The 2009 NFL Draft: S Prospects

Next in the multi-part draft breakdown are the safeties. I watch a ton of college football, but I'm not Mel Kiper Jr., so all of these are up for discussion. 

Terribly sorry about not getting this breakdown to y'all sooner. I had this whole post ready to go....and then my laptop crashed. Right before my spring break. For normal people, this wouldn't be a problem. But, I was planning on spending my SB in my hometown writing papers. Anyways, finally got it back today with the recovered documents, so here you all are.

Before I start, does anyone really want me to do the kickers and punters breakdowns? If you do, let me know. Otherwise, it's been fun writing these, and hopefully you got some enjoyment and information from it. Props to GB for helpin me out with some of them.

There are some gems to find in this safety group. They definitely aren't the best or the deepest pool of candidates, but there are some good players nonetheless. I will break down the top three free safeties and strong safeties. Sound off if you think one should be in the other group or vice-versa.

Let's get it started. 

FREE SAFETIES

Louis Delmas, Senior, Western Michigan
Height: 5'11"       Weight: 202 lbs.

Combine: 4.55 (40); 12 reps (bench); 10'6" (broad); 6.67 (three-cone) 

Pros: Great instincts and awareness....good range....team leader with no character concerns....excellent against the run....very fluid athlete. 

Cons: Has to bulk up or he'll get run over at the NFL level....has a lot of experience, but against subpar competition....sometimes seems to avoid contact....struggles in space. 

Bottom line: Delmas is a boom-or-bust prospect. If he can bulk up and gets good coaching, he has the intangibles to be a good NFL player. 

Projected round: Early 2nd 

Sean Smith, Senior, Utah
Height: 6'4"       Weight: 214 lbs.

Combine: 4.53 (40) 

Pros: No durability issues....good instincts....jumping ability and ball skills are elite....dangerous runner after an interception....wraps up in space adequately....can close quickly when blitzing. 

Cons: Won't deliver any huge hits....speed allowed him to eliminate mistakes during college; most likely won't be able to do the same at the NFL level....tight hips don't allow him to drop back quickly....has an inflated sense of worth. 

Bottom line: Out of all the DB's, Smith's stock is skyrocketing due to the combine. He ran better than expected; that combined with his height could intrigue some GM's to pull the trigger. He'll probably line up at safety in the NFL, and bet on him getting off the board in the early-to-mid 2nd

Projected round: Early-to-mid 2nd round 

 Rashad Johnson, Senior, Alabama
Height: 5'11"       Weight: 203 lbs.

Combine: 4.56 (40) 

Pros: Ball skills, jumping ability, and instincts are excellent....fluid hips allow him to drop back quickly....could line up at either CB or FS....team leader with great football IQ....tough overall player. 

Cons: Was arrested outside of a bar in February 2008 for disorderly conduct....measurables are only average....must bulk up....lacks the closing burst....won't help much in terms of run support. 

Bottom line: He's more of a football player than he is an athlete, but he possesses some terrific intangibles. He'd be a player I wouldn't mind seeing Jerry go after. He's a smart football player, good in coverage, and doesn't drop the ball. 

Projected round: Late 2nd - early 3rd 

STRONG SAFETIES 

Patrick Chung, Senior, Oregon
Height: 5'11"      Weight: 212 lbs.
 

Combine: 4.54 (40); 25 reps (bench) 

Pros: Physical player who will deliver the big hit....no character or durability concerns; has good work ethic by all accounts....non-stop motor....great instincts and awareness....great against the run....average ball/jumping skills....fluid hips with a great closing burst. 

Cons: Average speed....sometimes plays too aggressive and runs himself out of plays....must get better at shedding blocks....might struggle with man coverage at the NFL level. 

Bottom line: Chung is a great football player who will only get better with NFL coaching. He played against top competition and was very productive in the process. He'll be off the board by the 3rd

Projected round: Mid-to-late 2nd  

William Moore, Senior, Missouri
Height: 6'0"      Weight: 221 lbs.

Combine: 4.53 (40) 

Pros: Physical player who delivers the big hit....great size and bulk....good range....run support is top-notch....good ball skills....great closing speed....team leader with excellent work ethic and character. 

Cons: Durability questions....sometimes takes too long to diagnose plays....hips aren't as fluid as some of the other prospects....plays too aggressive at times, which makes him miss tackles. 

Bottom line: I believe Moore can play both the free and strong safety positions at the NFL level. He will be drafted before Chung, but I dropped him because I've seen him misdiagnose plays too often. If he puts in hours at the film room, he'll be a great NFL safety. Since some of the big names at safety didn't come out this year (Rolle, Mays), the chances of a team over-reaching early in the draft to get him are high.  

Projected round: Late 1st - mid 2nd  

Chip Vaughn, Senior, Wake Forest
Height: 6'1"      Weight: 221 lbs.

Combine: 4.51 (40) 

Pros: Great size and bulk....good physical tackler....tough kid who plays with a mean streak....terrific against the run....smart football player who diagnoses plays quickly. 

Cons: Speed and quickness are average....struggles at times matching up against wideouts....stiff hips....hands are average 

Bottom line: He's great against the run but struggles in pass protection. Tough player that has great football IQ; because of his problems against the pass, he'll slip into the 3rd or 4th rounds. 

Projected round: Mid 3rd - mid 4th  

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