Michael Lewis has been a valuable SS for us, (kudos to McCloughlan for picking him up from the Eagles.) But this season he had 3 concussions. And the more concussions you have had, the more likely you will be to have the next one. At 29, he may have 4 or 5 more seasons, but future concussions could end his career next year.
If we were looking for a safety in the draft, what kind of safety, a SS or FS makes sense? Based on his M Lewis' size, , 6'1" 220 lbs, you would naturally think SS.
Based on the Saints and Colts in the Superbowl, I would think that cover skills are more important than ever. The problem is that big safeties don't have the fluid hips to stay with WRs coming out of breaks. But can FS's with cover skills take the pounding that a SS takes?
Below in descending order, is the total number of tackles for 49er LBs and Ss in 2009:
P Willis 152
D Goldson 94 6'2" 200 lbs
M Lewis 82 6'1" 220 lbs
T Spikes 75
M Lawson 68
P Harrison 45
Interestingly, after P Willie, the 2 safeties make about as many tackles as the other 3 LBs combined. So cover skills and resilience are required. And of course, you want someone who can intimidate WRs over the middle, but most intimidation occurs at the expense of wrap-up tackling.
Our backup safeties:
Reggie Smith 6'1" 200 lbs (If he stays healthy, he is a ball-hawker.)
Curtis Taylor 6'2" 209 lbs (Great physical specimen, but can he take the right angles?)
Whose available? Rather than say, draft X, I have listed players that should be within 10 spots of where we pick in each round. We might find someone with even more value drops to one of our picks, so than we move down a round. For instance Myron Rolle in the 3rd round might represent very good value at #79. Sorry, no dash and shuttle times till the combine.
Nate Allen 6'1" 205 lbs. 4 interceptions in 2009. Wes Buntings assessment at the Senior Bowl practices: "South Florida safety Nate Allen has been impressive this week. Not only does he display good instincts and ball skills in coverage, he also possesses by far the best footwork of any safety on the South. Allen looks fluid when asked to get out of his breaks and does a nice job getting up to speed quickly. He’s very quietly been one of the most impressive prospects here."
Chad Jones 6'3" 230 lbs. Not as productive as his impressive physicality,
Latter 2nd round:
Reshad Jones 6'2" 215 lbs. Appeared in 39 games for the Bulldogs including 27 starts. He started all 13 games this past season and ranked second on the team with 73 tackles including a team-leading four interceptions
Morgan Burnett 6'1" 210 lbs. All-ACC defender (2009), 14 career interceptions, 235 career tackles. Anemic pass rush this season exposed Georgia Tech's secondary.
Myron Rolle 6'2" 217 lbs. Rhodes Scholar (missed 2009 season) 206 total career tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss and 13 pass deflections.
Major Wright 6'0" 204 lbs. He finished his collegiate career with 165 tackles, 10 passes defended, eight interceptions, four forced fumbles and a fumble recovery in 41 games played. This past season, the 6-foot-0, 204-pound defender tied for second on the Gators with three interceptions and registered 32 tackles, 28 of which were solo.
At #111 (don't know how many 4th round comp picks will be awarded)
TJ Ward 5'10" 199 lbs. East-West Shrine Monday Practice: Oregon's T.J. Ward is a safety a lot of teams still like because of his hitting ability and agility in the back half.
[ Edited by mebemused on Feb 10, 2010 at 8:49 AM ]