1. Florida State S Derwin James – Junior – 6-2, 215 – 4.47
Since the moment James stepped on Florida State’s campus he’s been destined to be an NFL player. At over 6-foot with the athleticism of an elite cornerback, James is a prototype player as a safety who can drop back into coverage, come up and lay a hit, play man coverage on tight ends and rush the pass. He is one of the rare prospects in this draft, and will be picked as such.
Florida State S Derwin James – Photo by: Getty Images
2. Alabama S Minkah Fitzpatrick – Junior – 6-0, 205 – 4.46
Like James, Fitzaptrick has been turning heads since his true freshman days. He’s play safety, outside corner and slot corner for the Tide over the last three season, and honestly has the potential to play any of them in the NFL. His safest bet is at safety so he can play a slot role as well. He might not be as athletic as James, but his instincts in coverage are top of this class.
3. Stanford S Justin Reid – Junior – 6-0, 207 – 4.40
Like Fitzpatrick, Reid shows a lot of versatility as a defensive back. His best position is safety, but he played every single defensive back position the Cardinal have in their scheme during his time there. He has good instincts and awareness for the position, and that’s key when playing any safety spot. He’ll likely be a late first round pick.
4. Alabama S Ronnie Harrison – Junior – 6-2, 207 – N/A
It’s rare that you have two of the top five safeties in a draft class coming from the same team, but what else would you expect from the reigning national champions? Harrison was the hard-hitting compliment to Fitzpatrick, but he also has some range in coverage. He has a tendency to overcommit and like to shoulder tackle more than wrap up, but if that’s cleaned up, he can bring a lot of athleticism to the safety position.
5. Wake Forest S Jessie Bates – Junior – 6-1, 200 – 4.50
In 2016, Bates was a consensus Freshman All-American and the ACC’s runner-up conference Defensive Rookie of the Year with 100 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, five interceptions and two touchdowns. Bates was an honorable mention All-ACC selection in 2017. He’s smaller in size, but certainly knows how to make an impact. He can play both free and strong safety. Would be a good option for Tampa Bay.
6. WVU S Kyzir White – Senior – 6-2, 218 – N/A
White was a Top 20 overall junior college prospect before coming on with the Mountaineers in 2016. In WVU’s unique defense, he played a position labeled “SPUR” which is a hybrid safety/linebacker. in that spot, he tallied 58 tackles, seven tackles for loss, three sacks, five pass break-ups and two forced fumbles. White stayed as the team’s SPUR in 2017 and earned second-team All-Big 12 with 94 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, three interceptions, four pass break-ups and two forced fumbles.
7. Texas S DeShon Elliott – Junior – 6-2, 205 – 4.58
In his first year as a starter (2017), Elliott was a unanimous first-team All-American and All-Big 12, and was also named a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award (nation’s top defensive back). He finished the season with 63 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, nine pass breakups, three forced fumbles, six interceptions and two of them returned for a touchdown. He’s a strong safety fit with size and aggression at the line of scrimmage.
S Armani Watts – Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images
8. Virginia Tech S Terrell Edmunds – Junior – 6-2, 220 – 4.47
Not as physically gifted as his brother Termaine, but still a good athlete for his position. He had a good year in 2016, but was forced to shut down his final year short needing shoulder surgery. He’s a solid prospect who does his best work while at or near the linebacker level. he’s more suited to play strong safety, in that regard.
9. Penn State S Marcus Allen – Senior – 6-2, 215 – N/A
Allen started contributing to the Penn State program when he was just a freshman, playing in all 13 games and starting seven. He finished his career with 181 tackles and 17 tackles for loss. He’s a solid safety prospect, but his three interceptions show he’s not one for takeaways. He’s a run supporter and a good tackler — but not a heavy hitter.
10. Texas A&M S Armani Watts – Senior – 5-10, 202 – N/A
Watts has a lot of the same narratives that his running mate Justin Evans had coming out of A&M last year — though Evans was the superior prospects. both had top notch athletic with range and hitting ability, but both were undisciplined in certain areas. Watts is more of a project than Evans was, but if he cleans up his technique and his bad tendencies, He’s a lot of energy and game-changing athleticism form the safety spot.
Best Of The Rest
11. Virginia S Quinn Blanding – Senior – 6-2, 207 – 4.63
Blanding earned first-team All-ACC pick and All-American honors in each of his last two seasons. He started all 13 games in 2017 and finished his finals season with 137 tackles, 3.5tackles for loss and four interceptions. Blanding is a solid safety with good awareness for the position, but he is limited athletically.
12. Pittsburgh S Jordan Whitehead – Junior – 5-10, 198 – N/A
Whitehead played both side of the ball in high school, and the reason he plays safety now is because Pitt wanted to get him on the field as early as possible in his career. Whitehead has 235 tackles in his three season with the Panthers.
13. San Diego State S Kameron Kelly – Senior – 6-2, 204 – 4.66
Kelly played both safety and corner for San Diego State. He played cornerback in his final season, but his lack of true speed make him more of a safety in the NFL. he has the length teams desire for a defensive back hybrid who can play both positions.
14. Penn State S Troy Apke – Senior – 6-1, 200 – 4.34
Apke only started one season at safety. His stats and lack of production and experience will hurt where he gets drafted, but his combine numbers were fantastic. he’ll be a player a team will take a chance on in the later rounds with great athletic ability for the position.
15. Ohio State S Damon Webb – Senior – 5-11, 209 – 4.62
Webb is an experienced safety with limited athleticism. He uses good awareness and experience with instincts to make his mark, but might just be a backup at the next level if he can’t display the range to cover.
Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: email@example.com
PewterReport.com prides itself on being the most complete, comprehensive news source covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and delivering inside scoop on the team found nowhere else.