone, 4.03 shuttle. A freakish athlete at safety. Did not have great production at Pa. St., but he certainly has the tools to play.
21)Quin Blanding, VA., 6’2″, 215 lbs., 4.63 40, 31.5″ vertical. A bigger strong safety. Not as fast as most of the others but made a ton of play for Virginia. A late round pick who could stick.
22)Jordan Whitehead, Pitt., 5’11”, 195 lbs., 21 reps. No times on him. Free safety. Strong and a sure tackler. Not sure about his speed, but he was very good at Pitt.
23)Van Smith, Clemson, 5’11”, 185 lbs., 4.61 40, 29.5″ vertical. He is smaller and not quite as athletic, but he held his own in big games for Clemson the past 3 years.
24)Stephen Roberts, Auburn, 5’11”, 189 lbs., 4.53 40, 34″ vertical, 121 broad. He was a very good safety for Auburn the past few seasons.
This is a really good draft for safeties. There will be good safety prospects from the top to bottom of this draft. With Hyde and Power we really are set with starters, but I am not sure how good our reserves are. I think we have bigger needs on day #1 and #2, but I would get one of these safeties on day #3. Someone to develop, do special teams and maybe eventually start. I can never remember a draft with this number of safeties with this amount of top end speed.
There are a lot of safeties available this year and I think we can get a good one on day #3!