It’s that time of the year again when we take a deep dive into the potential 2020 Draft Safeties Class.
This article, the 2020 NFL Draft Safeties Top 10, will cover the best Safeties looking to make an impact in the 2019 College season, before being drafted in 2020. So why wait? Let's do this thing!
Antoine Brooks Jr. – Maryland
Antoine Brooks Jr. is a solid talent. The Maryland product could be an edge rusher in the NFL but for this piece, we will call him a safety. He is a great athlete, shows explosiveness and makes great plays on the ball. He is ultra-competitive and can play anywhere in the backfield for Maryland.
This guy is fun to watch. He can dominate in the backfield if given the change at the big time.
Can flat-footed at times, waiting for something to happen around him. Tends to sit back and wait.
Was a QB in High School before missing his senior year due to injury. He was recruited as an athlete, rather than a DB.
Look for him in the 2nd round.
Brandon Jones – Texas
Brandon Jones has everything you want in a safety, except one thing. He is built to play the position with long arms and a great mind for the game. He is quick, reliable on the tackle and reads the plays around him well enough to be on this list. He plays well at the line or in the backfield. He understands his role and sticks to it.
Cannot catch the football. At all. He has played 32 games and for 3 pass breakups and one intercept. He needs to spend time with the ball machine every day and practice catching passes.
A high ankle sprain hampered him for much of 2018, he had surgery in the offseason and is expected to be ready to go for 2019.
He will be a lock for the top of the 2nd round. If he can learn to catch, he will be a first-round prospect. Look for him late in the first.
Shyheim Carter – Alabama
Shyheim Carter has been great for Alabama despite him not being high on the stats sheet. He plays the unique STAR role for Alabama, the same position played by Micah Fitzpatrick. He is aggressive when he comes forward and sees the play when he stays back. There is not a lot he cannot do in the backfield. He had 27 tackles and 10 pass breakups min 2018 but will have an increased role in 2019. Expect him to go big in the backfield for Bama.
He is a tremendous athlete with plenty of upside.
Likes to work forward towards the line rather than cover the deep backfield. Not a problem, just an observation.
Look for him in the 2nd round.
Alohi Gilman – Notre Dame
Alohi Gilman is a strong safety who transferred from Navy after his freshman season. As a junior in 2018, he made a whopping 95 tackles. He is a strong player with good power who is most effective when coming to the line. He is effective in his role and has great instincts. Reading plays comes easy to him and he sees everything in front of him.
Limited in range but a good athlete. He can struggle against NFL caliber WRs and its shows.
Needed another year of production under his belt. Consistency is a problem for him. Look for him at the end of the 2nd round.
David Dowell – Michigan State
David Dowell continues to impress in recent years and will look to improve again in 2019. He is quick to the ball, strong in tackles, reads plays well and is a strong candidate to be drafted in the early rounds.
He is a smart player who understands his role and executes it well. Long arms and strength at the catch point help him to create turnovers with ease.
Twin brother is LB Andrew Dowell who was taken by the Cowboys as a UDFA in the 2019 draft.
The future is bright for this kid. Look for him in the 3rd round.
Ashtyn Davis – California
Ashtyn Davis is one of the best hurdlers in the nation, he is also a safety for the Golden Bears. In 2018, he had 36 tackles with four intercepts and five passes broken up. He can hit and runs hard. Long, lanky legs mean he covers a lot of ground and can make big plays. NFL teams will like him for special teams play initially but he can be worked into a fine safety in the NFL.
He is built well and plays all over the field
Can get drawn forward easily and be thrown over. This will be fixed with experience in the game.
Look for him in the 3rd round.
Grant Delpit – LSU
Grant Delpit is a great reader of the ball, He runs hard and stalks his prey. He is the best safety in the class and it’s not even close. He covers so much ground. Unbelievable speed with natural talent and has an uncanny ability to close on players. He is an All-American and will be again in 2019.
Great first step quickness and his ability to play in the line of scrimmage is Derwin James like.
He collected 74 tackles in 2018, 9.5 for loss and five intercepts.
Delpit is the real deal. This guy could be the first safety taken in the top 10 in decades. Certainly a 1st rounder.
J.R. Reed – Georgia
J.R. Reed is a 5th-year safety who hasn’t missed a game in two seasons. Most thought he should’ve come out in the 2019 draft, but he has decided to stay in the hopes of winning a National Championship.
He attacks the box so well, goes after ball carriers like a hunter and is a solid run defender. Great sideline to sideline pursuit of players, he covers so much ground. Comfortable in man coverage
Tackling is a little inconsistent. Can be a step late. Speed isn’t great, not sold on his talent.
Needs another year to show his class. Look for him in the 2nd round.
Xavier McKinney – Alabama
Xavier McKinney is great to watch. He is explosive but not great top-end speed. Is more comfortable sitting back and watching. He is a strong safety who works great on a blitz off the edge. Only one year of starting, but the tape is good. He likes to bait players to throw in his direction. Don’t fall for it.
Could play more as a free safety in 2019 with Deionte Thompson in the NFL.
Lack of tape and lack of exposure.
Great player. Look for him at the end of the 1st round.
Richie Grant – UCF
Richie Grant has had plenty of production and is a fun guy to watch. He made 108 tackles in 2018, 6 intercepts and 2 forced fumbles. WOW. He plays all over the field as UCF doesn’t have a lot of other talents. He addresses the catch point nicely and can be a good prospect for the NFL. Reads the field well and make plays.
Was owned by Tony Pollard and Derrell Henderson in 2018. Not a lot of athleticism or speed.
Look for him in the 2nd round.
Honorable 2020 NFL Draft Safeties Mentions:
Kenny Robinson Jr. – West Virginia
Reggie Floyd – Virginia Tech