Nick Sitro’s 2020 NFL Draft Safety Rankings

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This safety class is one of the more unique ones in recent memory. If you need an in the box, tackling type of safety, this is your draft. But if your team needs more of a cover safety, you might need to look in free agency. I think Jordan Whitehead already plays well in this role, so I’m not certain the Tampa Bay Buccaneers look to add one in this draft. But with that being said, lets get into the rankings.

1. Xavier McKinney, Alabama

Xavier McKinney reminds me a bit of Jamal Adams, but with with worse cover skills. McKinney is a versatile defender who can blitz up the middle or off the edge, make tackles in space, and stuff the run. The weakest part of his game is his deep range, but it’s not as weak compared to the other safeties in this draft. McKinney is a plug and play defender in the NFL.

2. Grant Delpit, LSU

Remember when Grant Delpit was a projected top 10 pick? I never really understood this notion, as his tackling was lacking. But make no mistake, Delpit will be an impact player in the NFL. His football IQ is top notch coupled with rare physical abilities that make him an intriguing prospect at the end of the first round.

3. Antoine Winfield Jr., Minnesota 

Another safety that struggles with deep range capabilities, Antoine Winfield Jr rounds out number three in my rankings. He has great football intelligence and can man up bigger tight ends. He has physical tools to be a solid NFL starter.

4. Ashtyn Davis, California

Ashtyn Davis is a player who can thrive in the back end, putting his ball skills to good use. He can sometimes get negated by lineman blocking at the second level, but he won’t be your primary tackler in any defense.

5. Jeremy Chinn, Southern Illinois

Jeremy Chinn is a solid athlete who will translate into a strong safety/linebacker role in the NFL. His man coverage skills are lacking, and Chinn thrives when given a shallow zone to cover. He has a high ceiling, but may need time to develop.

6. Alohi Gilman, Notre Dame

Alohi Gilman is an intriguing prospect who will need to be drafted into the right system. He thrives in defenses that can move him around, and allow him to stall the opposing run game. He could be a potential starting strong safety, but needs to improve his coverage skills.

7. Kyle Dugger, Lenoir-Rhyne 

Kyle Dugger is an extremely raw safety, small school safety. He is one of the most athletic secondary players in this draft, but needs a lot of work to hone his technique. He has incredible upside, and should see the field as a special teams player to start.

8. Antoine Brooks Jr., Maryland

Another safety who will translate as a sub-package defensive back, Antoine Brooks Jr. is stout in the run game, but needs work with his deep range. He is yet another player I would like to see on special teams first, before carving out a full time role in the NFL.

9. K’Von Wallace, Clemson

K’Von Wallace is a developmental safety who should contribute on special teams early on. I have some doubts that he can carve out a starting role given his athleticism and ability to track the ball at the highest point.

10. J.R. Reed, Georgia

J.R. Reed is a traditional strong safety, but doesn’t have the strength or deep range to be a starter just yet. He comes in at 10 in my rankings given his versatility, and could compete as a kick and punt returner.

 

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