Chiefs

Rating the top safeties in the 2016 NFL Draft

Safety Vonn Bell made a catch during his NFL Pro Day in March at Ohio State.
Safety Vonn Bell made a catch during his NFL Pro Day in March at Ohio State. The Associated Press

Included in measurables are height, weight, age they turn this year (if available) and 40-yard-dash time.

1. VONN BELL, Ohio State

Measurables: 5-11, 199, 22, 4.51

Bio: Two-year starter who recorded 65 tackles, nine pass breakups, two interceptions and one forced fumble in 13 games in 2015. Did not work out at the combine. Declared after his true junior season.

Consensus: Had a formal interview with the Chiefs at the NFL combine. Posted a solid 40-yard dash time at his pro day; runs well. Has good athleticism for the position, and can cover some ground in coverage. Can play man on certain receivers and tight ends and flashes comfort in zone coverage. Occasionally flashes ball skills. Could stand to give more consistent effort as a tackler, but steps up when necessary. Is not a striker; is a drag-down type. Often finds himself around the ball.

Grade: 6.8

2. KEANU NEAL, Florida

Measurables: 6-0, 211, 4.62

Bio: Two-year starter who recorded 96 tackles, one pass breakup, one interception and one forced fumble in 12 games in 2015. Declared after his true junior season.

Consensus: Posted a good vertical (38 inches) and broad jump (132 inches). Explosive athlete who will stick his nose and there and strike ballcarriers downhill, though he needs to work on his pursuit angles. Likes contact, but doesn't always wrap up. Flashes a plus closing burst and runs fairly well on a straight line. Has played some deep zone but does his best work around the box. Will need to prove he's got coverage skills on the backend; might not be a natural in that area. Has special teams experience and has the look of a contributor in that area.

Grade: 6.8

3. KARL JOSEPH, West Virginia

Measurables: 5-10, 205, DNR*

Bio: Four-year starter who recorded 20 tackles, one pass breakup, five interceptions and zero forced fumbles in only four games in 2015.

Consensus: Experienced enforcer type with plus speed and range. Had an ACL injury back in October but still managed five interceptions on the season. Bullet on the field with good feet for safety; former soccer player who moves well. Good tackler who likes to lay the wood. Reportedly has great football character. Has experience in the box, in one-high and as a nickel corner. Passionate player who counts Ed Reed among his NFL role models. First-round talent whose lack of size and injury history could drop him into the second round, but he has the best tape of any safety in this draft.

Grade: 6.8

*Has not run 40 due to injury

4. DARIAN THOMPSON, Boise State

Measurables: 6-2, 208, 22, 4.69

Bio: Four-year starter who recorded 65 tackles, nine passes defensed, four pass breakups, five interceptions and two forced fumbles in 12 games in 2015.

Consensus: Has a good feel for the position. Experienced player with tremendous ball production; his 19 career interceptions, broke Eric Weddle's Mountain West record. Playmaker with ball skills who is always around the football but is a bit tight in the hips. Ran a disappointing 40-time at the combine and lacks explosion as an athlete. Willing, drag-down tackler who occasionally misses some tackles in the open field.

Grade: 6.6

5. T.J. GREEN, Clemson

Measurables: 6-2, 209, 21, 4.34

Bio: One-year starter who had 95 tackles (5.5 for loss), zero interceptions, three pass breakups and three pass deflections in 15 games in 2015. Former wide receiver who moved to defensive back after 2013 season.

Consensus: Had a formal interview with the Chiefs at the NFL combine. Ran a blazing 40 and posted a great broad jump (129 inches). Has excellent arm length (32 inches). Has the height-length-speed part down and is a plus athlete for the position. Is raw and is still training his eyes in pass coverage, so he will require coaching to reach his potential. Occasionally flashes ball skills of a former wide receiver. Is a very willing tackler who isn't afraid to stick his nose in there — showed no hesitation going after Derrick Henry, Alabama's super-sized back, but is not a classic downhill thumper. Has worked on the punt coverage team, might be able to contribute there.

Grade: 6.5

6. DeANDRE HOUSTON-CARSON, William & Mary

Measurables: 6-1, 201, 4.54

Bio: Four-year starter who recorded a team-high 109 tackles, seven passes defensed, three pass breakups, four interceptions and one forced fumble in 13 games in 2015. Team captain.

Consensus: Former cornerback who moved to safety this season. Posted a good 40 time at the combine. Was impressive at the Senior Bowl. Possesses good play speed. Is always around the football but is a little stiff in coverage. Very willing tackler who pursues hard in run support but doesn't always wrap up and occasionally overpursues. Good special-teams player; has nine career blocks on special teams. Reportedly has good football character. Could intrigue teams who want to try him as a cornerback but might face a learning curve with the jump to the NFL.

Grade: 6.4

7. MILES KILLEBREW, Southern Utah

Measurables: 6-2, 217, 4.65

Bio: Four-year starter who had 132 tackles, zero interceptions, seven pass breakups and seven pass deflections in 12 games in 2015.

Consensus: Ripped-up combine star who was among the top testers among defensive backs in the bench (22 reps), vertical (38 inches) and broad jump (127 inches), but posted a fairly slow 40. Super-productive enforcer who flashes the ability to punish offensive players and pack a punch when he has a head of steam, but occasionally catches ballcarriers instead of delivering the blow. One-speed athlete who might best project as a linebacker but has a translatable skill set to the NFL, overall. Whether he lasts on the backend will depend on his ball skills and comfort in coverage against a much higher level of football. Will contribute on special teams.

Grade: 6.4

8. JALEN MILLS, Louisiana State

Measurables: 6-0, 191, 22, 4.61

Bio: Four-year starter who recorded 30 tackles, two pass breakups, zero interceptions and zero forced fumbles in six games in 2015 after missing the beginning of the season with a leg injury. Had some off field issues in May 2014.

Consensus: Posted a good vertical (37 inches). One-speed defender with an acceptable 40 time who can hold up on an island vs. some receivers. Super-experienced player in the nation's most physical conference. Versatile; can play corner (in certain coverages) and safety. Sees the game well. Dealt with an ankle injury early in the season but came on strong toward the end of the year. Willing but underpowered tackler. Good football player; might go higher if teams are satisfied after they dig in on his background; had a second-degree battery charge in 2014 that was eventually dropped.

Grade: 6.3

9. JEREMY CASH, Duke

Measurables: 6-0, 212, 24, 4.59

Bio: Three-year starter who recorded 101 tackles, four passes defensed, four pass breakups, four interceptions and three forced fumbles in 12 games in 2015. Finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award in 2015. Transferred from Ohio State in 2012.

Consensus: Is old for a prospect. Very willing tackler who does his best work in and around the box. Posted an eye-popping 18 tackles for loss in 2015. Shows a knack for blitzing; had eight quarterback hurries and 2 1/2 sacks last year. Also looks to force turnovers. Ran well at the combine but isn't an elite athlete. Could carve out an early role as a nickel defender.

Grade: 6.3

10. SEAN DAVIS, Maryland

Measurables: 6-1, 201, 4.46

Bio: Three-year starter who had 70 tackles, three interceptions, three pass breakups and six pass deflections in 12 games in 2015.

Consensus: Top performer in the bench (21 reps) and broad jump (126 inches) but was tight through the hips at the combine. Experienced and versatile; moved to corner in 2015 but might prove to be a better safety in the long run. Still learning how to play the position but offers an attractive combination of size and athleticism. Can drive on the ball when it's in the air. Solid, willing tackler who throws his body around. Shows a knack for forcing fumbles (five in 2015). Worked as a punt gunner.

Grade: 6.3

OTHERS TO WATCH: Deon Bush, Miami; K.J. Dillon, West Virginia; Jayron Kearse, Clemson; Tyvis Powell, Ohio State, Justin Simmons, Boston College.

GRADING SCALE

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

5.9: Non-prospect

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 resources. Measurements and testing results are from the combine and pro days, according to NFL.com. Grades are assigned based on where each player could be drafted.

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