2010 NFL Draft: Top Safeties

Chris J. NelsonSenior Writer IMarch 24, 2010

ATLANTA - DECEMBER 31:  Safety Eric Berry #14 of the Tennessee Volunteers takes a breather during the Chick-Fil-A Bowl against the Virginia Tech Hokies at the Georgia Dome on December 31, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  The Hokies beat the Volunteers 37-14.  (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

With the 2010 NFL Draft just a month away, I will be highlighting the top players at each position in this year's class.

These are my top safety prospects available in the 2010 NFL Draft.

1. Eric Berry, Tennessee

A three-time All-SEC selection during his final three seasons with the Volunteers, Berry racked up 245 tackles and 14 interceptions in 39 career games.

The undisputed top safety in this year's class, Berry is a playmaker in the mold of Ed Reed and should come off the board sometime in this year's top 10 picks.

2. Earl Thomas, Texas

Just a two-year starter for the Longhorns after redshirting in 2007, Thomas finished his career with 10 interceptions in 27 games, including an eight-interception performance in 2009.

A likely top-20 pick, Thomas has fantastic speed that could allow him to project at both cornerback or free safety at the next level.

3. Taylor Mays, Southern California

A four-year starter for some obviously talented USC squads, Mays racked up 276 tackles, five interceptions, and 21 pass breakups over four seasons for the Trojans.

A physical freak with 4.3 speed at 6'3" and 230 pounds, Mays' lack of big plays in college is a concern and I still question whether he has the cover skills to be a starting NFL safety.

Regardless, Mays' upside is vast and he could project as a great linebacker in the right scheme if he doesn't pan out in the secondary. He's a likely first-round pick this April, but pinpointing a more specific spot is difficult due to his unique abilities.

4. Nate Allen, South Florida

A three-year starter for the Bulls, Allen finished his career with 226 tackles and nine interceptions, including two four-interceptions performances in 2007 and 2009.

Allen has an outside shot to go in the late first round if things play out the right way, but he will almost certainly be a second-round pick in this year's draft.

5. Chad Jones, Louisiana State

A two-sport star at LSU, Jones was a pitcher and outfielder for the Tigers' baseball team in addition to being a three-year safety in football.

A second-team All-SEC selection as a senior in 2009, Jones finished his career with 158 tackles and five interceptions in 40 games.

Jones has the size (6'2", 220) and physicality of an NFL strong safety, but is a bit lacking in coverage. He could sneak into the draft's first round, but is more likely a second-round pick.

Who are your top safety prospects in the 2010 NFL Draft? Share your thoughts on the forum here !

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Chris J. Nelson is a journalism major at Georgia State University. He operates his own Miami Dolphins Web site, The Miami Dolphins Spotlight, and can be followed on Twitter here.


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