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Ranking the top 5 safeties in the NFL

Tyrann Mathieu is one of the best safeties in the NFL in 2020
Tyrann Mathieu is one of the best safeties in the NFL in 2020
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Walter Sharp

With NFL offenses becoming more sophisticated and relying more than ever on the passing game, the safety position is increasing in value for NFL defenses.

Traditionally viewed as the last line of defense, the modern-day prototype safety is one who can cover the most athletic wide receivers as well as big tight ends, plus step up and stop the run, and often serve as essentially a hybrid defensive back and linebacker.

There has been a lot of great safeties in the history of the NFL. The future at the safety position is in good hands with these five NFL safeties.

These five safeties have been dominant during the 2020 NFL Season.


5. Harrison Smith (Minnesota Vikings)

The Minnesota Vikings would select safety Harrison Smith with the 29th pick in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Since being drafted, Smith has only had one season without intercepting a pass. He has racked up 722 total tackles for the Minnesota Vikings defense.

In the 2014 NFL season, Harrison Smith would put together an amazing season. Smith would record 93 total tackles, 3 sacks, 5 interceptions, and would score a defensive touchdown. Smith has been great this season as well.

Harrison Smith 2020 NFL season stats:

  • 63 total tackles
  • 0.5 sacks
  • 4 interceptions
  • 8 pass deflections

4. Quandre Diggs (Seattle Seahawks)

The Detroit Lions drafted safety Quandre Diggs with the 200th pick in the 6th round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Diggs would play five seasons with the Lions before making the move to Seattle.

Since joining the Seahawks, the veteran safety has intercepted seven passes in the last two seasons.

Quandre Diggs would put together his best season during the 2018 NFL season. Diggs recorded 78 total tackles, 3 interceptions, and a defensive touchdown for the Detroit Lions. Quandre Diggs has put together a great 2020 NFL season for the Seattle Seahawks.

Quandre Diggs 2020 NFL stats:

  • 47 total tackles
  • 0 sacks
  • 4 interceptions
  • 8 pass deflections

3. Justin Simmons (Denver Broncos)

The Denver Broncos would draft safety Justin Simmons with the 98th pick in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft. In five NFL seasons with the Broncos, Simmons has recorded two or more interceptions in each season. Simmons has made a huge impact on the Denver Broncos defense.

Justin Simmons would record in his best season in the 2019 NFL Season. During the 2019 NFL Season, Justin Simmons would record 93 total tackles, 4 interceptions and 15 pass deflections.

The Broncos were rumored to have interest in trading Justin Simmons during the 2020 NFL Trade Deadline. All the trade talks aside, Simmons has put together another great year for the Denver Broncos.

Justin Simmons 2020 NFL Stats:

  • 76 total tackles
  • 1 fumble recovery
  • 4 interceptions
  • 7 pass deflections

2. Tyrann Mathieu (Kansas City Chiefs)

The Arizona Cardinals would draft safety Tyrann Mathieu with the 69th pick in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Mathieu would play his first five seasons with the Cardinals before playing one with the Houston Texans. Tyrann Mathieu would join the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2019 NFL Season.

Tyrann Mathieu would put together his best NFL season during the 2015 NFL Season for the Arizona Cardinals. Mathieu would record 89 total tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 5 interceptions, 17 pass deflections, and one defensive touchdown.

Tyrann Mathieu was a huge contributor to the Kansas City Chiefs winning the 2019 Super Bowl. He has continued that during the 2020 NFL Season.

Tyrann Mathieu 2020 NFL Stats:

  • 57 total tackles
  • 5 interceptions
  • 7 pass deflections
  • 1 touchdown

1. Minkah Fitzpatrick (Pittsburgh Steelers)

The Miami Dolphins would select safety Minkah Fitzpatrick with the 11th pick of the first round in the 2018 NFL Draft. Fitzpatrick would spend two seasons with the Miami Dolphins before being traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Since joining the Pittsburgh Steelers, Minkah Fitzpatrick has become one of the top safeties in the NFL.

Minkah Fitzpatrick would have his best NFL season during the 2019 NFL Season for the Steelers. Fitzpatrick would record 57 total tackles, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumble recoveries, 5 interceptions, and a defensive touchdown.

Minkah Fitzpatrick 2020 NFL Stats:

  • 53 total tackles
  • 1 forced fumble
  • 1 fumble recovery
  • 4 interceptions
  • 1 touchdown
  • 9 pass deflections

Edited by Amaar Burton
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