The Dope 10: NFL SafetiesAugust 28, 2012
by: The QB, CJ Oates
There is not much introducing needed for this category when you have the two best Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu leading the way. There is a good crop of young guys who are ready to take their place though once these future Hall of Famers retire. These are the top 10 safeties in the NFL.
1a. Ed Reed
Reed is more of a ball hawking safety who defends the deep portion of the field. Future first ballot Hall of Famer.
1b. Troy Polamalu
Polamalu stays all over the field to help defend both the run and the pass. Is there anything else to say?
3. Adrian Wilson
At 6’3″, 230 lbs. and massive hops, Wilson is a force in defending the running and passing game. Just hope he continues his dominance.
4. Eric Weddle
Weddle finished last season tied for the most interception with seven. He was also selected to his first Pro Bowl and was voted first-team All-Pro. Weddle has quickly become one of the league’s best safeties.
5a. Earl Thomas
Thomas may be he best player on Seattle’s roster. His incredible speed allows him to come up and help in the running game (as noted with him being second on the team in tackles). His coverage abilities allow him to play half the field. Thomas earned a starting Pro Bowl spot and second team All-Pro honors. The thing is he is so young so watch this guy blossom when you can.
5b. Jairus Byrd
Byrd established himself as one of the league’s top safeties. He is better when it comes to one-on-one coverage and improved on tackling. Byrd racking up 98 tackles, three interceptions, three forced fumbles and a sack in 2011, need there to say anymore?
5c. Tyvon Branch
Branch has been one of the best safeties in the AFC over the past few seasons and his presence has helped others around him. Branch has topped 100 tackles in each of the last three seasons. Let’s see with this contract if he can continue this success.
8. Eric Berry
Berry brings corner-like ball skills to his sure, and willing, tackling ability. HIs only problem is he is coming off an injury. A knee injury to be exact. Still look for him to bounce back to his old form.
9. Michael Griffin
Griffin has had times were he looks that he can be an elite safety but at times has been inconsistent. Griffin is still a playmaker so you have to think that in 2012 he has a bounce back from his disappointing 2011 season. I use that word “disappointing” loosely as Griffin had 75 tackles, picked off two passes and forced a fumble. At the end of the day, this guy gives it his all.
10. Malcolm Jenkins
His play-making ability might not be shown every week in the box scores but he is beginning to sharpen and become more polished. The biggest question is how will the coaching changes for the Saints affect his growth.