In a series of articles, looking at the various positions of need, I am looking today at Safety. This isn’t a position we need to address early, because we have two strong starters, but it is a position I would be keen for us to address in the latter rounds or as an UDFA.
In my opinion Tyvon Branch is a top-10 starting strong safety and one that I expect to show significant improvements this season, as at 27 years of age he enters the peak of his career. Backing him up, however, is a bit of an unknown. Brandian Ross seems to be the club’s long-term possibility, and he has shown glimpses, but he also sucked far to often and at 191 lbs he needs to add some weight (i.e. muscle), which I’m sure he’s doing right now. Shelton Johnson also has some promise, but I really feel he needs to sit back on the practise squad to learn this season. I wouldn’t be opposed to another talent being drafted, as long as its not too early or as an UDFA, although if I’m honest free safety is probably a bigger need.
In Charles Woodson we not only have a very capable FS but we also have a leader on the field, a legend for the young players to learn from and a coach on the pitch. Woodson looked great at times last season, but as he tired the standard of his play accordingly dropped. Now in Usama Young we also have a player I really like, and he needs to come into the lineup more often to help woodson remain fresh, but Usama Young isn’t top-tier standard, and a young talent is probably required here. I’m not completely against the idea that a player I’ve talked about many times before Neiko Thorpe ( https://raidalove.wordpress.com/tag/best-fa/) can’t yet be the answer, but if a real talented player falls into the later rounds, like Dion Bailey, Lonnie Ballentine or Tre Boston, then we should certainly pounce….roll on draft day, its going to be exciting (although rather sadly I think I enjoy the UDFA acquisitions after the draft the most).
Lonnie Ballentine – watch the clips, looks really good http://nfldraftscout.com/ratings/dsprofile.php?pyid=68818&draftyear=2014&genpos=FS