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With several teams lacking elite play out of their safeties, the top three safeties in this draft class will be in high regard, making it entirely possible that all three are gone in the first round.
Eric Berry stands tall above the rest of the prospects, and could easily be a top-five pick. But where do the rest rank?
Read on for the safety rankings for the 2010 NFL Draft :
1. Eric Berry (Tennessee)
Berry is far and away the best safety prospect in this draft, and combines blazing speed with outstanding skills and range. He's compared by many to Baltimore's Ed Reed, a top-five NFL safety, and has all the potential to achieve that kind of status, and then some.
With amazing speed (4.36 40) and excellent tackling ability, Berry is easily a top-10 overall talent, and is a strong candidate to be selected in the top-five.
2. Earl Thomas (Texas)
Thomas has great speed and athleticism, and also has the versatility to play all over the field in the secondary. While he has the skills to play corner, he's almost certainly being drafted based on his ability to play safety, where he really ranks second only to Berry, and that's saying a lot.
Thomas could stand to be a bit bigger, and doesn't have great height, but he has all the skills to be a stud safety at the next level. He has strong fundamentals and great range, and will really only be graded poorly on run support and his small frame.
3. Taylor Mays (USC)
Mays is an athletic freak. He has amazing size and bulk for the position, while also possessing elite speed (although recent times suggest otherwise).
The only problem is, he's as raw as any talented safety in the draft. He's extremely inconsistent in coverage, and may lack the ideal instincts to be an elite safety at the next level.
However, if the instincts ever match up with the talent, he could go down as the best safety in this draft.
4. Chad Jones (LSU)
Jones had adequate speed and range, while also possessing excellent size for the position. He's done well against very good competition, and is a fairly consistent defender over the top.
He simply doesn't touch the athleticism and potential that the top three safeties carry.
5. Nate Allen (South Florida)
Allen is another guy in these rankings with awesome measureables (cue Al Davis), but hails from a smaller school, struggles win coverage, and didn't face a lot of elite competition at South Florida.
However, Allen is a sound, physical tackler with good speed and explosiveness. He's been a productive performer at the college level, and can be a flat-out play-maker.
The question is, will a good combine just tease NFL teams with his athleticism and speed, or can he actually put it all together and become a complete player?
6. Morgan Burnett (Georgia Tech)
Burnett has solid size and bulk for the position, but doesn't have elite speed or the desired range for a safety at the next level.
He fared well against good competition throughout his career and was a reliable performer, but needs a good combine to move up any further on this list.
7. ReShad Jones (Georgia)
Jones is another guy with solid size and athleticism, but he's no burner, and he isn't known for making eye-popping plays.
He was pretty productive, though, and ended his 2009 season with 76 tackles and five picks, so we know that he has some ball skills and an get to his man. He needs to improve his range and consistency, but he'll be a reliable backup at the next level and still has the potential to be a starter.
8. Darrell Stuckey (Kansas)
Stuckey has decent size and speed, but isn't amazing in pass coverage, and just doesn't do a lot to stop receivers from bringing in the ball.
He can be late on getting to players and sometimes provides only a moderate pop on his hits, but fundamentally, he's fairly reliable.
9. Larry Asante (Nebraska)
Asante is a bit shorter than desired and does not have elite speed. However, he was a decent last resort in Nebraska's defense, racking up 79 tackles.
He doesn't have elite ball skills, but he's a reliable tackler and better in coverage than some of the more hyped players in his rankings.
10. Major Wright (Florida)
Wright has good athleticism, speed, and a solid overall build, but suffers from being in a crop of safeties that simply have more potential or better numbers than he does.
He has solid play-making ability, but needs work on taking proper ankles and staying consistent as a tackler. He's not great in run support.
Honorable Mention: Robert Johnson, Myron, Rolle, Kurt Coleman, T.J. Ward, Myron Lewis
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