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NFL Draft

Trevon Moehrig Highlights Top Safeties In 2021 NFL Draft Class

  • The Draft Network
  • March 5, 2021
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Each year an NFL draft class will be stronger in some position groups and weaker in others. This was highlighted in the 2014 wide receiver class, which had five receivers taken in the first round but just three quarterbacks taken in the first; it was a very weak group overall. Another example was seen in the 2020 draft class, which had six offensive tackles drafted in the first round but was low on pass rushers with just two. The 2021 class is strong in quite a few positions. However, it is still lacking in others. 

This year’s class has its marquee quarterbacks; four passers could easily go off the board in the top 10 with a fifth quarterback potentially selected shortly after. This year’s quarterbacks, led by Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, are widely expected to be one of the best QB class to enter the NFL in quite some time. The receiver class is especially strong this year also; perhaps not quite as deep as the 2020 class, but this group of wideouts is immensely talented at the top. Last year, the first receiver taken was at No. 12, while this year we could easily see a receiver go in the top five. The offensive tackle class is, again, outstanding and could rival the 2020 class for the number of players taken in the first round. 

A position that has gotten overlooked is one of the deepest and most talented position groups. Safety has flown under the radar during the evaluation process, and that’s very likely due to the lack of elite top-10 talent in recent years. There are no players of Jamal Adams’, Minkah Fitzpatrick’s, or Derwin James’ caliber in this year’s class, but it is still filled with players who will enter the league and be high-level safeties on Day 1. 

There is a possibility that no safeties will be drafted in the first round of the 2021 draft; although based on the film I have watched, there should be. TCU’s Trevon Moehrig is extremely impressive. He can be a Pro Bowl-level safety due to his ability in pass coverage. Moehrig has very good size for the position and is an excellent athlete. He is a versatile defender who has the ability to align as the single-high free safety, two-deep defender, or even play in the slot. Moehrig is an easy mover who can change direction and get good depth. He has very good short-area burst and can close downhill with a quick trigger. Playing as a center fielder, he has excellent speed and range to make the play from redline to redline. Moehrig has the length and size to match up one-on-one with tight ends and has the cover quickness to mirror quicker receivers. Moehrig is an extremely smart and savvy football player who has an outstanding ability to read route combinations and will often arrive at the spot before the receiver. He has very good ball skills and is always around the football. 

Moehrig is a sound open-field tackler who takes good angles to the football. He may not have the elite physical tools of Adams or James, but this is a player who can be the leader of the defense from the back end and a match-up asset due to his ability as a man-coverage defender. Admittedly, NFL teams may not value Moehrig as much as I do; he isn’t super dynamic in the box, but his talents call for a first-round selection. 

The players behind Moehrig are also excellent. There are a number of players who won’t hear their name in the first round but will definitely be drafted early in the second; as many as six safeties could be selected in the second round and make immediate impacts at the next level. Below are my top safeties, behind Moehrig, in this class; the order might change after Pro Day numbers are released. 

2. Jevon Holland, Oregon

Jevon Holland is a player that we would be hearing a lot more about, but he opted out of the 2020 season. Holland has the best instincts and ball skills in this class; he is also a ball magnet. Primarily lining up in the slot, Holland has shown excellent ability in both zone and man coverage and can be matched up on receivers, tight ends, or running backs. He may not be the fastest player, but his instincts allow him to get to the spot quickly; he is excellent at using his hands to break up passes. Holland plays with outstanding confidence and is a leader on the field. He has above average size but is a smooth fluid athlete who can transition with ease. Holland has the versatility to play nickel and will be an excellent punt returner as well.

3. Richie Grant, UCF

Richie Grant had an outstanding season for UCF and carried his success to Mobile, Alabama, where he had a terrific week at the Senior Bowl. Grant has very good size and athleticism and is an explosive safety who can close in a hurry. He traditionally aligns as a deep, single-high safety but has lined up as a split defender and in the box. Grant has good size and length to match up with tight ends and has good change of direction to mirror breaks. Grant, who is an active player in the running game, has a quick trigger to come downhill, but he does miss tackles due to poor angles at times. 

4. Hamsah Nasirildeen, Florida State

Hamsah Nasirildeen was one of my favorite players from the summer’s film study. He has outstanding size, length, and movement skills. Nasirildeen is a versatile defender who can fill multiple roles for a defense. He has outstanding range in pursuit in the running game and is a strong tackler. Nasirildeen has good instincts; he also reads the run well and closes downhill quickly. He can easily match up with tight ends or running backs and has a rare change of direction for a player his size. There are some injury concerns that will follow Nasirildeen. He tore his ACL late in the 2019 season and only played two games in 2020 due to the lingering rehab process. He also doesn’t have the best ball skills and may be a liability covering the deep third as a single-high safety. I believe he is best used near the line of scrimmage where he can move around and make plays due to his athletic ability and length. This is a very high upside player. 

5. Andre Cisco, Syracuse

Andre Cisco is a ballhawk in the backend with outstanding range and ball skills. He has good size and is an above-average athlete with good straight-line speed. Cisco primarily aligns as a deep, single-high safety and that’s exactly where he will be the most successful at the next level. He is able to play sideline to sideline, and the ball just seems to find him. In his freshman and sophomore seasons at Syracuse, Cisco had a mind-boggling 13 interceptions; that is rare ball production and something NFL teams covet. There are some issues with Cisco: He believes in his eyes a bit too much and takes chances, which will lead to a good number of big plays. He is also coming off an ACL injury he suffered early in the 2020 season. 

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