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Ball Hawking Safety?

Who is the best ball hawking safety in this class?

I was reading Vaccaro's profile on one site and it stated that he doesn't have the ball skills of his previous teammate Earl Thomas. So, I started looking for "the next...Earl Thomas". While player comparison and/or projection is sketchy at best, it was interesting when I started reading about the actual strengths and weaknesses of some of these players.

The profiles for many of the safeties in this class suggest two obvious strengths:

1) Run support and tackling
2) Ball skills aka. ball hawk

It seems that a lot of these guys are strong at hitting and run support. I'm looking for someone with the strong ability to play the ball in the air, especially if they keep Whitner (ugh).

The two obvious "ball hawks" are:

Phillip Thomas Fresno State
6-1, 208
4.65, 14 reps, vert 35, long jump 10'02"
Stats (three season): 20 turnovers (13 interceptions (8 last season), six forced fumbles, one fumble recovery) over his career
Thomas appears to be a solid citizen. His stats are impressive. He did play at a smaller school and his straight line speed is a bit slow. However, I really like him in the late 2nd early third. Missed one year with leg injury.

Bacarri Rambo, Georgia,
6-1 211
4.56, 17 reps
Stats (four years): 16 career INT (8 in 2011), six forced fumbles, one fumble recovery)
Rambo had one monster year in 2011, and was good in his other 3 seasons. Team suspensions and drug related incidents raise a red flag. He has been compared to Goldson on the field due to his big hits and tackling.




or


The Niners could look at a conversion from CB to safety.


David Amerson,
6-1, 205
4.44, 15 reps, 6-1 205, vert 35 1/2, broad jump 10'07"
Stats (3 years): 17 (12 in 2011), 1 forced fumble, 0 fumble recoveries
Amerson played safety in college. Some "experts" have suggested that he may have to switch back to safety in the pros. He has good height, but could probably stand to add some bulk to hold up against the physical pounding of safety. His straight line speed looks excellent compared to the rest of the safety class.

Who are the best ball hawking safeties in this class?
[ Edited by Butter on Mar 10, 2013 at 12:44 PM ]
Phillip Thomas is the best coverage option at FS in my opinion and Amerson answered the question about his straight line speed at the Combine so he may stick as a CB.

If you read the scouting report on Eric Reid from LSU, it reads exactly like a report on Dashon Goldson. He had 7 passes defensed and 2 INT last year, but it is tempered by his over-aggressiveness.

NFL Draft Scout says:

He has a tendency to be too aggressive, biting on misdirection when playing in the box, and that intensity has also led to an alarming amount of penalties for late hits and pass interference.

Someone else to consider is DJ Swearinger from South Carolina. Apparently he has played both CB, nickel CB plus both safety spots at some point in his career.

I would be happy with Swearinger as the next best alternative to Thomas.
A name for you who might represent a great mid-round value: Robert Lester.

2012: 4 INTs
2011: 2 INTs
2010: 8 INTs

His stock has fallen due to poor showings at the Senior Bowl and the Combine, but in real football situations at Alabama he's been anywhere from solid to spectacular. Just being a 3-year starter on that defense is impressive enough.
[ Edited by JamesGatz83 on Mar 10, 2013 at 1:07 PM ]
Originally posted by m_brockalexander:
Phillip Thomas is the best coverage option at FS in my opinion and Amerson answered the question about his straight line speed at the Combine so he may stick as a CB.

If you read the scouting report on Eric Reid from LSU, it reads exactly like a report on Dashon Goldson. He had 7 passes defensed and 2 INT last year, but it is tempered by his over-aggressiveness.

NFL Draft Scout says:

He has a tendency to be too aggressive, biting on misdirection when playing in the box, and that intensity has also led to an alarming amount of penalties for late hits and pass interference.

Someone else to consider is DJ Swearinger from South Carolina. Apparently he has played both CB, nickel CB plus both safety spots at some point in his career.

I would be happy with Swearinger as the next best alternative to Thomas.
Eric Reid fits the 49ers very Physical as a Safety watch the Texas A&M game did well and just a Junior has plenty to room to groom and a day 1 starter.

Phillip Thomas is more of a Dashon Goldson watch the Oregon tape misses alot of tackles poor angles & terrible in coverage.

dj swearinger is not to my liking either when they played LSU poor in coverage

Darius Slay did really well vs Texas A&M really impressed me
[ Edited by Norwalks_Best on Mar 10, 2013 at 1:39 PM ]
Phillip Thomas, Baccari Rambo and David Amerson all have strong ballhawking tendencies.
Originally posted by Norwalks_Best:
Eric Reid fits the 49ers very Physical as just a Junior has plenty to room to groom and a day 1 starter.

Very physical with iffy coverage skills.....meh. Dude didn't look so good without being completely surrounded by top-shelf players everywhere in the secondary. I have him behind Vaccaro, Elam, Cyprien and Thomas.
[ Edited by Phoenix49ers on Mar 10, 2013 at 1:19 PM ]
Originally posted by Phoenix49ers:
Originally posted by Norwalks_Best:
Eric Reid fits the 49ers very Physical as just a Junior has plenty to room to groom and a day 1 starter.

Very physical with iffy coverage skills.....meh. Dude didn't look so good without being completely surrounded by top-shelf players everywhere in the secondary. I have him behind Vaccaro, Elam, Cyprien and Thomas.

This is exactly what I'm talking about. The Niners have paid a lot of money to their line backing core and they are very likely to sink some serious resources into upgrading their Dline. I'd really like to focus more on a FS with coverage skills.
Originally posted by JamesGatz83:
A name for you who might represent a great mid-round value: Robert Lester.

2012: 4 INTs
2011: 2 INTs
2010: 8 INTs

His stock has fallen due to poor showings at the Senior Bowl and the Combine, but in real football situations at Alabama he's been anywhere from solid to spectacular. Just being a 3-year starter on that defense is impressive enough.

I really wouldn't mind taking two safeties this year. I really want to target a FS at 74, but I'd be very open to targeting a future SS who could provide better ball skills in the 4-6th rounds.
Originally posted by Phoenix49ers:
Originally posted by Norwalks_Best:
Eric Reid fits the 49ers very Physical as just a Junior has plenty to room to groom and a day 1 starter.

Very physical with iffy coverage skills.....meh. Dude didn't look so good without being completely surrounded by top-shelf players everywhere in the secondary. I have him behind Vaccaro, Elam, Cyprien and Thomas.

Idk what you looked at Eric Reid played well vs A&M & South Carolina in coverage & tackling (Body & Arm) as a JR he has more upside better value in the 2nd round for 49ers, also LSU had all Freshmen Corners last year. Other than Vacarro, Elam is a SS Cyprien & Thomas are poor arm tacklers (all body) to my liking.

JJ WIlcox is & interesting prospect in the mid to late round kid has 1 yr experience on defense but a great player to groom to replace whitner.
[ Edited by Norwalks_Best on Mar 10, 2013 at 2:10 PM ]
Sanders Commings (6-2, 216) from Georgia is a big, fast, physical defensive back who many teams are looking at converting to safety from cornerback. He's got very good ball skills with long arms to knock away passes. Drafted as an outfielder in the MLB draft so you know he's atleast solid at tracking the deep ball.
Lots of choices this year at SAFETY unless you are stuck on the position titles. There are some prospects like Cyprien and Lester who are listed at SS who have good ball skills. Since we are talking about the Niners, there is always the possibility of converting a CB to safety like Cooper22 pointed out above. If Goldson gets overpaid on the free agent market, the Niners will have plenty of options to replace him in this draft.
Bacarri Rambo worries me because of his effort sometimes takes off/quits on plays or does not make the attempt to tackle NOT a 49er type a player imo. His motivation is a ? to me which is why he is projected a 3rd round prospect.
[ Edited by Norwalks_Best on Mar 10, 2013 at 3:04 PM ]
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I would say Robert Lester is a pretty ball hawking safety, 14 picks in 3 seasons. I would pull the trigger with our last 3rd round pick or 4th round pick if hes still available.
I love Phillip Thomas!!!!!!!
Phillip thomas is too slow hope it Elam or Cyprien and draft Jefferson in the 4th to replace whitner next year