NFL News & Analysis

Premium Content Sign Up

Best safeties available in the 2021 NFL Draft and free agency

New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints free safety Marcus Williams (43) runs out of the tunnel during pre-game player introductions before their game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

It’s officially team-building season for the NFL, and that means all 32 franchises are spending countless hours figuring out how to shape their rosters for 2021 and beyond. And one of the big decisions is whether to address positions of need via the 2021 NFL Draft, the upcoming free agency period or the trade market.

Teams assess their weaknesses and look at all potential options in a given position group. In this series, we’ll investigate the strengths and weaknesses of all positions this offseason, with an eye toward the draft, free agency and the potential trade options.

Here’s a look at the 2021 safety market.

Best safeties Available via Free Agency (Free-Agent board rank)

  1. Justin Simmons (6)
  2. Anthony Harris (7)
  3. Marcus Williams (15)
  4. Marcus Maye (21)
  5. John Johnson III (22)
  6. Xavier Woods (50)
  7. Malik Hooker (67)
  8. Keanu Neal (70)
  9. Jaquiski Tartt (96)

Editor's note: PFF’s 2021 NFL free-agency rankings offer three-year player grades, updated contract information, in-depth player analysis and PFF’s newly developed Wins Above Replacement (WAR) metric for all of the top NFL free agents. Click here to view the full list.

It’s a talent-rich free agent class, as five players are ranked among the top 22 PFF free agents.

Simmons has emerged as one of the league’s best all-around safeties, ranking second in coverage grade over the last two years while also ranking as an 88th-percentile run defender. Simmons has excelled all over the field, whether playing free safety or in the box, and that makes him the best overall option at the position in free agency.

Subscribe to PFF Edge to continue reading

Already have a subscription? Sign In

You've got the first pick with your finances. Western Southern Financial Group.

NFL Featured Tools

  • Live picks, grades and reaction to the 2022 NFL Draft.

  • PFF's Big Board for the 2023 NFL Draft offers three-year player grades, combine measurables, position rankings, and in-depth player analysis for all of the top draft prospects.

    Available with

  • 250+ three-page scouting profiles - advanced stats, 3-year grades, player comps, combine data and Senior Bowl grades - for the 2022 draft class.

    Available with

  • PFF's exclusive metrics provide matchup previews, position rankings, grades, and snap counts.

    Available with

  • Our exclusive database, featuring the most in-depth collection of NFL player performance data.

    Available with

Pro Subscriptions

Unlock NFL Player Grades, Fantasy & NFL Draft

$9.99 / mo
$39.99 / yr

Unlock Premium Stats, PFF Greenline & DFS

$34.99 / mo
$199.99 / yr