NFL Draft Safety Rankings 2021: From The College Perspective

Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Draft Safety Rankings 2021: From The College Perspective

2021 NFL Draft

NFL Draft Safety Rankings 2021: From The College Perspective


2021 NFL Draft Safety Rankings Top Ten

10. Divine Deablo, Virginia Tech

Size: 6-3, 226

The Good: Really big and really fast, he gives teams a whole lot of options to work with. Not only is he built like a huge defensive back/smallish linebacker, but he’s a 4.4ish runner, too. He used it all to come up with 194 tackles and 11 tackles for loss in his last three seasons, and he grew into more of a pass defender with four picks in 2020.

The Not-So-Good: The tweener positives are also potential issues. He’s not a linebacker, and he’s not all that great against the speedier receivers if he ever has to lock on.

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: There’s way too much not to like. He might not have a specific position, and he might need to have strong cover guys around him, but he’ll hit and he’ll produce as a great-value starter coming after the first 100 picks.

Projected Round: Third

9. Caden Sterns, Texas

Size: 6-0, 212

The Good: Extremely good against the run over the last three seasons, he’s more than just a stats guy. He made 173 career stops, and the four picks as a freshman set a good tone. And then there’s the real number – 4.4. Insanely good all the way around at his pro day – and with a 212-pound body – he’s got the tools.

The Not-So-Good: Yeah, he cranked up the stats, but he also made a whole lot of tackles down the field. He was just okay against the pass – just one pick in his last two seasons – and might be forced into being mostly a run stopper.

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: 4.4 for a safety changes things. He’s got the experience and the ability to be a starting NFL defensive back, but a team has to surround him by strong cover guys.

Projected Round: Fourth

8. Ar’Darius Washington, TCU

Size: 5-8, 176

The Good: He made all the plays Trevon Moehrig didn’t get to. He might not be all that big, but he moves well, is a solid tackler – 83 stops over the last two years – and came up with five picks in 2019. Always going 100 miles per hour, he makes up for the problems with energy and play-speed.

The Not-So-Good: He’s missing the NFL look and size. At 5-8 and 176 pounds he’s not big enough to bring any semblance of thump, and he’s going to have a whole lot of problem with the lightning fast receivers coming down the middle.

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: You’re not going to find a tougher pound-for-pound guy in the draft, but the big shots he was able to come up with in college won’t happen at the next level. He’s enough of a playmaker to find a spot somewhere in an alignment.

Projected Round: Fourth

7. Talanoa Hufanga, USC

Size: 6-0, 199

The Good: A terrific tackler, he might not look like a big hitter but he is with 203 stops in three seasons and four forced fumbles over the last two years. He improved his play as a pass defender, coming up with four picks in just six games in 2020 while still coming up with a whole lot of big things in the backfield.

The Not-So-Good: He was great … when he was on the field. He’s a physical player who lays the lumber, but he also takes himself out with his big shots. You can’t take away his style without taking away what he does so well, but he’s going to always be banged up.

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: Here’s the deal. If you can promise that he’ll be healthy enough to play for at least 60 games over the next five years he might be one of the three best safeties in the draft. He’s so good that he’s a chance worth taking for what he’ll bring when he’s healthy.

Projected Round: Fourth

6. Andre Cisco, Syracuse

Size: 6-1, 216

The Good: There’s a whole lot to like. He’s big, he runs a sub-4.5, and was ultra-productive during his first two seasons and two games with 136 tackles with 13 interceptions and 14 broken up passes.

He rocked right out of the gate with seven picks as a freshman, and even though he was avoided, came up with five as a sophomore while also being a steady producer against the run.

The Not-So-Good: The stats are great, but he also worked himself in and out of a lot of plays by being overaggressive. He’ll make the massive play, but he’ll also misfire on a few others trying to come up with something big.

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: There’s a whole lot to work with and the concerns can be tweaked. You don’t want to tamp down his fire or his playmaking ability, and once he gets into an NFL system and doesn’t have to do everything himself, he should shine. You want playmakers like Cisco.

Projected Round: Third

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NEXT: 2021 NFL Draft Safety Rankings No. 5

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