NFL Draft News & Analysis

2024 NFL Draft: Highest graded safeties in every category

Tyler Nubin shows his versatility: The Minnesota safety is a rock-solid prospect who can impact the game from the top down, capturing three of our key categories among 2024 safety prospects.

Javon Bullard makes his case: A bit of a different flavor than Nubin, the Georgia safety likes to impose his will on opposing ball carriers and blockers. He consistently made plays on the ball in the short and intermediate levels of the field in 2023. 

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In today’s NFL, there’s a multitude of ways to affect the game from the safety position at all three levels of the field. Taking a look at the best of the best in a variety of categories across the league, there are certainly some high-profile names but also some potential surprises as well.

Here’s how the top safety prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft stack up in some of PFF’s key grading facets: 

Highest coverage grade on plays with no pressure: Tyler Nubin, Minnesota (91.6)

A safety out of the University of Minnesota, Nubin has a well-rounded game and is one of the best in this class playing from depth. Allowing just six catches for 46 yards on plays where the QB was unpressured, he gave up just three first downs all season despite a 16.4-yard average depth of target. 

Coverage grade on passes thrown in three seconds or less: Javon Bullard, Georgia (89.2)

Beating out Tyler Nubins 89.1 PFF coverage grade by a hair, the former Bulldog allowed just six yards per reception on 11 catches on passes thrown in three seconds or less. He showcased an aggressive mentality and versatility to impact offenses from a variety of alignments, forcing five incompletions and picking off a pass as well as racking up five defensive stops. 

Coverage grade at free safety: Tyler Nubin, Minnesota (89.2)

The top-ranked safety on the PFF big board, Nubin allowed just two catches on 10 targets into his coverage on 290 coverage snaps from a deep alignment. The former Golden Gopher got his hands on the other eight targets in his direction, racking up four of his five interceptions from free safety and forcing another four incompletions. 

Coverage grade in the slot: Tykee Smith, Georgia (85.6)

Targeted 47 times on 246 snaps, the Georgia product ranked top 10 among safeties in both targets and coverage reps from the slot. Smith showed the upside of an impact nickel, recording 12 defensive stops to go with three interceptions and two deflections. 

Coverage grade in the box: Kenny Logan Jr., Kansas (87.1)

A mid-late round prospect out of Kansas, Kenny Logan Jr. was asked to play in a ton of defensive alignments and showed solid coverage instincts, allowing seven catches on 110 box snaps for just 39 yards while adding an interception (as well as another on a two-point attempt against Oklahoma State). Additionally, Logan recorded four defensive stops and did not allow a catch for more than 12 yards when aligned in the box. 

PFF run-defense grade: Kitan Oladapo, Oregon State (91.3)

A four-year player at Oregon State, Kitan Oladapo liked to impose his physicality against the run in 2023, racking up 13 defensive stops to go along with two forced fumbles on 311 run-defense snaps. 

PFF pass-rush grade: Dadrion Taylor-Demerson, Texas Tech (91.3)

Typically thought of as a rangy deep safety, the prospect out of Texas Tech showed he can be a factor with his pass-rush ability on limited opportunities. Racking up three QB hits and a sack to go along with five hurries on 16 pass-rush snaps, Taylor-Demerson’s burst and closing speed make him a threat off the edge when left unblocked.

Overall PFF grade in red zone: Kenny Logan Jr., Kansas (79.6) 

Elevated by an 89.8 PFF coverage grade, the former Jayhawk didn’t allow a catch in 42 red-zone coverage snaps and added five defensive stops in the run game. Logan really popped in the red zone in high-leverage two-point attempts, where he was targeted three times with no catches allowed, intercepting one attempt and deflecting another.

Overall PFF grade early down: Tyler Nubin, Minnesota (86.1)

His third appearance on this list, Nubin was a significant contributor in all three phases. He recorded all three of his interceptions and all three of his pass deflections on first or second down, played well downhill with 11 stops between the run and pass game, and he even chipped in a sack and three quarterback hurries as a secondary blitzer.

Click here to see Tyler Nubin's 2024 NFL Draft profile.

Overall PFF grade late down: Josh Proctor, Ohio State (90.0)

Allowing just three catches on 12 targets on third or fourth down, Proctor allowed just one of those to go for a first down, forcing five incompletions and picking off another. The former Buckeye was also a factor around the line of scrimmage, racking up three tackles for a loss and five other defensive stops.

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