Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition

Draft analysis


Staff writer Omar Kelly looks at safety position.

Miami Dolphins beat writer Omar Kelly breaks down the 2016 NFL draft one position at a time in a 10-part series.

1. Florida State’s Jalen Ramsey: The toughest evaluation involving Ramsey is deciding what position he plays in the NFL. He’s a rare athlete who has the speed to play cornerback and the size (6 feet 1 inch, 209 pounds) and physicalit­y to be a safety. He is consistent­ly around the ball.

2. West Virginia’s Karl Joseph: Even though Joseph lacks ideal size (5-9, 205) he’s a physical, violent strong safety in the mold of Bob Sanders. He’s tough and competitiv­e. The biggest issue with Joseph is that he might have durability concerns.

3. Boise State’s Darian Thompson: Thompson might not be very fast (4.66 in the 40-yard dash), but his instincts are impeccable (19 career intercepti­ons), and he often delivered bone-jarring hits in college.

4. Ohio State’s Vonn Bell: Bell is talented in coverage, with good range for a free safety. But at 5-10, 200 pounds, he doesn’t play big and has room for improvemen­t against the run. He’s best suited to play in a zone.

5. Florida’s Keanu Neal: Neal is a strong tackler who delivers a blow on just about every hit. However, there’s some stiffness in his body, and he lacks the recovery speed needed to defend a receiver one-on-one.


The NFL is in desperate need of quality safeties, but this draft class features very few free safeties who have the range to cover center field. Most of the options in this class are strong safeties who would work better in the box. But this class does feature a few late-round gems — like Hurricanes standout Deon Bush, LSU’s Jalen Mills, Clemson’s T.J. Green and Southern Utah’s Miles Killebrew — who could become starters in a year or two. Grade: C--


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Ohio State’s Tyvis Powell: Powell has size, intelligen­ce, athleticis­m and a winning pedigree. But he misses a ton of tackles and is a bit slow to pull the trigger at times. Based on his measurable­s, he should be taken in the third round, but his marginal film will likely make him an early third-day selection.


Safety play was a major issue last season for the Dolphins, considerin­g the number of big plays the defense allowed. Reshad Jones is a ball hawk whose risky style creates turnovers, but his gambler mentality also leads to defensive breakdowns. The Dolphins need a free safety who can cover up for when Jones breaks assignment. Isa Abdul-Quddus was signed this offseason to be that center fielder, but he’s started just 16 games in his five-year NFL career. Depth at this position is an issue, so Miami could use some reinforcem­ents.

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