Raiders Blog

Raider Ramble’s Top 10 Safety Prospects

With the 2020 NFL Draft less than two weeks away, the Las Vegas Raiders are putting the finishing touches on their draft board. Here at the Raider Ramble, it is no different. Over the next few days, final rankings of every position group will be released, with safeties sixth on the list.

Here are the previous entries:

Raiders Blog: Analyzing Current Safety Situation

The Raiders added new a couple of safeties this past free agency. Jeff Heath joins the team as a special team’s ace and versatile safety. Last season, he proved to be the most sound tackling safety in the entire NFL. The team also signed Damarious Randall, who provides the swagger and aggressiveness the secondary has been lacking.


However, Randall was only offered a one-year deal as he has had his fair share of mishaps on the field.

Heath and Randall will be part of a safety group that witnessed veterans Erik Harris and Curtis Riley receiving the majority of snaps in 2019. Harris is a quality depth player that made a few nice plays last season, but the Raiders shouldn’t rely on him heavily. On the other hand, Riley was not offered a contract extension for more than one reason.

The Raiders 27th overall draft pick in 2019, Johnathan Abram, is recovering from a torn rotator cuff that he suffered in the first and only game of his rookie season. This year, he’s starting over, but he flashed ability to be a tone setter at the position with his physical play.

Abram has potential, but he still needs to prove himself at the NFL level before one can conclude that he is a long term asset for the team. Aside from the four listed above, the only safeties that remain on the roster are Lamarcus Joyner and Dallin Leavitt. Joyner has been etched into the defense as a slot cornerback and Leavitt is a core special teamer at best. What the team is hurting for is a safety with outstanding range in a Paul Guenther defense that can run the single high safety concept frequently.


Luckily, the NFL draft has a few prospects who fit the mold of ideal safeties that can be left with the ‘roaming’ responsibilities in the secondary.

Related: Raiders aren’t patching defense anymore


The Top 10 Safety Prospects

The current state of the Raiders safety position is adequate, but there is a moderate need for a player that can mask defensive mistakes with his athleticism and football I.Q. on the back end of the defense. Having said that, the top 10 safeties in the upcoming draft offer a few venues of relief.


Xavier McKinney – Alabama Crimson Tide

At the top of the list lies Alabama’s Xavier McKinney, who is an extremely versatile safety that harps on the principle of not allowing opposing receivers to defeat the defense deep.

In addition to his range, McKinney has the ability to effectively neutralize opposing slot receivers.

The Rosewell, Georgia native can perform a multitude of roles and has an understanding of pro style defensive concepts as a former member of Nick Saban’s defense.

If the Raiders select him in the first round, he would be a fine addition to a secondary that needs all the assistance it can acquire.

Grant Delpit – LSU Tigers

If the Raiders want a more aggressive safety against the pass than McKinney, Delpit may be player they are looking for.

Bar none, Delpit possesses elite range from the deep safety position. In terms of pass coverage, he also displays incredible prowess.

Even when used as a blitzer, Delpit is a problem for opposing offenses.

The major hiccup many pundits have with him is his poor tackling at times. That is a correctable issue, and the least of concerns for a team that wants a true playmaker on the back end of their defense. For the Raiders, he would change the outlook of the secondary in a hurry if they were to select him in the first round.

Ashtyn Davis – California Bears

Arriving at number six on this list is Calfiornia University’s Ashtyn Davis. He is a remarkable prospect that isn’t necessarily getting the attention Delpit and McKinney are, but he is arguably the most competitive safety of the group.

Make no mistake, Davis plays the game of football with a controlled violence that should entice the Raiders front office. Not only does he possess a white hot motor but after Delpit, he possesses the best range in the group.

Similar to McKinney, Ashtyn also has the ability to adequately cover slot receivers in pass coverage.

Like many other prospects, if the Raiders want to acquire him, they will need to address the major gap between selections No. 19 and No. 80 overall.

Related: Raiders Should Avoid Grant Delpit In The First Round


Geno Stone – Iowa Hawkeyes

The final player of this countdown is a smaller prospect at the position with the physical presence to make up for his diminutive stature.

In addition to his physicality, Stone plays the safety position with an intelligence that is second to none.

He may not have had the greatest of showings at the NFL Scouting Combine, but his football speed is evident when he is on the field.

In the fourth round, the Raiders may opt to draft the Iowa product as a player that could fill the third-safety role on passing downs.

In Review

As a whole, the Raiders have a serviceable safety squad heading into the draft. If the team were to acquire more speed in the secondary, it would not be detrimental in a division with the speed of receivers at Chiefs head coach Andy Reid’s disposal. Whether the Silver and Black utilize a high selection on a safety or one in the middle rounds, the players highlighted in this article could transform the position into a great one heading into the 2020 regular season.

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