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