TDN Staff: Senior Bowl Safety Superlatives

Photo: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2019 Reese's Senior Bowl a few days away, the TDN staff is hard at work studying tape for the upcoming event. As a result, we're able to compile our annual (we did it last year at NDT) Senior Bowl Superlatives pieces on every position group.

Today, we dive into the safety class, with each evaluator offering their take on which safety is their top guy coming into the week, who has the most to prove and who is the sleeper out of the group.

Here's the squad:

Nasir AdderleySDelaware
Juan ThornhillSVirginia
Mike EdwardsSKentucky
Darnell SavageSMaryland
Johnathan AbramSMississippi State
Jaquan JohnsonSMiami
Sheldrick RedwineSMiami
Marquise BlairSUtah
Marvell TellSUSC
Darius WestSKentucky
Khari WillisSMichigan State
Will HarrisSBoston College

Other Senior Bowl Positional Superlatives


Running Backs

Wide Receivers

Tight Ends

Offensive Tackles

Interior Offensive Linemen

Edge Defenders

Interior Defensive Linemen




Top Prospect: Nasir Adderley, Delaware

Adderley isn't just the best safety in the 2019 class, he's also the best prospect in Mobile. His range, athleticism and physicality should manifest itself nicely amidst a strong safety group at the Senior Bowl. Getting to see Adderley against top-tier competition will hopefully reinforce the dominant tape he posted against FCS talent.

Most to Prove: Johnathan Abram, Mississippi State

Abram is big, fast and extremely physical, playing his best football around the box in run support and as a blitzer. The concerns? Abram gets lost in coverage far too often, struggling to find the football vertically and giving up too many big plays. Teams will love his traits, but Abram will need to reduce the concerns about his coverage ability with a strong week in Mobile.

Sleeper: Marquise Blair, Utah

Nobody is talking about Blair, but he's explosive and physical, capable of running the alley and making an impact around the line of scrimmage. That's where Utah often used him, but when he played deep, I saw traits worth getting excited about in coverage. How good are his ball skills when he's tested more down the field? That's something NFL teams will be watching closely.


Top Prospect: Nasir Adderley, Delaware

I’m not saying Adderley is a top-10 player in this class (although that’s not much of a stretch) but I am saying film is among the ten best players I will study for the 2019 NFL Draft. He is outstanding and executes at a high level. His range, ball skills, coverage awareness, processing skills, physicality and tackling ability are all plus traits. Adderley checks a lot of boxes and does so emphatically. He was an absolute joy to study on film and is a first-round safety all day long, assuming he tests where I believe he will. He's my top prospect in Mobile regardless of position.

Most to Prove: Jaquon Johnson, Miami

I have questions about the coverage instincts Johnson illustrates given his experience and his ability to play the ball. And for a physical player, his frame meshes poorly with that style of play. Jim Nagy alluded to some reps at nickel at the Senior Bowl which is interesting to me. He didn’t play much in man coverage in college so hopefully he is more sound mirroring routes than what we’ve seen from him in zone. I know he can play the run and tackle. Johnson is an interesting player and monitoring him at the Senior Bowl will factor heavily into his overall valuation. No doubt he has a role on special teams and sub-packages, but can he be more than that?

Sleeper: Juan Thornhill, Virginia

Get woke, my people - Thornhill is a stud. If you don't know him, it's time for that to change. One of the most prolific defensive backs in the ACC, Thornhill is a versatile defender capable of lining up in single-high, split zones, man coverage or in the box. He naturally plays the football and has outstanding processing skills. I am expecting a big week from Thornhill and his top-50 draft status to be solidified.


Top Prospect: Nasir Adderley, Delaware

Don't let the Delaware helmet fool you: Adderley is a terrific prospect. Not only does he have the physical skills to play at a high level, he's mentally developed and does well to process route combinations. I love Adderley's versatility and the Senior Bowl will be a strong showcase of his versatility and man to man coverage skills.

Most to Prove: Johnathan Abram, Mississippi State

Will Abram be anything more than a box safety or a nickel linebacker? That's hard to say. But this week will be as good of a chance for him to prove that he can be as any. Abram is physical and effective as a tackler to finish in run support. But I'm not overly sold on his coverage on the back end...he'll have to show well to help his status as a prospect.

Sleeper: Juan Thornhill, Virginia

A former corner, I love Thornhill's ability to hunt the football. There are ample big plays in Thornhill's tape, his experience as a cornerback comes in handy when tracking the ball in the air. Thornhill's ceiling on the boundary is somewhat capped by his limitations in turn and run coverage, but as a safety? This is a quality, under the radar prospect.


Top Prospect: Nasir Adderley, Delaware

If you have followed my draft writing since the summer, you know I was very high on Alabama safety Deionte Thompson. But I am here to tell you that Adderley has a legit shot to overtake Thompson as the best safety in this class. Size, speed, versatility; Adderley can do it all.

Most to Prove: Johnathan Abram, Mississippi State

Abram is a physical and fast safety who popped out on tape to me when I was watching Mississippi State last year. The reason he has the most to prove is because, though he is athletic, he can be out of control a bit. If he shows more discipline with his talents, he could be an alluring safety prospect come April.

Sleeper: Sheldrick Redwine, Miami

Jaquon Johnson was the touted safety from Miami going into the season, but Redwine showed a lot of versatility, and he continues to have that as he goes into the Senior Bowl. Redwine played some corner when he first got to Miami, and he'll likely get the chance a play a little cornerback, as well as safety, in Mobile, as there are only six cornerbacks on both rosters. That will give him the chance to stand out.