2016 NFL Scouting Combine
(L.G. Patterson/Associated Press)

After recently discussing the cornerback combine performances it is time to dive into the safety group. This is not a particularly deep group as I don’t see any of these players being first round picks. Let’s take a look at the safeties that impressed me at this year’s combine.

West Virginia’s Karl Joseph is the number one safety on my board with an early second round projection. Joseph has some injury concerns that will likely keep him out of round one. Having only played 3 games due to an ACL tear, Joseph recorded 5 interceptions in just a short period of playing time. The value that he holds is that he is a complete safety. Joseph is a thumper and can affect the running game just as much as the passing game. He did not participate in any of the events due to a medical issue. The key for him will be to get cleared prior to the draft.

One of my favorite players to watch this season was Southern Utah’s Miles Killebrew. There was a point in time where I would record the Southern Utah games and fast forward to defense just to watch this guy hit someone. They don’t make football players like this anyone more. I really encourage you to watch these links as I have never seen so many players go backwards than when Killebrew hits them. His test numbers were perfectly fine by me running a 4.65. Killebrew benched 22 reps, jumped 38 inches in the vertical, and 127 inches in the broad. Sure the level of competition isn’t the same at Southern Utah but there is something to be said for the level of intensity this guy plays the game at.

Vonn Bell from Ohio State and Jeremy Cash form Duke are a sort of tie for 3rd on my safety list. Both players did not participate in any of the drills due to injuries. Bell and Cash interestingly enough were teammates before Cash transferred to Duke. Bell is a similar player to Kurt Coleman coming out of Ohio State while Cash is more of the traditional strong safety.

Finally some high upside players I liked included Clemson’s Jayron Kearse from Clemson and Justin Simmons from Boston College. Kearse didn’t have a consistent year at Clemson with a number of missed tackles but is a high upside guy similar to Kam Chancellor. Kearse is also the nephew of Javon Kearse who is a former NFL defensive end. His nickname by the way was the “Freak”, which gives you an idea of what kind of player Jayron can become. Kearse’s Clemson teammate T.J. Green ran a 4.31, 40 time which is blazing for a safety.

Simmons on the other hand was a guy I often times always found his way to the football. It wasn’t a coincidence either. His 40 time wasn’t outstanding at 4.61 but his 40 inch vertical showed his lower body explosion with his ability to high point the football. One of his two interceptions in 2015 came against Clemson’s Deshaun Watson who should be a top 5 pick in next year’s draft. Simmons also has the ability to play some slot corner boasting his value.

Safety Rankings:
1. Karl Joseph (West Virginia)
2. Miles Killebrew (Southern Utah)
3. Vonn Bell (Ohio State)
4. Jeremy Cash (Duke)
5. Justin Simmons (Boston College)