Rating the top free safeties in the NFL Draft

Virginia safety Anthony Harris tackled Brigham Young quarterback Taysom Hill on Sept. 20 in Provo, Utah.
Virginia safety Anthony Harris tackled Brigham Young quarterback Taysom Hill on Sept. 20 in Provo, Utah. The Associated Press

1. Anthony Harris, 6-1, 183, Virginia

Bio: Three-year starter and team captain who had 108 tackles (two for loss), two interceptions and 10 pass deflections in 12 games in 2014. Turns 23 this year. 32-inch arms. 9.25-inch hands. 4.56 40-yard dash. Did not lift at the combine or his pro day because of shoulder surgery.

Consensus: Tall kid who is lean and lacks bulk but the athleticism and range to be a factor in zone coverage. Has a closing burst. Has good instincts and ball skills — can track and make plays on the deep ball. Is a very willing tackler who gives good effort but doesn’t pack much punch and is a drag-down guy. Played through a shoulder injury in 2014. Led the nation in interceptions in 2013 with eight. Is a plug-and-play type who will immediately contribute in subpackages and eventually challenge for a starting job. Only significant concern is his shoulder; would have a second-round grade were it not for that.

Grade: 6.6

2. Derron Smith, 5-10, 200, Fresno State

Bio: Four-year starter and team captain who had 93 tackles (2.5 for loss), one interception, seven pass breakups and eight pass deflections in 14 games in 2014. Turned 23 this year. 29.75-inch arms. 9-inch hands. 4.6 40-yard dash. 18 bench reps. 34-inch vertical. 123-inch broad jump. 6.94 3-cone drill. 4.48 20-yard shuttle.

Consensus: Small frame with very short arms. Is light on his feet, has good hips and good play speed. Has a good burst when blitzing. Good solid instincts — is around the ball a lot and has solid ball skills. Gets stuck on blocks. Is a willing tackler but won’t deliver the big blow. Quality special-teams player who plays his tail off and gives great effort. Is not very big, so long-term durability will be a concern but is a productive four-year starter with lots of experience.

Grade: 6.5

3. Damarious Randall, 5-11, 196, Arizona State

Bio: Juco transfer. Two-year starter who had 106 tackles (9.5 for loss), three interceptions, nine pass breakups and 12 pass deflections in 13 games in 2014. Turns 23 this year. 30.25-inch arms. 8 5/8-inch hands. 4.46 40-yard dash. 14 bench reps. 38-inch vertical. 120-inch broad jump. 6.83 3-cone drill. 4.07 20-yard shuttle.

Consensus: Is small — has short arms and lacks bulk. Used as a gunner. Above average feet and athleticism with tons of production in 2014. Good timed speed. Has a closing burst, especially when coming off the edge as a blitzer. Makes a lot of plays and is around the ball a lot but does so by taking chances that sometimes backfire. Has some ball skills. Not much punch as a tackler; drag-down run defender with a small tackle radius. Will miss tackles in space. Might be a nickel cornerback.

Grade: 6.3

4. Gerod Holliman, 6-0, 218, Louisville

Bio: First-year starter who had 44 tackles (three for loss), 14 interceptions (one touchdown, three pass breakups and 17 pass deflections in 13 games in 2014. Turns 21 this year. 32-inch arms. 9.5-inch hands. 4.65 40-yard dash. 17 bench reps. 27-inch vertical. 109-inch broad jump. 7.08 3-cone drill. 4.45 20-yard shuttle.

Consensus: Won the Jim Thorpe Award in 2014 as the nation’s best defensive back. Is young for a prospect. Awesome ball production; some interceptions came via overthrows or tips but he still flashed the ball skills necessary to help a team in a pass-heavy league. Spent a lot of time in space and can track the ball in the air. Has a nice catch radius and is aggressive after the catch — tries to score. Also has adequate athleticism and play speed for a one-high safety. Hips are OK in man coverage. Timed speed is a concern. Only one year of good production. Pro-day testing results were disappointing. Does not play to his size. Is not a big hitter — big backs will give him trouble. Bit of a pile inspector who will take a big shot if it’s there. Work ethic is reportedly a question.

Grade: 6.2

5. Kurtis Drummond, 6-1, 208, Michigan State

Bio: Three-year starter who had 72 tackles (five for loss), four interceptions, 11 pass breakups and 15 pass deflections in 13 games in 2014. Turned 23 this year. 31.75-inch arms. 10 3/8-inch hands. 4.65 40-yard dash. 13 bench reps. 39.5-inch vertical. 119-inch broad jump. 7.09 3-cone drill. 4.33 20-yard shuttle. 12.03 60-yard shuttle.

Consensus: Good frame. Good speed and closing burst. Hips aren’t bad but receivers can accelerate past him. Decent range. Does not excel in man coverage — can be exposed by deep speed. Has some ball skills — made a sensational one-handed interception against Western Michigan in 2013. Looks like a Cover-2 type safety. Needs to continue to develop his instincts.

Grade: 6.2

6. Detrick Bonner, 6-0, 207, Virginia Tech

Bio: Three-year starter who had 72 tackles (6.5 for loss), one interception, four pass breakups and five pass deflections in 13 games in 2014. Turned 23 this year. 31.25-inch arms. 8 7/8-inch hands. Did not work out at his pro day or combine due to Jones fractures in both feet.

Consensus: Good initial quickness. Flashes good hips and sideline-to-sideline range. Might be able to handle some man-to-man assignments. Plays lots of one-high coverage. Can be outmuscled by bigger receivers. Is not terribly interested in tackling. Should be able to stick in the league due to his coverage ability.

Grade: 6.1

7. Tevin McDonald, 5-11, 195, Eastern Washington

Bio: Three-year starter who had 78 tackles (four for loss), three interceptions and seven pass breakups in 14 games in 2014. Turns 23 this year. 29.75-inch arms. 9-inch hands. 4.63 40-yard dash. 19 bench reps. 33-inch vertical. 112-inch broad jump. 7.01 3-cone drill. 4.26 20-yard shuttle. 11.77 60-yard shuttle.

Consensus: Lean with very short arms. Has good football bloodlines — son of former 49ers safety Tevin McDonald and the brother of Rams safety T.J. McDonald. Began his career at UCLA before being kicked out for reportedly failing three drug tests. Has the athleticism, range and ball skills to play single high. Has a closing burst but only decent timed speed (4.63). Plays some nickel cornerback. Has fluid hips and can turn and run. Has good instincts. Not much of a hitter. Is a day-two talent whose grade will ultimately depend on the background work teams do on him.

Grade: 6.1

8. Adrian Amos, 6-0, 218, Penn State

Bio: Three-year starter who had 42 tackles (2.5 for loss), three interceptions, seven pass breakups and 10 pass deflections in 13 games in 2014. Turns 22 this year. 32.25-inch arms. 9 1/8-inch hands. 4.56 40-yard dash. 21 bench reps. 35.5-inch vertical. 122-inch broad jump. 7.09 3-cone drill. 4.03 20-yard shuttle. 11.33 60-yard shuttle.

Consensus: Former corner with some versatility. Good size and bulk. Has OK range and ball skills in coverage. Also has good hips and might be able to help as a nickel corner. Tries to deliver the big hit on receivers but is a bit underpowered against backs and is on the ground too much. Is a tick slow to diagnose the run.

Grade: 6.0

9. Dechane Durante, 6-2, 193, Northern Illinois

Bio: Four-year starter who had 87 tackles (0.5 for loss), four interceptions, three pass breakups and seven pass deflections in 14 games in 2014. Turned 23 this year. 4.56 40-yard dash. 27.5-inch vertical. Injured his shoulder during the bench press portion of his pro day and couldn’t work out.

Consensus: Very long arms. All arms and legs. Interesting athleticism and ball skills. He can track it in the air. Shoulder injury. Can track it and plays center field. Had outstanding ball production in 2014. Must continue developing his instincts and play more disciplined.

Grade: 6.0

10. Norman Hayes, 5-10, 199, Harvard

Bio: Three-year starter and team captain who had 56 tackles (4.5 for loss), zero interceptions and four pass breakups in 10 games in 2014. 30.75-inch arms. 9 7/8-inch hands. 4.56 40-yard dash. 24 bench reps. 34-inch vertical. 115-inch broad jump. 7.26 3-cone drill. 4.49 20-yard shuttle. 11.79 60-yard shuttle.

Consensus: Lean kid with some foot quickness. Former college cornerback who has good closing speed and some cover skills. Lack of ball production is a concern. Lined up at safety and as a nickel cornerback. Lacks tackle power but likes to hit and is an interesting prospect. Level of competition is also a concern but effort is not a problem — he plays hard.

Grade: 6.0

To reach Terez A. Paylor, call 816-234-4489 or send email to Follow him on Twitter: @TerezPaylor.


7.5-7.1: Top 10 pick

7.0: 11-20

6.9: 21-32

6.8: Top half of the second

6.7: Bottom half of the second

6.6: Top half of the third

6.5: Bottom half of the third

6.4: Fourth round pick

6.3: Fifth-round pick

6.2: Sixth-round pick

6.1: Seventh-round pick

6.0: Priority free agent

NOTE: All rankings are based on a combination of extensive personal film study, interviews conducted with draft analysts and information gleaned from NFL Network draft broadcasts. Evaluations are cross-checked with multiple draft profiles, courtesy of,, Measurements and testing results are from the combine and pro days, according to the resources listed above. Grades are assigned based on where The Star believes the Chiefs should take each player, based on their needs and scheme-fit.

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