Breakdowns

Top 10 Safety Prospects for the 2021 NFL Draft

TCU’s Trevon Moehrig might be the only safety to hear his name called in Round 1 of the 2021 NFL draft, but there are other interesting prospects who will be drafted next week. Here are the 33rd Team’s top 15 safety prospects:

  1. Trevon Moehrig, TCU

Played a lot of deep half cover 2 safety looks at TCU. Moehrig has the skill set to come in and contribute much more than that at the next level. Has the range to play single high, the size and physicality to play in the box or cover TEs, the change of direction and agility to play in the slot, and the versatility to be an adjuster in sub packages. Showcased his ST value as a true freshman and continued to be a game changer throughout his career. Should be an Immediate impact player on ST, who can come in and be a versatile piece that adds true depth to your DB room. Should compete to be a starter somewhere in your secondary day one. Areas of needed development include consistency when tackling coupled with honing instincts to not allow himself to get beat over the top when trying to undercut and force turnovers. Size, Length, production, fluidity, and play strength are all going to attract teams to Moehrig, but it is his versatility to a creative DC that will get teams excited about his film.

  • Best Game – Iowa St (10/5/19)
  • Worst Game – Texas (10/3/20)
  • Best Trait – Versatility + Size and Length
  • Key Stats – Led all Safeties in PBU’s in both 2019 (12) and 2020 (8)
  • Games – 33
  • Pro Comparison – More Dynamic Morgan Burnett
  1. Richie Grant, Central Florida

Playmaking high safety, an enticing skill set of physical attributes with a ton of forced turnover productivity at UCF. Should be drafted with the intent of having him come into play FS for your team. Older prospect that will be 24 in his rookie year, which means the window of time to develop and groom Grant is small. Will have to be learning while playing to get the most out of his career. Two big questions coming out of UCF were if he could add even more weight to his frame and if his instincts could be tweaked to not have as many blown coverages or missed TD-saving tackles. Grant answered the weight question when he got up to 200 pounds at the Senior Bowl. Now all that is holding him back is his tendency to play over-aggressive in the wrong situations. As far as a physical prospect, his only issue is he struggles decelerating when he wants to make a play; other than that he possesses all the tools you are looking for in a high safety at the next level. At the end of the day, his age may be the biggest thing pushing him to a day 2 selection come the draft.

  • Best Game – Cincinnati (11/21/20)
  • Worst Game – Temple (10/26/19)
  • Best Trait – Playmaking Ability
  • Key Stats –Lead UCF in tackles in 2018 (108) and 2020 (72), was second on the team in tackles in 2019 (78).
  • Games – 46
  • Pro Comparison – Longer Budda Baker
  1. Jevon Holland, Oregon

Holland should come in day one and immediately compete to be the slot corner or high safety for his team. Unique ability to offer true position versatility by being a moveable piece of the secondary. Can add depth and contribute early on ST in the return game. Needs to add weight to be able to hold his own against blockers in the box. Holland’s skill set of being able to cover in man while still being able to be a rangy High safety who is capable and willing to play the run is going to interest teams. Any team with an immediate need in the secondary but also needs to add depth to the DB room is going to love the versatility Holland can bring to an organization. Haven’t seen Holland since 2019, the big questions will be: Has he added to his frame, and will he still move as fluidly? Holland’s instincts and preparation coupled with his athletic ability to change direction with ease could lead him to being a serious problem for QBs for years to come in the league.

  • Best Game – Auburn (8/31/19)
  • Worst Game – Colorado (10/11/19)
  • Best Trait – Change of Direction
  • Key Stats – First Oregon player to lead the team in INTs two consecutive years since Jairus Byrd (2006 & 2007). Nine INTs from 2018-2019 were tied for the third most in the FBS over that span
  • Games – 27
  • Pro Comparison – Bigger Jalen Mills
  1. Richard LeCounte III, Georgia

If LeCounte III was 6-2 and weighed 210, he would seriously be in the conversation as one of the best safeties in this class, but he is not. The reality of it is that his skill set is very good and should allow him to be used early in sub packages and to compete for any opportunity to get on the field as a day one impact player. Should be a headhunter on ST and someone who will come in with a chip on his shoulder, ready to prove people wrong about his size, comparable to Quandre Diggs out of Texas a few years ago. Off the field question marks such as a motorcycle accident that cost him the majority of his senior season coupled with his failure to show up at the Senior Bowl (after accepting the Invitation) are both red flags for the talented safety out of UGA.

  • Best Game – Kentucky (10/31/20)
  • Worst Game – Auburn (10/3/20)
  • Best Trait – Versatility + Coverage Ability
  • Key Stats – Season Ending Injury Sustained in a Motor Cycle Accident on 10/31/20
  • Games – 40
  • Pro Comparison – Jimmie Ward

 

  1. Ar’Darius Washington, TCU

Washington is an extremely undersized prospect who doesn’t possess great straight-line speed. Despite his size, his ability to play with instincts and understanding of opposing offenses is truly something that will impress teams. Initially, Washington will have to produce on ST to ensure a roster spot, his early career opportunities will be in sub packages on a best-case scenario in a deep third or half responsibility. Will be a promising developmental project for a team willing to look past his size. Washington has the ability to impact games and make plays at the college level, but will need to get into a camp and prove that ability will transition into the NFL. May never be a starter or impact player in the NFL, but can develop into a decent role player who could impact games at the NFL level.

  • Best Games – Oklahoma (11/23/19) Texas Tech (11/7/20)
  • Worst Game – Kansas (11/28/20)
  • Best Trait – Instincts
  • Key Stats – In 2019 Ranked by Pro Football Focus as the nation’s second-highest graded safety, behind only teammate Trevon Moehrig. PFF had him allowing only five catches out of 265 snaps in coverage while forcing a combined seven interceptions and pass breakups. PFF also recorded him only missing three tackles out of his 48 attempts on the season.
  • Games – 23
  • Pro Comparison – Smaller Anthony Harris

 

  1. Paris Ford, Pittsburgh

Ford should come in day one and compete to start on opening day, more than likely will be utilized primarily in sub packages and ST early with playing time and production being linked together. Needs to utilize this offseason to work on breaking down at the POA as well as getting closer to the 200-pound range. An exciting prospect with fewer than 20 games of starting experience at the college level in the ACC, still has plenty of room to grow into the best version of himself. Teams will fall in love with his ability to cover TEs in man, big play ability, and activeness in run support. Ford was certainly never short on confidence at Pitt and will need to bring that same DB swagger into an NFL training camp to give himself the best possible opportunity to play early in his career.

  • Best Game – Duke (10/5/19)
  • Worst Game – Ohio (9/7/19)
  • Best Trait – Run Support
  • Key Stats – 2019 First Team All ACC and Phil Steele All-American (Third Team)
  • Games – 23
  • Pro Comparison – Jessie Bates

 

  1. Christian Uphoff, Illinois State

Uphoff is a rangy high safety with great length and a frame that will blossom in an NFL weight room. Foot speed, anticipation and man coverage ability with his body type are going to interest teams. High upside prospect who is going to take time to get used to the speed of the NFL. Immediate Impact on ST as he proved at the Senior Bowl. A great sub package threat early with TE coverage ability for special week-by-week schemes. The more time a DB coach pours into him with a lot of practice reps, the faster Uphoff will be ready for Sundays. He has all the raw tools and body type you are looking for in a prototype safety made in a lab, but it’s if those skills and frame will transition and bloom into what they need to be from the FCS level.

  • Best Game – Western Illinois (10/19/19)
  • Worst Game – North Dakota St (10/5/19)
  • Best Trait – Foot Speed + Length
  • Key Stats – Named Safety of the Week by his teammates at the Senior Bowl.
  • Games – 38
  • Pro Comparison – Less Freaky George Illoka

 

  1. Andre Cisco, Syracuse

Had 15 turnovers in 24 games, an impressive accomplishment, but the playstyle it took to create them is one filled with risks. Cisco is a very explosive athletic centerfielder with great ball skills. An immediate impact on ST with the opportunity to learn about the importance of blown coverages and how to get off blocks at the LOS. When he learns when to take risks and play with the same level of urgency he currently does in the red zone, Cisco will have a chance to compete to be a starting centerfielder in the NFL. Some teams might be willing to take a risk with his style early and get him on the field in sub packages, but it’s certainly a risk for everyone involved. A promising project coming off a year ending injury that has a few mental pieces to polish at the next level. Any DB coach should be excited to get their hands on him for a year to coach up and allow to really become the best version of himself.

  • Best Game – Florida St (10/26/19)
  • Worst Game – Clemson (9/14/19)
  • Best Trait – Ball Production
  • Key Stats – Ended his career as the FBS active leader in interceptions (13)
  • Starts/Games – 21/24
  • Pro Comparison – Eddie Jackson

 

  1. Hamsah Nasirildeen, Florida State

Nasirildeen projects best as a position-less sub-package defender in the NFL. His ability to play in the box, as an adjuster, and take TEs out of the picture are all unique and needed in the NFL. Initially should be an impact player on ST as well as be a player that can be a changing chess piece each week for a creative DC. His projection as a traditional high safety is rough and may take time to develop more natural DB fluidity to earn a concrete starting spot in the NFL. High-ceiling prospect for a team that is willing to deploy him creatively to take advantage of his immense physical gifts.

  • Best Game – Syracuse (10/26/19)
  • Worst Game – Clemson (10/27/18)
  • Best Trait – Size and Length
  • Key Stats – Returned From a 2019 Season Ending Injury to Start the Final 2 games of the 2020 Campaign.
  • Games – 35
  • Pro Comparison – Leaner Tremaine Edmunds – Jayron Kearse

 

  1. Talanoa Hufanga, USC

Initial projection for Hufanga is to have immediate impact on ST, while being a developmental player who will add depth to a safety group. Mental processing, run support, and ability to cover TEs and RBs in man-to-man are going to excite teams out of the gate. Footwork must improve at the LOS as well as his tendency to become inactive while he reads defenses must be broken. Could potentially be used as a coverage ‘backer in sub packages early on in his career while he develops his footwork on the back end. Smart player with high football IQ that will have an opportunity to grow at the next level and make plays early on ST.

  • Best Game – UCLA (12/12/20)
  • Worst Game – Arizona (10/19/19)
  • Best Trait – Football IQ
  • Key Stats – 2020 86.8 PFF Coverage Grade Which Leads All 2021 Draft Class Safeties.
  • Games – 24
  • Pro Comparison – Mark Barron

 

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