Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFL Draft Preview: Safeties

A look at this year's safety class.

A gallery of the top 25 safety prospects for the 2015 NFL draft, as ranked by CBSSports.com

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Leading the pack: NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah has just one safety ranked among his top 50 prospects – Alabama's Landon Collins. Jeremiah's colleague at NFL.com, Chase Goodbread, wrote, "The undisputed best safety in the draft is known more for his hitting than his coverage, which makes Collins an easy choice for the top spot. At 6-foot and 228 pounds, he's just a couple inches and a few pounds short of being a linebacker. He attacks rushers and receivers with a linebacker's ferocity." Collins recorded 103 tackles in 2014 and defended seven passes. Most mock drafts have him getting picked up somewhere between No. 20 and No. 23 overall.

The second tier: Washington's Shaq Thompson is somewhat of a project. He played linebacker for the past two seasons but was a defensive back in 2012. At 219 pounds, NFL teams will probably want him playing in the secondary. Despite the questions surrounding him, Mike Mayock has Thompson listed at the No. 2 safety in the draft and NFL.com projects him to be a second-round pick.

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Mid-round picks:** Mayock's No. 3 safety, Damarious Randall of Arizona State, might still be around in the third or fourth round. "Randall is considered undersized for the safety position and some teams have him projected as a cornerback," NFL.com wrote in their scouting report. "Randall has a nose for the ball and a strong desire to make an aggressive tackle in space, so there could still be teams that give him a legitimate shot at safety, where he carries a higher draft grade (than corner)." Also keep an eye on Miami of Ohio's Quinten Rollins and Stanford's Alex Carter.

Sleepers: Eastern Washington's Tevin McDonald is on the smaller side. But, as NFL.com wrote, "The instincts, confidence and competitiveness are all there." He had 135 tackles and four interceptions at UCLA before transferring to Eastern Washington and could be picked up in the seventh round or as an undrafted free agent.  Also keep an eye on Alabama's Nick Perry, Auburn's Auburn's Jermaine Whitehead and TCU's Sam Carter.

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