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CA Draft Position Overviews: Safety

Here is the third installment of a series that is meant to bring awareness to some players the Colts should be looking at in the 2014 NFL Draft. The series started with wide receivers, last week was inside linebackers and now it is time for the safeties – both strong and free safety.

The safety position was one of the weakest areas for the Colts last year. The signing of LaRon Landry has been a whiff – like many of his tackle attempts – and Antoine Bethea’s production wasn’t what it used to be. For now, the Colts seem to be stuck with Landry, but he has a long injury history and missed four games last year – so the team can’t always count on him. His replacement – Delano Howell – was actually very good in his time on the field, but it was a small sample size (four starts). It also remains to be a mystery if the team will even re-sign Bethea. With all things considered, drafting a safety is something the Colts should seriously be considering – and luckily, this draft has a lot of good ones.

Disclaimer: I did not create, nor do I own the highlight videos. I simply tried to find the best video to showcase the skills of these young players. If the selected music is not to your taste, I suggest muting the video and playing some of your own music. Also, finding highlight videos of safeties isn’t as easy compared to finding them for wide receivers. Some of these will be highlights from just one game, but hopefully you can get the feel for the player from the game.

Free Safety (FS)

Ed Reynolds – Stanford

- Height: 6’2”
- Weight: 206 lbs
- CBS Sports rankings: 3rd FS, 62nd – overall
- Draft projection: 2nd- round

The first thing to love about Reynolds is his size. Reynolds comes in with a body ready for the NFL, and he knows how to use his length and build to his advantage. Besides his size, Reynolds shows great understanding of the safety position and is able to do well in all areas. Reynolds has shown his strength in run defense, but is also great in coverage with exceptional acceleration, awareness, vision and agility. The one weakness held on him by most people is his tendency to sometimes be too aggressive. At times, Reynolds can find himself trying to make a big play rather than doing what is needed, and this can result in him taking himself out of the play completely. Here is the video from a big game this past season: 

 

Terrence Brooks – Florida State

- Height: 5’11”
- Weight: 197 lbs
- CBS Sports rankings: 4th FS, 103rd – overall
- Draft projection: 3rd-4th round

Brooks’ size is obviously smaller than what most teams would like, but Brooks is able to make up for that in multiple ways. As a former cornerback, Brooks does a fantastic job in coverage and can make plays on receivers. Brooks is also much more physical than people would assume, and he is able to make plays at the line and through traffic. However, there were times during the past season where Brooks appeared to just let interceptions go. Brooks could easily find himself being the best free safety from this class if he polishes up a few things. Here is his play from one game this past season: 

 

Dion Bailey – Southern California
- Height: 6’0”
- Weight: 200 lbs
- CBS Sports rankings: 5th FS, 126th – overall
- Draft projection: 4th- round

Bailey hasn’t always been the traditional safety NFL teams are looking for. Bailey is a versatile safety who has found himself lining up as an outside linebacker. It wasn’t until this season that he started in the traditional safety role. Bailey is a very athletic player that seems to always be in the right position to make a play, and usually makes the play with his elite vision and awareness. Bailey also shows the acceleration and change of direction that safeties must have. The only weakness for him seems to be his size. Bailey doesn’t have the advantage other players have of having their size bail them out, and sometimes he isn’t able to finish a tackle and bring a big ball-carrier down. Here is Bailey’s performance from a big game in this past season: 

 

Tre Boston – North Carolina

- Height: 6’0”
- Weight: 198 lbs
- CBS Sports rankings: 10th FS, 249th – overall
- Draft projection – 7th – round

Boston is a physical player that has a high ceiling. With his great strength and knack to pursue plays, Boston is a great run support safety who also shows signs of being exceptional in coverage. Boston has great closing speed, acceleration and leaping ability that will go a long way when he’s in zone or covering a receiver. Since he is new to the position, Boston sometimes doesn’t trust his first thought which causes him to hesitate and miss plays. Boston will improve as he gets more comfortable with the position and his abilities. Here is a game of his from two seasons ago:  

 

Strong Safety (SS)

Jimmie Ward – Northern Illinois

- Height: 5’11”
- Weight: 191 lbs
- CBS Sports rankings: 1st SS, 62nd – overall
- Draft projection: 2nd – round

Ward didn’t play against the best competition, but he assured many teams by continuing to impress at the Senior Bowl. Ward is the top player at his position due to his elite athleticism that allows him to see plays and attack quickly, take correct angles, change direction and cover man-on-man. Ward’s main weaknesses are his lack of height and recover speed if he is beat initially. He are the highlights from one of his games this past season: 

 

Deone Bucannon – Washington State

- Height: 6’1”
- Weight: 216 
- CBS Sports rankings: 2nd SS, 82nd – overall
- Draft projection: 2nd-3rd round

Bucannon’s physical stature is what initially draws attention – and rightfully so. Bucannon is one of the biggest safeties in the draft, and he brings a lot of physicality with his size. Bucannon is an explosive hitter that can cover the middle of the field. Although he is mostly known for his physical play, Bucannon also has great ball-skills which makes him a complete package. An area Bucannon needs to improve on is his mechanics. Buccannon needs to learn how to position himself and move properly so he can be more fluid in his approach. Here are his highlights from the past season: 

 

Craig Loston – Louisiana State

- Height: 6’1”
- Weight: 214 lbs
- CBS Sports rankings: 3rd SS, 106th – overall
- Draft projection: 3rd – 4th round

Loston is another great defender coming out of LSU. Like Bucannon, Loston has a big build that he uses to be an aggressive player. Loston likes to attack downhill and shows great instincts for making plays. On the downside, Loston isn’t the most athletic player, and sometimes his aggression gets the best of him and he takes himself out of plays. Here are his highlights: 

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