Early Look at 2013 NFL Safety Draft Class: Impressive Group


Every team in the N.F.L. needs a franchise quarterback and it’s one of the most difficult positions to find.  After franchise quarterback the single most difficult position to fine a franchise-impact player might be safety. Think about all the safeties in the game who truly scare teams–safeties who make an offense game plan around that kind of player and you come up with a very few names: Troy Polamalu and Ed Reed come to mind. These are locks for the Hall of Fame and not many teams can find guys like these, but even players like Eric Weddle, Earl Thomas, Eric Berry, Adrian Wilson, Kenny Phillips are hard to find. These are just really good solid players at the position, but not every down impact type players like Reed and Polamalu.  In the 2012 NFL Draft the safety position was pitiful, but an early 2013 look shows an impressive group. A group where Harrison Smith might be the 6th or 7th best safety.

Eric Reid, LSU

Reid patrolled the back end with the underrated Brandon Taylor last year. This year Reid has the chance to become a very highly coveted players, just a notch below Eric Berry. Reid has terrific range and is a good tackler. Reid has amassed the tackles in the Tigers defense and does an excellent job coming up to the play the run. Just a really good, exciting, young player.

T.J. McDonald, USC

McDonald surprised everyone by heading back to USC (though his press conference wasn’t at the height that Matt Barkley was) and he might have been drafted higher than Mark Barron. McDonald is a  big safety who can lay punishing hits like Barron, but is a better center-fielder to boot. Barron plays with terrific awareness and McDonald’s isn’t at that level but he’s more physically gifted and should be considered on par, if not a better prospect than Barron.

Robert Lester, Alabama

Lester was Barron’s partner in crime forming a scary safety group for opposing College Football offenses. Lester again is more of a free safety than Barron. Lester has really good size and good ball skills as well. Lester is a potential first round safety if he can put together a good season, it will be interesting to see if Alabama uses Lester any differently this year without Barron.

Tony Jefferson, Oklahoma

Jefferson is another good center-field type who could end up in the discussion as a late first round pick, but would likely go in the second if the draft were today.

Kenny Vaccaro, Texas

Vaccaro brings versatility to the position, as a big bodied guy who can cover well. Vacccaro needs to improve his technique, but has a lot of physical ability. He’s not a guy who’s high on every board right now, but we believe will be by the end of the season. Vaccaro will also be a demon on special teams with his toughness and abilities. Vaccaro right now for me sits in round two, but he could go higher.

Ray Ray Armstrong, Miami

Armstrong right now is like Taylor Mays with all the enticing ability, but not making enough plays. Armstrong could use a big year to resurrect his stock a bit. Armstrong has more than enough ability to be considered a second round pick.

This is just a snippet of the draft class  at the safety position. Where there were very few draftable safety plays in the 2012 NFL Draft class there are six guys alone here who seem certain to be picks in the first two rounds as it stands today.

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