Top safety prospects for 2015

Michigan St., Nebraska, Alabama among those with potential NFLers

Updated: June 12, 2014, 12:32 PM ET
By Mel Kiper Jr. | ESPN Insider

Landon CollinsJackson Laizure/Getty ImagesLandon Collins is a big-time playmaker in the Alabama secondary.

Soon after the 2014 NFL draft concluded, I released my too-early Big Board for the 2015 NFL draft, a ranking that includes players who will be underclassmen during the 2014 college football season. It goes without saying that these rankings are preliminary, as I have hundreds of hours of evaluation ahead on the 2015 class.

A couple of notes about the rankings below:

• This isn't a straight "top 10" list, because I've split these between seniors and underclassmen. I think it's important to rank seniors alone, as those are the only players I can guarantee will be a part of the 2015 NFL draft process.

• In some instances, I've included more than 10 players; if two or three guys are extremely close on my board, I simply tacked on those names.

With those parameters in mind, here's an early look at this year's top safeties.

Top five senior safeties

1. Derron Smith, Fresno State Bulldogs: No player in college football will enter the 2014 season with more career INTs than Smith, a safety who is better in coverage than he is near the line of scrimmage. The Bulldogs often featured a single high look that had him responsible for a lot of space down the field.

2. Kurtis Drummond, Michigan State Spartans: A key cog in the "No Fly Zone" secondary, Drummond has great instincts, reads the quarterback's eyes effectively, and consistently jumps underneath throws. He has very good ball skills, and he is an excellent playmaker in the backfield, where he takes great angles to the ball and is a willing tackler.

Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst