Safeties- NFL Draft 2018

1. Minkah Fitzpatrick (Alabama)– The crazy thing about a defensive player attending the University of Alabama is that they usually have to watch from the sidelines their first year or two. That wasn’t the case with Minkah Fitzpatrick. His first season in 2015, he saw the field right away and he immediately became an impact player. When you watch him play, the first thing you take away is how much he loves this game. He lives, breathes, eats and sleeps football. He’s an extremely competitive football player with a knack for showing up in the biggest games meaning the brighter the lights and the bigger the stage, the better he is. He’s a versatile player with the experience to play all over the field. He can cover the slot receivers, playback as a high safety and if asked, he can handle nickel linebacker responsibilities. He plays with the mentality of a corner when covering and as a linebacker in stopping the run. He’s always wanting to attack the line of scrimmage and always welcomes a physical challenge.

2. Derwin James (Florida State)– I’m beyond glad that he was able to play this year after missing the previous season with a knee injury. The future is bright for Derwin James. He’s a vocal leader and a guy that also leads by example and when he speaks, those around him will listen. He’s an extremely versatile defender who can be placed anywhere on the field at any snap. He can cover a lot of ground and is extremely rangy to the point where he can challenge passes from the middle if possible. He’s not your typical safety where he’s looking to make that hit, he’s going for the football first and looks for the ball when he gets to the spot he targets. He’s a hybrid player when used at the line of scrimmage. He’s a savvy blitzer with the speed and athleticism to power through to make the tackle. I see a mix of Eric Berry and Tyrann Mathieu when watching Derwin play.

3. Ronnie Harrison (Alabama)– Before playing the safety position, he was a quarterback. He possesses a nice combination of size and speed and whenever the Tide needed him to make a play, he was always up for the challenge. He was the team leader in tackles last season with 74. He’s a physical specimen and his style of play along with that physicality make him an absolute terror when loaded into the box. He’s a well-rounded player that will come off the draft board very soon for a team later this month in Dallas.

4. Justin Reid (Stanford)– The University of Stanford has been known to produce a great NFL defender here and there. This kid could be the next of those. Anything you need him to do on the field, he did just that. He can go step by step with the quickest receivers and cover them down the field and as a safety, you need to be able to help out the corners underneath and he does that. When he’s backpedaling, he always has his eyes on the quarterback and has a terrific sense for the football and always wants to make a play on the ball, even if it’s tipping it away. When he’s loaded into the box, he squares up and makes the tackle in space. Justin always the turnover mentality whether he wants to force fumbles or get those interceptions.

5. Jessie Bates (Wake Forest)– In 2016, he made an immediate impact after redshirting his freshman year to learn and add strength. That season, Jessie was a consensus Freshman All-American and a runner-up behind Clemson’s Dexter Lawrence. He’s a versatile safety that plays with a ton of energy and has the athleticism to handle man coverage responsibilities and shows the instincts to be productive in a zone scheme. He plays with reckless abandon and will do whatever to make the play for his team. When I watched the tape, I saw some cornerback like instincts while he played the safety position.