Detailed Look on Drafting a Safety

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by ZifanQ, Mar 17, 2014.

  1. ZifanQ

    ZifanQ Pro-Bowler

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    After the initial wave of free agency, everyone seems to agree that the two biggest needs on the Bears roster are safety and defensive tackle. Naturally there has been a lot of discussion about what Emery should do with the #14 overall pick. Now most people tend to be leaning toward DT, but I am thinking back to an /r/nfl thread.

    How important is an elite safety?

    Now I approve of Emery's decision to target the defensive line in free agency, it wouldn't matter if we had an elite safety with the state it was in. But Conte, Mundy and Jennings is not a group fit to enter the season with, so Emery will absolutely need to draft a safety. Thinking back to how important an elite safety can be to winning championships, I wanted to know where these players were drafted. So I put together a list of the top 12 safeties of the last decade, and where they were drafted. Note: All Pro selections includes first and second team selections.

    • Ed Reed - FS, #24 draft pick, 8 Time All Pro

    • Brian Dawkins - FS, #61 draft pick, 6 Time All Pro

    • Darren Sharper - FS, #60 draft pick, 6 Time All Pro

    • Troy Polamalu - SS, #16 draft pick, 5 Time All Pro

    • Eric Weddle - FS, #37 draft pick, 4 Time All Pro

    • Adrian Wilson - SS, #64 draft pick, 4 Time All Pro

    • Nick Collins - FS, #51 draft pick, 3 Time All Pro

    • Earl Thomas - FS, #14 draft pick, 3 Time All Pro

    • Jarius Byrd - FS, #42 draft pick, 3 Time All Pro

    • Bob Sanders - SS, #44 draft pick, 2 Time All Pro

    • Antrel Rolle - FS, #8 draft pick, 2 Time All Pro

    • Eric Berry - SS, #5 draft pick, 1 Time All Pro
    Average Position - 35.5

    1st Rounders - 5

    2nd Rounders - 6

    3rd Rounders - 1

    Other - 0

    Out of the 12 best safeties of the last decade, all of them were drafted in the three rounds. Adrian Wilson was only two picks away from making them all drafted in the first two rounds!

    Looking at the success rate of drafting a safety in the first two rounds over the last 10 years, I was blown away by the success rate.

    • 2013 - 1st Kenny Vaccaro, Eric Reid, Matt Elam, 2nd Johnathan Cyprien, D.J. Swearinger

    • 2012 - 1st Mark Barron, Harrison Smith, 2nd Tavon Wilson

    • 2011 - 1st None, 2nd Rahim Moore, Jaiquawn Jarrett

    • 2010 - 1st Eric Berry, Earl Thomas, 2nd Nate Allen, T. J. Ward, Taylor Mays

    • 2009 - 1st None, 2nd Louis Delmas , Patrick Chung , Jairus Byrd, Michael Mitchell, William Moore

    • 2008 - 1st Kenny Phillips, 2nd Tyrell Johnson

    • 2007 - 1st LaRon Landry, Michael Griffin, Brandon Meriweather, 2nd Eric Weddle, Gerald Alexander, Sabby Piscitelli

    • 2006 - 1st Michael Huff, Donte Whitner, Jason Allen, 2nd Daniel Bullocks, Danieal Manning, Roman Harper, Bernard Pollard

    • 2005 - 1st None, 2nd Brodney Pool, Josh Bullocks, Nick Collins

    • 2004 - 1st Sean Taylor, 2nd Bob Sanders, Michael Boulware, Madieu Williams, Sean Jones
    There were a few duds obviously, but most of them developed into at least solid starters. There averages 4.3 safeties through the first 2 rounds over the last 10 years, so if I am Emery, I am looking at the top 5 or so guys and don't go home without one.

    • Haha Clinton-Dix, Alabama Height: 6-1. Weight: 208. 40 Time: 4.58. Projected Round: 1.

    • Calvin Pryor, Louisville Height: 5-11. Weight: 207. 40 Time: 4.58. Projected Round: 1.

    • Terrence Brooks, Florida State Height: 5-11. Weight: 198. 40 Time: 4.42. Projected Round: 2.

    • Deone Bucannon, Washington State Height: 6-1. Weight: 211. 40 Time: 4.49. Projected Round: 2.

    • Jimmie Ward, Northern Illinois Height: 5-11. Weight: 193. 40 Time: 4.59. Projected Round: 2.

    Credit goes to dmfaber1 from Bears Reddit - http://www.reddit.com/r/CHIBears/comments/20ms62/detailed_look_on_drafting_a_safety/
    Thought it was interesting to look at.
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  2. Grizzblue

    Grizzblue Pro-Bowler

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    Ima be honest, and I may be in the minority but I like Pryor over Dix. True SS and that's a bigger need than FS as of now. I think both are good players tho.
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  3. strockrocks

    strockrocks Veteran

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    Thanks for the post.

    So I am interpreting this as, Emery needs to grab a safety with the #14 pick, otherwise risk the chance that none of these 5 will be available in the 2nd round. (if he wants one of these five)...

    correct?
  4. Grizzblue

    Grizzblue Pro-Bowler

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    That's the way I see it I think this heavily depends on if Donald is there or not. If he is taken before we pick I expect Dix or Pryor to be the selection.
  5. Jimmors

    Jimmors The Rhymenoceros Staff Member SuperFan

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    Im a fan of Clinton-Dix. I really hope we draft him.
  6. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Great workup Zif! I don't think there's any doubt that a DT and FS are the two biggest needs heading into the draft.

    I still like Donald or Jernigan in one and I like Jimmie Ward in two. Playing at NIU I think he's kind of a hometown boy and although he's a little smaller than the others he's been a very productive player in college and a guy who can really give Conte a run for his money. He's also got enough size and speed to play NB and eventually we may need to replace or upgrade that spot too.

    If Izzy returns it gives Tucker some options as far as using Houston at the 3 tech DT position and if Melton returns too them DT drops behind FS for sure and they'll probably be looking at Ha Ha or Pryor. The other need is at CB but it's less of a must now that Peanut is signed but if Gilbert is still there at #14 (doubtful) then he's probably in the mix as well and he's a good return guy so they'd have a use for him even if he doesn't start at CB.
  7. BSBEARS

    BSBEARS Pro-Bowler

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    There is definetely a drop in talent after Dix and Pryor. Mundy appears to be a SS. Tough call a Good SS can cover some issues with the DL and a good DL can make the Safeties look much better. If I knew there was a cant miss stud at DT I would go that way, but really undecided and trusting Emery on this one.
  8. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    One thing I do like about Ward is that he's small, but not that small, but he's probably as good a cover guy as any of them. I have to assume that by resigning and picking up DL and a MLB and SS who are able to play the run pretty well again I'd like a FS who can cover those deep routes correctly and play centerfield and Ward has some talents in that regard.

    So if we decide to go DT in one there's at least one good FS prospect in round two and if we go with a FS in one then maybe Quarles comes into play in two and then maybe a CB in three. The best thing that can be said is that there are options. Although the talent at some positions falls off the overall talent even down into the middle rounds is good. There are guys there who can make teams and play.
  9. BearJim

    BearJim Veteran SuperFan DBS Writer

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    If we don't go safety in Rd 1 there are few out there that I like you can probably get later.

    Bucannon, Loston, Dixon, Brooks, Reynolds & Bailey to name a few. Just remember these experts who rate these guys aren't always right. These guys might need a little time to adjust to the NFL but they could certainly end up be better pros. Who knows?
  10. BearDownUnder

    BearDownUnder Veteran

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    I think we've got it all wrong. We need to stop looking at what position to draft and think who is the ELITE talent. Look at all those Pro Bowl safeties some of whom played in great defenses in great teams. But the same can be said for DT.

    Grade out the defensive players:
    Future elite: Is it Clowney/Mack/Barr?
    Probable high end talent: Clinton-Dix, Donald, Gilbert
    Nice prospect: Prior, Mosely etc

    Regardless of what happens in the second round I think for the long term future of the team you take the guy who fits at pick 14. If no one is there you trade back and you get 2 in the second round and a bonus somewhere if the trade is right.

    No point drafting just to get a perfectly even draft so you can fit players in based on some magical best defense as by the time players develop other holes open up. Take the best talent, get them playing well and maybe you'll get some surprises in FA/late draft picks/UDFA.

    A lot of people were keen for a TE or tackle last year. We took a (versatile) guard, put him in and he played great. Our free agent TE who had some questions about him played great and our 5th round RT played great as well.

    Of course you consider needs and definitely scheme. But we've got to get at least 1 high quality starter in and we've got DT, Safety, CB and even DE and CB that all are worth long term investments of an elite rookie.
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  11. short faced bear

    short faced bear Assistant Head Coach DBS Writer

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    Would love to see Ha ha but I will settle for stopping the revolving door of wasted draft picks and FA signings and some decent, flexible depth.

    Peanut`s replcement needs to be had now and should take a slight priority over the safety position. Fill in the gaping holes and build depth-we can get an elite SS or FS later.
  12. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    This is where I have to disagree shorty or at least as far as taking a CB in the first round. When you draft as high as we are you want a starter and both CB positions are set for 2013. CBs usually don't take as much time to develop before they can play. If you take one in the first you plan on starting him 9 times out of 10 and with who we have committed money to he won't. Now I suppose Gilbert could be an exception because like Patrick Peterson the kid has major return skills but I think the whole point is probably moot because top CBs usually don't make it out of the top ten and I don't believe Gilbert will either.

    I'm looking at it in a similar fashion to how Aussie BDU sees it. I believe the #14 pick is an ideal spot to get an elite or high end player in one of the positions this team needs help in now. I also believe we'll have our choice of at least two or three players that fit the bill. If Melton departs one of those positions will surely be a DT to replace him and the best guy for that appears to be Donald. Unless Tucker departs from what's worked in the past, not only for the Bears but many other 4-3 teams as well, he'll use a four man rotation at DT to keep his guys fresher. Donald should play and be effective in that four man rotation day one because he doesn't have to carry the burden alone and he'll be surrounded by vet talent at every other spot.

    If by chance he's gone or somebody leap frogs us for him then Jernigan could also be a prospect or maybe we take the elite Safety although according to some the two top guys, Ha Ha and Pryor, aren't at the same level as some of the top guys drafted in the last five years. But it's still a major need and if we draft a Safety, even though some take time to acclimate to the pro game, there's very good chance he'll start or push the others so hard that we won't mind as much if he doesn't. That one reason why I favor Jimmie Ward in two to a certain degree because he could also play NB as well as FS. Conte needs stiff competition and sure as hell that Jennings kid isn't it. There are a half dozen other spread through rounds two and three that are also good prospects.

    After he gets his starter in round one hell Emery may fool everyone and if a good QB prospect is there and too good to pass up he might shock us all. It's not like he's never done that before. Trestman seems to be able to get QBs up and running in his system very quickly and besides Palmer he really doesn't have anyone else yet. Eventually has had to draft a QB and there are a few in this draft that can be had after round one who have talent enough to look hard at. If he's gonna use a pick on offense I'd much rather it was a QB than a TE. I still believe we can get some mileage out of Onobun and they must think so too or they wouldn't have kept him stowed on the PS all year learning the position.

    Anyway that just my thinking on it. I want a guy whose gonna start and have the opportunity to make an impact day one.
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  13. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    Peanut's replacement needs to be had now, but b/c of the depth of the position, much like DT, he can be had in rounds 2-3, again much like DT he'd be looking at playing in a rotation that woud severely limit his time on the field, so I think that S is still a huge priority b/c there is no starter at SS, and barely a starter at FS. If Brigg's is going to play w/a shoulder harness on, then ILB might be a bigger need then we truly understand b/c then Shea/Greene migth be looking at SAM and Bostic might have to be moved to WILL to help out, which still leaves a huge hole at MIKE if DJ were to go down.
  14. mdbearz

    mdbearz Veteran

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    HaHa is the only safety I would take at 14, but he might not be there.

    We are going to have someone fall out of the top ten and likely more than a couple of choices, so BPA really does mean something this year, but I really think that must be a defensive player.
  15. mshu7

    mshu7 Rookie

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    I agree with you, but I'm not sure that 14 is the right spot. If Donald is gone at that point, I'd probably be alright with Pryor at 14.
  16. VJ18

    VJ18 Veteran

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    Basically OP what your saying is we need to draft a safety but it looks like history says the second round is the better option

    How about Jimmy Ward?
  17. ZifanQ

    ZifanQ Pro-Bowler

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    What I and I guesss what the original writer is trying to say that unless you take a safety in the two first rounds your chances of finding probowlers in the lower rounds are much much smaller. I'd like to see us take a safety in the first or 2th round, hate to pass up a guy like Donald but on the same time the thought of us having HaHa or Pryor as safety is really something that I like.
  18. a_miljan

    a_miljan Veteran

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    this FA is turning out to be a real good one, especially depth wise, maybe if we re-sign wootton, britton and bowman, sign izzy (if he has anything left) and S Clemons we could totally go BPA. and we have enough CAP for all that, restructure contract or two, cut bennet and weems...
  19. Akuma2000

    Akuma2000 Veteran SuperFan

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    With how deep the draft is with DT's and CB's, I think the bears should go safety first because that position has never really been the same since Mike Brown and has been a revolving door ever since (conte and wright are 2nd string at best but not really starter material)......this could be the chance were the bears can finally take the first step in fixing the position and potentially get a starter on opening day when they pick at #14.
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  20. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    What I like about Jimmy Ward as a FS that I like less about Calvin Pryor is that Ward plays the ball more like a true centerfielder type FS whereas Pryor plays the man. Ward would rather defend that ball and Pryor defends the man looking to make the big hit. If we want a SS type I think Pryor as the guy but at FS I'd like a kid back there who can read offenses and get in position to stop downfield passes. We were very weak in that area last year. I like Pryor a lot just not so much as a FS as a SS and SS is what we signed Mundy for.

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