2023 NFL Draft Big Board: Safeties
Branch is just a good, all-around safety. Last season, he finished in the top 10 in run stops (5th), run-stop rate (10th), forced incompletions (4th), and missed tackle percentage (9th).
Brown was PFF’s highest-rated safety in man coverage last season (89.9). He needs to improve as a tackler, but the tools are there. He was the fourth-fastest safety at the combine, as he ran a 4.47-second 40-yard dash. He also had the second-most bench press reps among safeties (23).
Skinner had a signature game against Wyoming last season. He had two interceptions in the final two minutes, as the Broncos clinched the Mountain West title.
As a draft prospect, he is the whole package. He is 6-foot-4. He is an efficient tackler. He has ball skills.
Skinner will need to add strength, but he is a solid Day 2 pick.
The first-team All-SEC safety is coming off a fantastic year, in which he posted 71 total tackles, three forced fumbles, and one sack.
Johnson is adept at playing in the slot. He needs to become a more consistent tackler, though, and other safeties had bigger combine performances.
In 2022, Battle had the second-best coverage grade among SEC safeties (85.2), trailing only Branch. He also racked up 71 total tackles, while only missing eight tackles.
However, he does not have top-level speed or strength, which hampers his draft stock.
Honorable mentions: Jammie Robinson, Ronnie Hickman, Brandon Joseph