NFL Draft News & Analysis

2024 NFL Draft: 10 draft-eligible safeties to know

2NJ1J46 Miami safety Kamren Kinchens and safety James Williams (0) celebrating during an NCAA football game against Duke, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (Lauren Sopourn/South Florida Stadium via AP)

  • Miami’s Kamren Kinchens: The rising junior is a true centerfielder at free safety and tied for the most interceptions in the Power Five this past season.
  • USC’s Calen Bullock: The junior was a first-team All-American this past season and could be the top safety in the 2024 NFL Draft.
  • Clemson’s Andrew Mukuba: The junior battled injuries as a sophomore, but his play as a freshman keeps him as one of the early top safeties in the class.
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

In the last four drafts, there have been three safeties that were taken in the first round. Ironically, they all came in the 2022 class. 

Will there be any in 2024? Here are the 10 safeties to know as we head into summer scouting.

Kamren Kinchens, Miami (FL)

Kinchens led all safeties in the country this past season with a 90.0 grade and a 90.7 coverage grade. His six interceptions were also tied for the most in the Power Five. He’s a true centerfielder at free safety.

Calen Bullock, USC

Bullock was a PFF first-team All-American in 2022 thanks to his dominance in coverage.

The junior’s five interceptions were tied for fifth among all safeties in the country. He was also the third-most valuable safety in the country according to PFF’s wins above average metric. 

Andrew Mukuba, Clemson

Mukuba had a very disappointing sophomore season with just a 50.2 grade.

However, he was battling injuries and was coming off a stellar freshman year. Over the last two seasons, the junior’s 17 coverage stops were tied for eighth among Power Five safeties while his 10 forced incompletions are tied for ninth.

James Williams, Miami (FL)

Between Kinchens and Williams, Miami has the best safety duo in the country heading into next season.

Both Williams and Kinchens have recorded 89.9 coverage grades over the last two seasons — tied for first among returning Power Five safeties. At 6-foot-5, Williams has unbelievable length for a safety, which he used to force six incompletions in 2022. 

Rod Moore, Michigan

Moore is arguably the most well-rounded safety in the country heading into next season and was an honorable mention PFF All-American in 2022.

He was one of two Power Five safeties in 2022 who earned 80-plus grades both in coverage and as a run defender. The other, Alabama’s Brian Branch, was taken in the second round of the 2023 draft by the Detroit Lions. Moore’s four interceptions were tied for seventh among Power Five safeties. 

Aubrey Burks, West Virginia

Among returning Power Five safeties, only Kinchens posted a higher grade in 2022 than Burks (84.9). 

The junior’s 12 coverage stops this past season was also tied for the most among that same group. He was named first-team All-Big 12 by PFF for his work this year. 

Demani Richardson, Texas A&M

Richardson is heading into his fifth season as a starting safety for the Aggies. Over the last two years, the redshirt senior’s 29 run-defense stops are tied for ninth among Power Five safeties while his 18 coverage stops are tied for fourth.

Cole Bishop, Utah

Bishop is arguably the best downhill safety in college football. This past season, he led all Power Five safeties with 20 pressures. The junior’s 35 run-defense stops and 14 tackles for loss/no-gain over the last two years were also top-five marks among that same group.

R.J. Mickens, Clemson

The second of two Clemson safeties on this list, Mickens is the underrated star in the Tigers’ secondary.

The junior’s 87.2 grade over the last two seasons is second to only Kinchens among Power Five safeties. In that span, he’s only given up 0.28 yards per coverage snap, tied for seventh in the Power Five.

Tyler Nubin, Minnesota

Nubin is a hard-nosed run-defender as Minnesota’s strong safety. His 83.4 run-defense grade in 2022 was 11th among Power Five safeties. Nubin’s 18 run-defense stops were also a top-15 mark in that same group. 

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