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NFL Draft Preview 2016: Evaluating the top free safeties

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Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Rolling right through the secondary, we end with the Free Safeties. To evaluate them is almost identical to rating a cornerback. The only difference is that Free Safeties do not need to have a great Short Shuttle or Vertical Jump. Now, some of you may wonder how good Jalen Ramsey is at cornerback. Those answers are in the comment section of the cornerback article. But for now, let’s focus on what’s here: the free safety evaluation.

NFL Combine and NCAA Pro-Day

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While the NFL Combine featured five of the top free safeties in this class, Jamal Marshall wins the Body column. His size is reminiscing of a certain Seattle cornerback. My concern would be his initial speed. Representing the NFL Combine, Sean Davis knocked it out of the park. His Tests score was ranked #2 out of ALL secondary players this draft. However, he does have some minimal size concerns. Jalen Ramsey had the best combined score and while you could make a case for his lack of strength, you’d be wasting your time. Justin Simmons, A.J. Hendy, and T.J. Green all had similar scores across the board but only Green had some issues with his Vertical and both agility tests.

NCAA Scores

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The free safeties coming out of this draft may make a name for themselves in the NFL. Sean Davis destroys the competition with his work at Maryland. Also, it’s entirely plausible that teams kept targeting him. In the end, he made plays all over the field form coming up to tackle to breaking up passes. Speaking of pass break-ups, Jalen Ramsey’s 0.41 pass break-ups per game is one of the best for free safeties. But if you’re looking for big plays, Tyvis Powell and Justin Simmons win big. Both average an interception ever five games. Even A.J. Hendy carved out a decent showing playing next to Sean Davis.

Overall

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Overall, there is no player better than Jalen Ramsey. Whether it’s his attitude or his work ethic, he exudes greatness. For late round picks, you can’t ignore Simmons’ and Powell’s abilities to make big plays. T.J. Green is an enigma for many draft analysts but I think him and A.J. Hendy will make at-the-least quality back-ups. Sean Davis has the stats but rumors flow that he doesn’t fight for the ball. At least he has the ability to play both positions.

Notable Players

Darian Thompson-(#48)-The best way I can explain him is that he is this year’s Chris Hackett. He has the ability to make great plays but his athleticism isn’t good enough to make it in the NFL.

DeAndre Houston-Carson-(#15)- Carson has the speed to make it but his agility is terrible along with his explosiveness. And while he scored well in his NCAA scores, he would be making the jump from the FCS division. That together would make a decent back-up or a quality special team’s player.

Kavon Frazier-(#17)- Frazier has the ability to be great. He played well at Central Michigan but his Tests scores hold him back. He’s below average in speed and his short shuttle is questionable. He would fit in a primarily zone system but not if he had to cover large areas or tight ends.

Deiondre' Hall-(#38)- For Hall, you could copy most of Frazier’s section. He played well at Northern Iowa but would be jumping from FCS to the NFL. His size is good but has below average speed. See where I am going with this?