There are two types of safeties in the NFL. A free safety is the guy in the secondary that watches the play unfold and goes wherever the football usually goes. The free safety tends to roam around and play back in coverage along with assisting the cornerback in coverage of a wide receiver. The strong safety is the guy that’s lined up on the “strong side” where the big, physical and bruising tight end is. Who are the best in the business today? They are listed below.
1. Ed Reed– In my opinion, Ed Reed maybe one of the smartest defensive players ever to play in the NFL. Nobody is better at luring the quarterback to throw the ball than Ed does. He is the true definition of a ballhawk. He can read a play and he’s always in the right spot at the right time. Ed has the mentality of an offensive player on defense. When he intercepts a pass, it’s a very high chance that he will take the ball to the end zone. He’s not just a player who get an interception to get one, he wants to put 6 points on the scoreboard. Injuries have slowed him down some but I think he’s the best in the business right now.
2. Troy Polamalu– With the way he plays, he’s been at number one on my top 5 safeties list year in and year out. Injuries have slowed him down significantly but he’s still an offensive coordinator’s nightmare. Troy Polamalu brings a swagger to the safety position and he does it all. He can stop the run, attack the line of scrimmage, pick a guy up in coverage, get an interception and can be moved around and still be effective doing so. Troy will go down as one of the all-time great safeties and when he’s healthy, he’s arguably the best in the league at his position.
3. Earl Thomas– He’s been a key player on that Seahawks defense the last two seasons. Earl has been one of the consistent forces on a Seahawks defense that has been considered a top five unit to some. Earl Thomas maybe the most underrated guy on this list and you’re probably wondering who is this guy? He’s a guy who can play safety defending the deep portion of the field. Due to his ability to cover deep, the Seahawks gave up the fewest pass plays of 20 yards or more. The future is very bright for this young safety.
4. Dashon Goldson– I’ve been a fan of his since he came into the league. Dashon was good in San Fran and I think he’ll be even better in Tampa Bay playing alongside Mark Barron and Darrrelle Revis. Those three together could make an elite secondary. The thing I like about Dashon’s game is his ability to roam sideline to sideline. He’s another ballhawk. He has a great nose for the football and and can also lay a hit on someone when necessary. He proved a lot of people wrong early in his career and earned his first pro bowl and all-pro selections a season ago.
5. Eric Weddle– I followed him closely in college and that same style of play has transferred over into the pros. Eric has made the all-pro team three years in a row (2010-2012) and made the pro bowler once in his career. He can play both safety positions and can roam around in multiple coverages. He’s a hard hitting safety that plays with an edge and has been a playmaker on a Chargers defense that has struggled over the past few seasons. He still has a lot left in him and he’ll be among the faces of his position for years to come.