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Draft Busters 2025 NFL Draft Secondary Rankings

2025 NFL Draft
(Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK)

Draft Busters 2025 NFL Draft Secondary Rankings

The 2025 NFL Draft ranking series is coming to a close, at least until we actually get into the season of course, and we are finishing with the Secondary. Chickster and I are going to be breaking down the five best safeties and five best cornerbacks in this one. At least for my list, this is really the first one where Trey and I have had fairly different players on our lists so I am excited to see how things shake out this fall.

*Trey has released his Defensive Back rankings, which you can find here. As always, you can find Chickster’s rankings at the end*

Safety Rankings:

5) Xavier Watts (Notre Dame)

We start our 2025 NFL Draft Safety rankings with a turnover machine in Xavier Watts. Seven interceptions in a single season at Safety is sure to put you on everyone’s radar, but back-to-back games against Pitt and then USC with two interceptions? Yeah, I’m in. Watts is becoming a more willing and able tackler, as his total tackles have gone up every year, and should continue that projection in 2024.

4) Xavier Nwankpa (Iowa)

The production may not be there compared to some of the guys on my list, but Xavier Nwankpa is going to be your field general back there. Very high football IQ, paired with a great frame at 6’2 210 lbs and a downhill mentality. Academic all-conference honors and made the Dean’s list last year, that’s the kind of non-football thing that gets me excited.

3) Andrew Mukuba (Texas)

Next on our 2025 NFL Draft Safety ranking is a former four-star recruit who never really felt like he had a huge impact at Clemson. Andrew Mukuba totaled just one interception in three seasons for the Tigers before transferring to Texas for the upcoming season. He’s active on those deep balls, showcasing nice athleticism to break up passes, you’d just like to see an uptick in interceptions.

2) Kendal Daniels (Oklahoma State)

Kendal Daniels is flying under the radar, and I think he is going to pop this season for Oklahoma State. I love a Safety who is always around the ball and is filling the stat sheet, and that is Daniels to a T. 105 total tackles, two sacks, two interceptions a year ago. His game against West Virginia last season really caught my eye (11 total tackles, forced fumble, and recovery) as he was all over the field constantly making plays.

1) Malaki Starks (Georgia)

The clear top guy in this class is Malaki Starks out of Georgia. This school simply gets the best players, Trey has been telling us this for years now. Starks was a monster in his true freshman year and was equally as impactful last season. Unless something dramatic happens this fall, I don’t think anyone is catching Starks as the best Safety in the class.

Cornerback Rankings:

5) Denzel Burke (Ohio State)

Last-second switch, as I had Tacario Davis out of Arizona in my five-slot as we transition to the Cornerbacks of the 2025 NFL Draft. I was kind of surprised Denzel Burke didn’t declare last season, but he should be able to pump up his draft stock with a solid season this year. Made an appearance in the Stock Report series last season, so he’s been on the radar.

4) Quincy Riley (Louisville)

There are two guys who I think are going to be massive risers by the time we get to next April, and I am going to go ahead and call my shot now. Quincy Riley from Louisville is going to be on the older side of prospects, as he will be entering his sixth(!) season. However, he is very solid in press coverage off the line, and had some massive games last season against NC State, Notre Dame, and Miami that made me jot his name down. He’s one to keep an eye on.

3) Cobee Bryant (Kansas)

I am all aboard the Cobee Bryant train this season. If there is anyone who is going to have a Quinyon Mitchell-esqe rise this season, I would put my money on Bryant. Four interceptions a year ago. QB rating when targeted around 75 over three seasons is very good. He needs to sharpen up his man coverage skills, but if he does you’re looking at one of the best Corners in the country.

2) Benjamin Morrison (Notre Dame)

Benjamin Morrison is a dude, plain and simple. He was a stud his true freshman year, earning All-American honors, and followed that up with a very good year last season. With Cam Hart gone to the NFL, I think we could see Morrison become a pure lockdown corner.

1) Will Johnson (Michigan)

Before we get into Will Johnson, we need to address the elephant in the room. No, as of May 23rd, I do not have Colorado’s Travis Hunter in my top five rankings for the 2025 NFL Draft. Something just doesn’t itch my brain properly with Hunter. I like his upside more as a receiver (find that ranking here) and I think when the time comes, he should probably declare that way. His QB rating when targeted was almost 90, not ideal. The backpedal is choppy. I’m worried we are getting Trevon Diggs with how much he gambles on making the big play, and if you think that’s a positive, seek help.

Now, to my top Cornerback in the 2025 NFL Draft class. When one of your best players throughout the College Football Playoff is an underclassman, you need to take notice. Johnson was fantastic against both Alabama and Texas and should use that momentum to catapult himself toward the top of draft boards come April. 6’2, high IQ when it comes to recognizing routes, and the footwork is extra crispy. I’m all in.

Chickster’s Rankings:

Safety:

  • 5) Xavier Watts (Notre Dame)
  • 4) Kevin Winston (Penn State)
  • 3) Rod Moore (Michigan)
  • 2) Malachi Moore (Alabama)
  • 1) Malaki Starks (Georgia)

Cornerback:

  • 5) Cobee Bryant (Kansas)
  • 4) Benjamin Morrison (Notre Dame)
  • 3) Denzel Burke (Ohio State)
  • 2) Will Johnson (Michigan)
  • 1) Travis Hunter (Colorado)

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