Ranking the top five safeties

Texas' Kenny Vaccaro heads the list of safety prospects in the 2013 NFL draft

Updated: March 25, 2013, 12:08 PM ET
By Herm Edwards | ESPN Insider

As I wrote when I broke down my top cornerbacks in the 2013 draft, the NFL has become a pass-driven league. Not only do teams now need at least three cornerbacks to match up with opposing offenses in their base sets, but the safety position also has evolved.

Gone is the old strong safety who primarily played down in the box as a run defender. Safeties today must be three-down players capable of playing the run and pass while setting the edge. They must be able to match up against opposing slot receivers and tight ends. And they must also be good communicators, as they are the quarterbacks of the secondary.

After the defensive huddle is broken and the defensive call is given, safeties must control audibles, rotations and get everyone on the same page. Tackling as a safety is even more important than at corner -- because safeties are the last line of defense.

There is no Eric Berry or Ed Reed in this safety class -- and it isn't as strong as the cornerback class -- but there are still some good prospects. Here are my top five safeties in the 2013 draft class:


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