2011 NFL Draft Player Rankings: Strong Safeties
Up next for NFL Soup are the strong safety rankings for the 2011 NFL Draft. An excellent strong safety can be the difference between an exceptional defense and a good defense. You may have heard of a guy named Troy Polamalu, who has been terrifying opposing offenses for years.
Strong safeties are generally a bit bigger, and often play as an extra linebacker on running situations. Generally, in man to man coverage, they’ll be lined up on the tight end, or a back out of the backfield. Having a guy in the secondary that can hit you, and be a great player in run support is huge in the NFL, especially with teams using both speed and power backs in games in this day and age.
NFL Soup presents its 2011 NFL Draft Strong Safety rankings.
1) DeAndre McDaniel- Clemson- 6’0 1/8 217
NFL teams have to be drooling over McDaniel who is one of the most dominant safeties in the nation. He’s very experienced, as he has started since his freshman year at Clemson, and he’s made a big impact in the Tiger secondary. McDaniel is a great wrap up tackler, and reads plays well, often getting to the ball carrier quickly, and getting off blocks. He’s a great zone defender, and is a ball hawk. He can hit you hard, and make you lose the ball. He’s just an overall stud, and should be a first round draft pick.
2) Ahmad Black- Florida- 5’9 1/2 184
Black is an extremely athletic, big hitting strong safety which has excelled with the Gators. He is excellent in reacting to the play, and makes plays against the run on a regular basis. His height is one of the biggest factors keeping him from being a first round talent. The good news is that he will be coveted by many teams despite his height and could still move into the second round. He should fare quite well in the combine as he’s very fast also.
3) Jeron Johnson- Boise State- 5’10 1/4 212
Johnson has been an underappreciated part of an underrated Boise State defense. While Kellen Moore and the offense gets all the love, Johnson is busy on the defensive side making plays against the run, and keeping receivers from making big plays. Johnson isn’t the biggest defender, but he can hit you hard. He’s a bit of a liability in man coverage, but has excellent overall instincts.
4) Tejay Johnson- TCU- 6’1 212
Johnson led a tough TCU defense in 2010. He’s played both safety positions and has the athleticism to make plays in coverage all over the field. Perhaps his best ability comes in run support. He’s an excellent wrap up tackler who does a nice job reading and reacting.
5) Tyler Sash- Iowa*- 6’0 211
Another underclassman likely to stay in school is Sash, who is one of the most underrated safeties in coverage. Despite not being extremely fast or athletic, he is smart and instinctive. He doesn’t get caught staring in the backfield and knows his assignments. He’s a ball hawk, and can make plays after an interception. Sash is also a nice tackler who helps out in run support.
6) Shiloh Keo- Idaho- 5’11 1/4 219
Keo is a solid all around defender for the Vandals. He doesn’t get much recognition due to the team he plays on, but he’s got a big heart. He plays with excellent aggression, and will hit you hard. He’s not the most athletic player, but he doesn’t do a bad job utilizing his intelligence to excel in zone coverage.
7) Da’Norris Searcy- North Carolina- 5’10 5/8 223
Searcy is a big reason why the UNC defense hasn’t given up many yards on the ground in recent seasons. He’s a punishing tackler who does well in run support. His stock will fall a bit because he’s not the best in coverage, often getting beat in man coverage, and not having a great football IQ. He’s a very raw prospect to consider in the late rounds.
8 ) Jarrard Tarrant- Georgia Tech*- 6’0 3/8 204
Tarrant is an extremely versatile defensive back who can play all four positions in the secondary. He’s extremely athletic and hunts for the football. He’s solid in run support, and will fair best in zone coverage. He could play either FS or SS at the next level.
9) Joe Lefeged- Rutgers- 5’11 5/8 210
10) Jay Valai- Wisconsin- 5’9 205
11) Dom DeCicco- Pittsburgh- 6’4 230
12) Duke Ihenacho- San Jose State- 6’1 210
13) Davonte Shannon- Buffalo- 6’0 195
14) Nate Williams- Washington- 6’0 211
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