Bears NFL Draft Preview: Top 5 Safeties

Bears NFL Draft Preview: Top 5 Safeties

In every draft for the last 5 years, when it’s the Bears turn to select in the first and second round, I look at all the “playmakers” (did Pace overuse that word or what this off-season? Also, how good was the one season of “Playmakers” on ESPN before the NFL shut it down?) available at the safety position and just sit there hopelessly as the Bears would select a player at another position. Why the Bears believe you can get a safety in the later rounds who will make game-changing plays is beyond me. Brock Vereen in the 4th round of the 2014 draft? Good effort, but try again; Brandin Hardin in the 3rd round in 2012? Who? Seriously, did he play a down for us (he did, but seriously, what a nobody); Chris Conte in the third round in 2011? CHRIS CONTE. My early death can directly be contributed to Conte’s play in Chicago, as the stress of his inability to play football ruined many otherwise beautiful Sunday afternoons. ¬†Antonym of the word “successful”; Chris Conte’s football career.

Anyway, we refuse to draft safety’s high in the draft, and because of this, we are stuck with below-average players in a position that becomes more and more important as the league continues to become excessively pass-happy. I am fine with Adrian Amos for the time being, but I am skeptical of safeties who don’t record a single interception during the course of a season. It’s kinda like Chaz Reinhold’s mother in “Wedding Crashers”; What is he doing back there? I never know what he’s doing….back there? Regardless, I think Amos did enough to secure his spot for another year, but we need a “playmaker” along side of him and I hope this is the draft we go out and get one early.

Let’s take a look at the top five safeties the Bears should take a hard look at and what round we can likely grab them at:

1. Darian Thompson, Boise State- Draft Projection: 1st-2nd round

Jalen Ramsey is a beast. Jalen Ramsey is the best defensive player in the draft. Jalen Ramsey will not be available when the Chicago Bears pick at the #11 spot and its times like these where I wish the Bears had Sam Hinke as a General Manager and had tanked last season in order to have secured a higher draft pick (now that Hinke is on the market, I just want to make it clear that this is a joke. Under no circumstances should Hinke be allowed anywhere near Soldier Field. Trump can build a wall to keep him out for all I care). And for those of you re-reading the section title, no you didn’t read the heading incorrectly; the top safety the Bears should aim for is Thompson, but I just had to make it clear that Ramsey is clearly the best safety in the draft, but was left off this list because Schwarber has a better chance of starting at catcher tomorrow for the Chicago Cubs than Ramsey has of lasting in the green room until pick #11. He is just that good.

But anyway, Thompson can be our consolation prize, but let me tell you; he is nothing to be disappointed about. A 6’2″ ballhawk (Pace should get excited about me using this word because most consider ballhawk a synonym for “playmaker”) is just what the Bears need. Thompson has twelve interceptions in his last two seasons and will leave Boise State as the Mountain West Conference’s all-time leader in picks (19 total). He has great hands and an excellent football IQ, both attributes that Conte was born without (last shot on Conte, but the guy really bothered me. I understand I can’t things go. Leave me alone).

Now if Thompson’s excellent coverage skills got you excited, get this; the guy smokes people that dare cross the middle of the field as well. I feel that these days, most safeties are classified as being one-trick ponies and are far from being absolute all-around ballers like Ed Reed and Sean Taylor (RIP you beast). You will hear most safeties as having “great coverage skills, but is just a decent tackler” or “can stop the run, but doesn’t possess great ball skills.” All i hear is “I am average at my job, yet I make millions.” Thompson though is different. Watch this guy on YouTube for a few minutes and you will see what I am talking about. He is an absolute savage roaming the secondary and would be an immediate starter on the Bears. The only problem lies in the fact that he isn’t exactly worthy of the #11 pick (I don’t believe this at all, but no one else seems to agree with me), but I am not sure he will be available when the Bears 2nd round pick rolls around. I can only hope the Bears trade down in the 1st round to draft this assassin or everyone else looks at his sub-par 40 time (4.69) and sleeps on him.

2. Karl Joseph, West Virginia- Draft Projection: 2nd or 3rd round

If not for injury concerns, I would be as high on Karl Joseph as just about anybody (besides Ramsey, who is Ed Reed 2.0). The guy has a giant heart, plays with extreme passion, always makes his presence known when he is on the field, and has excellent coverage skills. The guy had 5 interceptions in his senior season, even though he only played in 4 games. The guy is a game-changer.

Unfortunately, Joseph’s season-ending ACL injury is scary. If anyone is going to put the work to come back from an injury of that nature, it’s Joesph, but ACL’s are scary and he was unable to run at the combine or West Virgina’s pro-day. Regardless, if he is available in the third round and we haven’t picked a safety yet, I think he is worth the risk. He is a 1st-round talent minus the injury and could become the type of leader the secondary hasn’t had since Mike Brown (the real OG of safeties in Bear’s history).

3. Vonn Bell, Ohio State- Draft Projection: 2nd or 3rd round

Bell is not the ideal size for a safety, but boy, can this guy cover. He has corner-like abilities in pass coverage, having 23 passes defensed to his name during the last two seasons (that is good if you are someone that only looks at interception statistics when grading a defender. Stop be lazy and look holestically at the stats!). My biggest knock on him is I can’t see opposing wide receivers fearing him when they are crossing the middle. If Megatron was still playing (thank you football gods), I feel he would throw send Bell to the ground just by glancing at him. He has the chance to be a solid pro and would fulfill my desire to get someone in the secondary that can create some turnovers. I do see him having a limited ceiling however, and I am not a big fan of ceilings (in situations like this, not overall. Ceilings are good in almost every situation, unless you wish to be at a open-roof bar, which in that case, ceilings again would be looked down upon).

4. Jayron Kearse, Clemson- Draft Projection: 4th or 5th round

I couldn’t be more excited about this guy. Whenever I see tall safeties, I immediately think of Kam Chancellor, who I can best describe as a hydrogen bomb on the field. Jayron Kearse stands even taller, at an imposing 6’4″, and possess incredible athletic ability. With his Usain Bolt like strides (I realize that I am hyping this guy up to a level he is incapable of reaching. A Bolt-Chancellor hybrid could actually commit murder on the field and would legally be banned. I am simply stating he takes long strides), he can cover space in a hurry quite easily and has fairly good ball skills. The scariest part though; he is still filling into his body and will probably add another 15 pounds to his 220 pound frame. If we grab him in the 4th round, say with the Patriots pick, I think we can get a steal that has the potential to be a starter in our secondary.

5. T.J. Green, Clemson- Draft Projection: 4th or 5th round

4.34 speed….for a safety…..my god.

Upon entering the league, Green would immediately become one of the fastest safeties in the league. He has ideal size 6’2″ to boot and possess fairly good coverage skills. His tackling is suspect though, which is concerning, but something he could be taught. So much potential here that if he was available in the 5th, I think you have to consider him. You can’t teach speed and when you throw in the fact he has excellent size, it’s tough to argue selecting him (unless you pick his safety teammate Kearse. No wonder why Clemson won the national championship).

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