by Matt Bowen
February 23, 02011
As the NFP heads down to Indianapolis today, let’s talk about the safety position. Unlike 2010, when we saw a class that had top talent at the position (Eric Berry, Earl Thomas, Nate Allen, etc.), this year’s group is average—and might not produce any first round talent.
However, there are still some names to watch at the combine. Let’s run through five prospects that we should keep an eye on—because their stock is about to increase if they test well in Indy.
ICONUCLA's Rahim Moore could be the first safety drafted in April.
Rahim Moore, FS, UCLA: He is the top center field safety in the draft—and that is a major position of need in the NFL. Isn’t the most physical player on the field, but as Wes Bunting wrote yesterday, a solid workout could push Moore into the late first round. And, with a limited talent pool coming out at the position, we could see teams draft the UCLA safety much higher than anticipated.
DeAndre McDaniel, SS, Clemson: One of the safeties I got to see up close at the Senior Bowl down in Mobile. Fits the style of an in the box safety on Sundays, but did show enough range to potentially get off of the numbers in a Cover 2 scheme or rotate to the middle of the field. Also displayed ball skills and above average angles when driving on routes. I want to see what type of change of direction he displays in Indy.
Quinton Carter, FS, Oklahoma: Stood out from my perspective at the Senior Bowl. Looked the part at the weigh-ins, showed above average footwork during individual drills and should be able to open his hips and play the middle of the field in the NFL. At times he can get too tall in his backpedal and round his angles to the football. But with a good workout, Carter could be one of the first safeties to come off of the board and we should see his athletic ability during the workouts. There was plenty of interest from the coaches and scouts I talked to during the week in Mobile surrounding the Oklahoma product.
Tyler Sash, SS, Iowa: A three-year Big ten starter with production. Might be best suited for a Cover 2 team that rolls the safety down into the box in their eight-man fronts, but with a sub 4.55 40-time, Sash could draw the attention of more pressure based teams. Position drills will be important for the Iowa safety, and if he shows that he can turn his hips and display some range, we could see Sash coming off of the board earlier than expected. NFL clubs want to see the athletic ability of the former Hawkeye up close.
Robert Sands, SS, West Virginia: The size (6-5, 221) is the first thing that jumps out in the scouting report. However, I have questions. Can he stay down in his pedal? Can he turn his hips with a fluid motion to track the ball? On a simple plant and drive, is there explosion? Overall technique—you have to see that in a big safety. But even with the questions, Sands is expected to test extremely well in Indy. And we could see a major jump in his draft stock because of what he does inside Lucas Oil Stadium. A 6-5 safety? I have to see this.
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