NFL Draft: Top five safeties heading into the Combine
The NFL Scouting Combine is about to get underway in Indianapolis. Here is a look at our rankings of players at each position heading into the event. We finish up with the safeties.
MORE: Farrell's Mock Draft
Stats: Rapp finished fourth on the team with 59 tackles, six tackles for loss and five sacks this past season. He also added two interceptions and three fumble recoveries.
Farrell’s take: Rapp was a mid-level three-star who was a bit undersized coming out of high school but had good coverage skills. He wasn’t heavily recruited, mainly because of the size issue and the fact that he played in the state of Washington. Now he’s a ball hawk who is always around the football.
Recruiting: Gardner-Johnson committed to Florida in March of his junior year, but Alabama continued to pursue him throughout his recruitment. Georgia, Notre Dame and Penn State also kept after Gardner-Johnson after his commitment to the Gators.
Stats: The former four-star was third on the Gators with 71 tackles, including nine for loss and three sacks this past season. Gardner-Johnson added four interceptions and two pass break-ups.
Farrell’s take: Johnson was an elite corner out of high school with great skills who liked to take chances. He was a sure tackler, closed well on the ball and was physical. It was no surprise to see him develop and begin to excel later in his college career.
Recruiting: Thompson attended Alabama’s junior day, was offered by coach Nick Saban and committed on the spot. He was the first pledge in the Crimson Tide’s 2015 recruiting class.
Stats: Second on the Crimson Tide with 79 tackles, Thompson added two interceptions, four forced fumbles and a fumble recovery this past season.
Farrell’s take: Thompson was a highly ranked safety out of high school who had a good frame, but he was skinny. He needed to fill out and get stronger. If I remember correctly, he was a five-star at one point but fell to a four-star because of those question marks. He came into his own this past season and is rising on this list as a defensive playmaker.
Recruiting: Adderley was an unranked athlete in the 2015 class whose only listed Power Five offer was from Wake Forest. He picked Delaware over Central Connecticut State, Delaware State, Maine, New Hampshire and others. Power Five schools showed interest, but there were reportedly academic hurdles.
Stats: Adderley was third on the Delaware defense with 87 tackles this past season and he also recorded a team-high four interceptions. He added a fumble recovery and a forced fumble.
Farrell’s take: Adderley wasn’t ranked or evaluated by Rivals out of high school, as he was getting true interest only from FCS schools.
Recruiting: Abram was a three-star prospect in the 2015 class who committed to Georgia and appeared in 10 games for the Bulldogs the following season. He then transferred to Ellisville (Miss.) Jones County J.C. and the three-star signed with Mississippi State for its 2017 class.
Stats: Abram led the Bulldogs with 99 tackles this past season, along with nine for loss and three sacks. He also added two interceptions, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and five pass breakups.
Farrell’s take: Abram was a three-star out of high school and JUCO who had good size and was a big hitter, but he lacked natural coverage skills. At Mississippi State, he used that size and aggression to make a ton of plays near the line of scrimmage and he’s improved his coverage skills dramatically.
TWO TO WATCH
Recruiting: Savage committed to Maryland in the summer before his senior season shortly after a trip to campus. The Terrapins were considered the front-runner for some time. Rutgers, Syracuse, Temple and others were involved.
Stats: Savage was fourth on the team with 52 tackles including 5.5 for loss. He also had four interceptions and two pass breakups.
Farrell’s take: Savage was a three-star athlete out of high school who could have played offense or defense but lacked size. He was very quick and sudden but didn’t have a big frame to grow on and wasn’t very strong. He’s become a natural in coverage at Maryland.
Stats: Johnson led Miami with 92 tackles along with two interceptions and two forced fumbles this past season. He also blocked a kick.
Farrell’s take: Johnson was a do-everything four-star for us, and he was projected to play safety before he had a rough week at the US Army All-American Bowl, where he struggled mightily in coverage. He slipped to a mid-range three-star with good potential, but there were a lot of concerns about his on-field eye discipline. He’s played much better than that ranking and has become one of the most dynamic defenders in college football.