The 5 Best Safeties In 2021 NFL Draft
The 2021 NFL Draft is getting nearer and nearer, and it’s important to consider what safeties bring to the table. Safeties are the connective tissue of a defense. They obviously need to be able to help cornerbacks over the top on deep balls, but they have to be ready to provide run support as well. In an NFL dominated by the pass and which involves increasingly sophisticated offenses, having an intelligent and instinctive safety is a massive asset. Let’s look at the best safeties on the board at the coming NFL draft.
Richie Grant, UCF
The UCF defense had its vulnerable moments this past season, including and especially a home-field loss against Cincinnati. Yet, most of the big strikes UCF allowed were not in Grant’s direction. He provided a measure of stability in the UCF secondary.
The AAC is a pass-happy conference. Safeties get tested in terms of providing help for cornerbacks and being able to cover large amounts of territory on the gridiron. Grant is a battle-tested safety who can shoulder a large workload in the NFL. He proved he could do that at UCF.
Trevon Moehrig, TCU
The Big 12 is a wonderful conference to play in if you are a receiver or a quarterback. It is a terrible conference to play in if you’re a safety or defensive back. The Big 12 has so many coaches who place a lot of emphasis on a sophisticated and nuanced passing game which can identify lots of little details and use precise study to expose an opposing defense. No one in the Big 12 does this better than Oklahoma and head coach Lincoln Riley, who have won the Big 12 championship in each of the past five seasons. (Oklahoma actually has won six straight Big 12 titles, but the first one in 2015 came before Riley ascended to the head coaching spot following the retirement of Bob Stoops.)
TCU has a well-earned reputation as the best-coached defensive unit in the Big 12. The TCU team hasn’t done very well the past three seasons because of a struggling offense, but the defense did its part and kept TCU competitive in the Big 12. Moehrig was as good a player as anyone else on the TCU roster. He was a pillar who prevented the Horned Frogs from a complete collapse this past season. He is the real deal, and anyone who survives the Big 12 as a safety will enter the pros knowing he can achieve anything.
Jevon Holland, Oregon
The Oregon Ducks successfully defended their Pac-12 championship this past season. They defeated the USC Trojans in the Pac-12 Championship Game, and they did so with a strong effort from a defense which intercepted USC quarterback Kedon Slovis three times. Jevon Holland was all over the field that night, leading the Ducks to the Fiesta Bowl. He is a sensational playmaker who will make an NFL team very happy.
Hamsah Nasirildeen, Florida State
The Florida State Seminoles had a miserable season, but Nasirildeen usually seemed to be in the right spot at the right time, displaying great feel for the game and showing he could make accurate pre-snap reads with great consistency. High football IQ separates Nasirildeen from many of the other safeties in this class, and he is certainly not deficient as an athlete, especially regarding his range of motion and leaping capabilities.
Andre Cisco, Syracuse
Cisco helped Syracuse win 10 games in 2018. The Orange were a lot worse in 2019 and 2020, but Cisco remained the same elite player he had been in his first year with the school in 2018. Cisco was the one defensive player Syracuse could depend on for both production and proper reads, even as the Orange suffered through misery in 2019 and 2020. Scouts know this player was elite even though the team cratered. Cisco is a rock in the secondary, and will be recognized as such by the NFL team which picks him.