NFL Free Agency: 7 Best Safeties on the Market

Jason KarlAnalyst IIIMay 9, 2011

NFL Free Agency: 7 Best Safeties on the Market

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    SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 15:   Tight-End Brent Celek #87 of the Philadelphia Eagles is tackled after the catch by Eric Weddle #32 of the San Diego Chargers during the NFL football game on November 15, 2009 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. Cha
    Donald Miralle/Getty Images

    Hopefully free agency will occur soon so that the free agents can find new homes.

    With not much other than free agency to talk about, teams will be looking at a strong group of safeties hitting the market this offseason.

    Great safety play can hide any weakness the cornerback displays in a defense.

    Here are the seven best safeties in free agency.

7. SS Donte Whitner

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    ORCHARD PARK, NY - OCTOBER 10:  Mike Thomas #80 of the Jacksonville Jaguars runs toward Donte Whitner #20  of the Buffalo Bills  at Ralph Wilson Stadium on October 10, 2010 in Orchard Park, New York. Jacksonville won 36-26.  (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty I
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    The 5'10'', 208-pound Whitner will never live up to his eighth overall selection in the 2006 draft. That being said, he was still a solid safety on a bad Bills team.

    Whitner will leave Buffalo after tweeting about possible replacements for him.

    Whitner in 2010 recorded 140 tackles, seven pass defenses and one interception. He is not much of a playmaker, but will not kill you in pass defense.

    Only being 25 years of age, Whitner is only entering his prime.

    Can he take his game to the next level? He certainly has the potential to do so.

6. SS Roman Harper

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    NEW ORLEANS - SEPTEMBER 09:  Quarterback Brett Favre #4 of the Minnesota Vikings takes a hard hit from Roman Harper #41 of the New Orleans Saints at Louisiana Superdome on September 9, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Image
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Roman Harper played his way out of a huge contract with his terrible showing against the Seahawks in which he was lit up.

    Harper, though, still had more than a solid regular season for the Saints and could impact the defense with his departure.

    He had six forced fumbles this year and one interception; displaying his nose for the ball.

    Harper may not have great speed, in fact even Sam Bradford ran him down after his interception return, but he was a reliable player in the secondary last year for the Saints.

5. SS Danieal Manning

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    CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 23:  Wide receiver Jordy Nelson #87 of the Green Bay Packers catches a pass in front of Danieal Manning #38 of the Chicago Bears in the third quarter in the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field on January 23, 2011 in Chicago, Illin
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The 5'11'' Danieal Manning is a solid safety of the Chicago Bears.

    He recorded 72 tackles and an interception last season, but was key in the Bears' strong run support.

    Though he was beat in pass coverage a few times last year, Manning was arguably the Bears' best safety.

    The 28-year-old Manning provides extra versatility, as he is very underrated in the kickoff game, averaging 24.7 yards per return.

    Manning played the Charles Woodson of the defense. He came up to blitz, was fast enough to cover slot receivers, and could play in the Cover 2 deep scheme.

4. SS Quintin Mikell

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 09:  John Kuhn #30 of the Green Bay Packers fights for a fumble against Quintin Mikell #27 and Jamar Chaney #51 of the Philadelphia Eagles during the 2011 NFC wild card playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 9, 2011
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Just take a look at the picture to see why I dislike Quintin Mikell.

    Come on Mikell, just secure the ball! Secure it, please!

    Mikell is a 30-year-old in decline.

    Mikell had 88 tackles and three interceptions this past season, solid numbers for a strong safety, but regressed considerably from the previous years.

    He looked slow in coverage, many times was caught flat-footed, but his strength was against the run.

    Mikell is not a player that can cover the entire field, but can make a play on the ball.

3. SS Dawan Landry

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - JANUARY 09:  Safety Dawan Landry #26 of the Baltimore Ravens runs back an interception of quarterback Matt Cassel #7 of the Kansas City Chiefs in the third quarter of their 2011 AFC wild card playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium on January
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Dawan Landry is one of the most underrated safeties in the league. Most of the praise is given to Ed Reed, and deservedly so, but Landry is still great. Landry is the older brother of superstar safety LaRon Landry.

    Landry had 111 tackles and was strong in pass coverage as well as defending the run, complementing the rangy Reed.

    The Ravens have other free agents to worry about, so the 28-year-old Landry could come at a bargain price.

    Landry has been the starter for the Ravens since being drafted in the fifth round out of Georgia Tech in 2006.

    He seems to be finally recovered from his serious spinal cord injury in 2008.

2. FS Michael Huff

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    SAN DIEGO - DECEMBER 05:  Michael Huff #24 of the Oakland Raiders breaks up a pass intended for wide receiver Malcolm Floyd #80 of the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on December 5, 2010 in San Diego, California. The Raiders defeated the Chargers 2
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    While Michael Huff may never live up to the hype of being the seventh overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, he is starting to show his great skills.

    Huff is a rangy safety and has speed to cover the entire field and is also much improved in run defense.

    Huff is 6'1", 205 pounds and is a ball hawk.

    For the season, Huff recorded 94 tackles, three interceptions, four sacks, three forced fumbles, and seven passes defended--on his way to his first All-Pro selection.

    Coming out of Texas, Huff was known for his ball skills, and after a couple years of disappoint, he is slowly becoming one of the league's best safeties.

1. SS Eric Weddle

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    NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 25: Eric Weddle #32 of the San Diego Chargers returns this interception intended for Kenny Britt #18 of the Tennessee Titans on December 25, 2009 at LP Field in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rex Brown/Getty Images)
    Rex Brown/Getty Images

    Eric Weddle is an underrated safety who tops the list as the best safety in the open market. The 26-year-old Weddle recorded 96 tackles and two interceptions, to go along with 10 passes defensed.

    Weddle is playmaker in the Chargers secondary and is rangy for a strong safety.

    He can also support the run well and was one of the leaders on the Chargers defense.

    Weddle is always around the ball and he is finally being recognized as one of the league's best safeties, after ESPN ranked him the sixth best safety.

    For a team looking for a playmaker and an all-round great talent at the back of their secondary, Weddle is their man.