Nov 17, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; San Diego Chargers free safety Eric Weddle (32) attempts to tackle Miami Dolphins tight end Charles Clay (42) during the first half at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Top 10 NFL Safeties In the League

Under appreciated at times in NFL history, the safety position is now en vogue.  So who are the ten best at the position?

#10 – Devin McCourty – New England Patriots

Things really didn’t get going for Devin McCourty until the New England Patriots switched him to free safety.  Since then he has become one of their best playmakers.  He tackles, he covers and he forces turnovers.  At age 26 his transition to the position should be complete and his performance should only improve.

#9 – T.J. Ward – Denver Broncos

His Pro Bowl nod in 2013 was a testament how good T.J. Ward is.  Overcoming early injury struggles in his career, he became a fixture in a sea of swirling sands that is the Cleveland Browns.  Now he’s in a more stable home with the Denver Broncos and has Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware in front of him.  Career numbers may be headed his way.

#8 – Antoine Bethea – San Francisco 49ers

He’s not always flashy on the highlight reel but Antoine Bethea is just a great NFL player who does his job right.  Not missing a game since 2007 at such a demanding position is impressive enough, but to average of 100 tackles per year as a safety is a testament to his toughness and ability to limit big plays.

#7 – Eric Berry – Kansas City Chiefs

Much of the defensive success for the Kansas City Chiefs last year went to their defensive front, but they wouldn’t have been nearly as good if they didn’t have Eric Berry on the back end.  A true hybrid type, he can climb into the box to play the run, drop back in coverage, blitz and take interceptions back for touchdowns as he did in 2013.

#6 – Antrel Rolle – New York Giants

Missing just one game since 2006, Antrel Rolle takes consistency to a different level.  Teammates can always count on him to be in the right position, to direct the secondary properly, and most importantly to make the play.  A two-time All-Pro and Super Bowl champion, he is what every defensive coordinator wishes for.

#5 – Kam Chancellor – Seattle Seahawks

One of several amazing secondary additions by the Seattle Seahawks over the past four years, Kam Chancellor is probably the most overlooked.  This despite the fact he may have been the one who deserved the MVP honors in the Super Bowl.  Runners can’t escape his grasp and his long frame is kryptonite for quarterbacks to throw near.

#4 – Troy Polamalu – Pittsburgh Steelers

Injuries are part of NFL life and Troy Polamalu has experienced his fair share but the Pittsburgh Steelers captain continues to soldier on.  An eight-time Pro Bowler and two-time Super Bowl champion, Polamalu defied age in 2013 with 69 tackles, five forced fumbles and two interceptions while not missing a game.

#3 – Jairus Byrd – New Orleans Saints

Teams forever seek the safeties who are savaants when it comes to forcing turnovers.  That is why Jairus Byrd was such a hot commodity in NFL free agency.  Through five seasons he has 22 interceptions and 11 forces fumbles.  Now with the New Orleans Saints, he will have a chance to swell that total by playing with a few more leads, courtesy of Drew Brees.

#2 – Eric Weddle – San Diego Chargers

It doesn’t seem to matter if the San Diego Chargers have no pass rush and no corners.  One way or another Eric Weddle is in the right place at the right time.  He is one of those guys who not only can do a little of everything, but does them really well.  Extremely intelligent, a great leader and a four-time All-Pro.

#1 – Earl Thomas – Seattle Seahawks

Many argue he should’ve been NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2013 and they would’ve had a strong case.  Earl Thomas snared five interceptions, made over 100 tackles and was the brains behind arguably the best defense seen in over a decade.  If his third-straight Pro Bowl wasn’t enough validation, winning the Super Bowl and shutting down the best offense in history certainly was.

Tags: Denver Broncos Kansas City Chiefs New England Patriots New Orleans Saints New York Giants NFL Pittsburgh Steelers San Diego Chargers San Francisco 49ers Seattle Seahawks

  • Cutler2Marshall312

    Being a bears fan I haven’t seen excepectional safety play since Mike Brown and Chris Harris, But that Chess Player of a safety called Weddle is a Monster… The game the Chargers played Dever, Peyton didn’t know what to check to or which way Weddle was coming… Was he blitzing or dropping back in coverage it was just a master piece of safety play.. That is All #BearByBirth

    • powderBLUE801

      I agree. They even had an article about how Weddle can throw manning off. Manning even said he is the most difficult DB he has faced simply because he has no idea what Weddle is going to do. I live in utah and have watched this kid play for years and I was beside myself when my bolts moved up to snag him.

      • Erik Lambert

        Weddle deserves so much more recognition than he’s getting. I can’t imagine the hype he’d be getting if he played on the east coast or in the NFC West.

        • powderBLUE801

          I couldn’t agree more. He would be ranked #1 if he played for the 9ers or the Seahawks.

          • Kyle Taylor

            Agree! The NFC best gets so much credit. Like Sherman #1 corner, please…..

          • Native BoneZ

            Lol talk about biased. Pro football focus don’t lie. Earl Thomas is far better than weddle

          • Gunnar Martin

            Maybe instead of going off of a flawed statistics site that is widely overused for whatever reason, watch both of them play for yourself. Then compare the two. I promise you, you will realize Thomas is most definitely not “far better than Weddle.”

          • powderBLUE801

            What’s next madden stats? Come on man!!

      • Kyle Taylor

        Chiefs fan here and I agree weddle should be number 2 with berry #3. You agree powder blue being a bolts fan? His physical attributes are off the charts.

        • powderBLUE801

          I agree with berry being ranked higher he is a beast. But I still think Weddle should be #1 overall. He is and has been the best safety in the leauge.

  • blackroseMD1

    Glad to see Weddle ranked so high. He seems to be overlooked a lot because he plays in San Diego.

    • Erik Lambert

      That is the problem with playing in a small market. You have to play really great to noticed.

  • Alex Rodman

    Berry is one of the best all around safeties

    • Erik Lambert

      No question but he’s more of a box safety than he is a coverage guy even though he makes his share of plays on passes.

      • superman_25_58

        This is the biggest myth in football “Berry more of a box safety than he is a coverage guy” Just bc this is where he was needed has nothing to do with his coverage skills.

  • Demarkus Tramail Swan

    Antrelle Rolle, Troy? LOL

    • Erik Lambert

      I suppose you’re upset because you want Tyvon Branch on the list?

  • Robert Fairbanks

    Weddle: One of the few players that A. J. Smith gave a big contract to that actually improved his play over the years. One player cannot a team make!

    • Erik Lambert

      That certainly hasn’t stopped Weddle from trying.

  • anon76returns

    6 in the West, 2 in the East, 1 each in the North and South. Come on other Divisions, what are you guys up to at Safety?

    • Erik Lambert

      Combination of bad luck, bad scouting and ill-conceived defensive identity.