Top 10 Safeties Entering the 2018 NFL Season

by Glenn Kaplan
by Glenn Kaplan

Safety could be the hard position to play on the defensive side of the ball. They have to cover like a cornerback and tackle like a linebacker. Safeties also like to play over the top to help in coverage. Some safeties are game changers. Who are the top 10 safeties entering the 2018 NFL Season?

10. Tyrann Mathieu, Houston Texans: Mathieu is known as the “honey badger” and he has been a very good safety ever since he came into the league. Tyrann Mathieu will be a huge part of the Houston Texans secondary because it was horrendous last season. He is solid in coverage and usually is good at stopping running backs. Mathieu played with the Arizona Cardinals last season and they released him in the offseason. He had 78 tackles, one sack, forced one fumble, and two interceptions. Tyrann Mathieu had seven pass deflections.

9. Jamal Adams, New York Jets: Adams has a passion for the game of football and he made an immediate impact as a rookie for the New York Jets. Jamal Adams was the sixth overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft and he has a bright future ahead of him. Adams was more of a force in stopping the run than stopping the pass. When he becomes dangerous at both, Jamal Adams will be a top five safety in this league. He had 83 tackles, two sacks, one forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries. Jamal Adams had six pass deflections.

8. Reshad Jones, Miami Dolphins: Jones always make a key play or two a game in the Dolphins secondary because Miami didn't have a great pass rush last season. He is also an excellent tackler and Reshad Jones recorded 122 of them last season. He also had 1.5 sacks, three fumble recoveries, and two interceptions. Jones also had five pass deflections.

7. Malcolm Jenkins, Philadelphia Eagles: Jenkins might be the most important player in the Eagles secondary. They have good corners, but what makes their secondary better is Jenkins's presence. He is one of the heart and souls on this defense. Malcolm Jenkins is a hard hitter. He had 76 tackles, one sack, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery. Jenkins also picked off two passes and had eight pass deflections.

6. Micah Hyde, Buffalo Bills: Hyde's game improved tremendously this season with the Buffalo Bills. He was one of the reasons why the Bills defense was very good in 2017. They also made it to the playoffs for the first time since the 1999 regular season. Micah Hyde was very good in coverage and was good in the run game as well. He recorded 82 tackles. Hyde had five interceptions and 13 pass deflections.

5. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Green Bay Packers: Clinton-Dix was by far the best player in Green Bay's secondary last season and if they didn't have him, the secondary would have been lost completely. Clinton-Dix recorded 79 tackles last season. He picked off three passes and had six pass deflections. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is also a leader in that secondary.

4. Kevin Byard, Tennessee Titans: Byard had a breakout 2017 season and because of that, the Tennessee Titans hopes he can repeat the same success in 2018. Kevin Byard was one of the best at his position in 2018 and even a division rival player acknowledged how good he was in 2017. Byard had a nose for the football and he was always in the right place at the right time. Kevin Byard recorded 87 tackles and had eight interceptions. He also recovered two fumbles and deflected 16 passes last season.

3. Landon Collins, New York Giants: Collins is an elite safety and he is big and strong. Landon Collins is scary at all angles off the field. He can blitz, stop the run, and make plays in coverage. Collins is just 24 years old and he could be getting paid big bucks soon by the Giants. In ways, Landon Collins could be the most important defensive player for New York. He recorded 104 tackles, forced one fumble, and recovered two of them. Collins picked off two passes and had six pass deflections. He should have won defensive player of the year in 2016 instead of Oakland Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack.

2. Harrison Smith, Minnesota Vikings: Smith is a ball hawker and he is a part of an elite secondary with the Minnesota Vikings. The safety position would lost without him. Harrison Smith is also a game changer. He recorded 78 tackles and recorded 1.5 sacks last season. Smith picked off five passes and had 12 pass deflections.

1. Earl Thomas, Seattle Seahawks: Thomas is looking for a new contract with the Seattle Seahawks, but it possible he will leave after this season or be traded. Thomas is 29 years old and he is still the best at his position. Earl Thomas was a part of the legion of boom. He played a big role in Seattle's 2014 championship run. Thomas and Bobby Wagner seem to be the only players left from that Seattle defense. Earl Thomas had 88 tackles, one forced fumble, and two interceptions last season. He also had a 78-yard pick six in a game against the Houston Texans at home last season.