Identifying the best free safety in the 2019 NFL draft

Virginia defensive back Juan Thornhill runs a drill during the NFL football scouting combine, Monday, March 4, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Check out my video breakdown of the upcoming draft’s top-seven safeties — Deionte Thompson, Nasir Adderley, Taylor Rapp, Johnathan Abram, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Darnell Savage Jr. and Juan Thornhill.

This article has 20 Comments

  1. I can confirm that I have Thornhill in the 2nd, around pick #55 or Savage in the 3rd. Either player works, although I do prefer Thornhill given the choice.

  2. Nice clips Grant.
    Thanks for the laugh the on the great Blake Bortells.
    Watching the 49ers clips I can’t help but wonder how a good pass rush would have affected those plays.

    I continue to hold my position that if the QB is sacked and harassed, we’ll see an improvement in our secondary. The QB’s in your clips could have made a cellphone call with one hand and thrown with other – way to much time!
    That should change this year when we get our Edge, pass rusher.

  3. Nasir Adderley is the best safety with range and ball skills. He is what the niners should get. If we were still in the era of hard hitting safeties it would be Abram. Adderley is the best fit for our scheme hands down.

    1. Thornhill > Adderley

      Thornhill played SS for UVA but he definitely has true ballhawk, centerfielder skill-set. He can drop over the slot and press, as he’s a former CB who would’ve probably been a mid round pick as a CB. He’s a smart, instinctual player who is a above average athlete for the position. And the fact that’s he’s only played safety for a year means he’s still growing into the position, giving him tremendous upside. And his tape is just flat out better than Adderley. He did more, with less opportunities in the deep third. And Thornhill did it against stiffer comp, which I think matters when evaluating film. 6 int in his first year@safety proves he finds his way to the ball at a elite level.

  4. Good stuff, Grant. I like that you showed some clips of what you consider to be good free safety play and bad free safety play prior to the player breakdowns.

  5. Grant mentioned JL wants a JL type player, who can be the field general, and lead the defense, and call the plays in the defensive backfield.
    .
    Maybe they should put Richard Sherman in at safety, since he knows how to lead that Pete Carroll 4-3 defense, better than the coaches.

    1. In other words, someone exactly like Jamal Adams…

      If only Adams had gone to Stanford instead of LSU…we’d have gotten a future All-Pro starter and a leader on the field, instead of a part-time tweener who may never work out very well as a defensive mainstay.

  6. Nice breakdown Grant. Juan Thornhill looks like the jewel in this draft for sure.
    Any chance you could breakdown Tre Boston? I just can’t wrap my head around him still being a free agent.
    I know he’s not a great tackler, but 8 picks in his last two seasons, including a 5 pick season playing the Chargers in a similar system to the 49ers.
    Did he bang a bunch of teammates wives? What am I missing here?

  7. I don’t have a personal favorite, but I hear Lynch really likes Abram. He’s also rated #1 in Walter Football. He’s a sure tackler and has the athleticism to play the deep FS position. There’s a lot to like about him. To get him, Lynch would arguably have to trade down from #2 to get in position to get him with a 2nd first rd pick, which limits the teams he might trade with.

  8. Apparently Grant is trying to reinvent himself as some kind of advanced scout or film expert lol. Please. Way 2 late for all that…Your credibility is already destroyed dude and other than a couple sad mfs on here nobody cares what you think.

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