2021 NFL Draft Preview – S

Elite Prospects

Trevon Moehrig – TCU, JR

Moehrig has been one of the best defensive backs in college football over the last 2 seasons and ranks as our top Safety in the 2021 class. The 6’2″ Junior weighs in around 200 lbs and plays a versatile role for the Horned Frogs. He has lined up all over the field, but played the majority of his snaps in the box and as a slot corner. TCU was not afraid to drop Moehrig deep as the center fielder of the defense as he was rated as on of the best cover safeties in the Big 12. He hasn’t been the run stopper he has the potential to be, but still led the TCU DBs in tackles. He benefitted from being a member of a strong secondary in 2019, but has proven himself as one of the best prospects in the draft by finishing a strong 2020 campaign.

Paris Ford – Pittsburgh, JR

The spark plug safety flies around the field like a torpedo. He is not the biggest prospect at just 190 lbs, but plays as if he were 225. He lives a bit recklessly, but makes the big plays that ignite the entire defense. He was just one of the several future NFL players on the Pitt defense, but made a name for himself by leading the secondary in all aspects. In 2019, Ford led the team in tackles (97) and interceptions (3), and was second on the team in pass deflections (11). His tape against current Bills WR Gabe Davis is extremely impressive considering that Davis has been one of the most productive rookie receivers. Ford will likely spend most of his time outside the box in the NFL, which will likely limit his versatility.

Jevon Holland – Oregon, JR

The Oregon Duck opted out of the 2020 season, but had enough production through his two years as a starter to still rank among the top prospects. He has the potential to play safety or slot corner, but a lot of that will depend on his performance at the combine. If he is deemed as a prospect who has the versatility to play both his potential will be through the roof, but his biggest concern right now is his speed. There are not many players drafted early to play a slot corner role who run slower than a 4.5, which is more than likely for Holland.

Niche Defenders

Elijah Molden – Washington, SR

Molden grades as one of the best analytically rated players in college football and finished as the 3rd and 2nd best rated safety in the country in the last two seasons. He spent most of his time in the slot and ranks as our top rated slot corner in the draft. He has was terrific in coverage, but also was an elite run stopper despite his smaller frame. Molden may not be a first round pick but he will immediately find himself as a day one starter in the NFL.

Jabril Cox – LSU, SR

If you are looking for a run stopping safety/linebacker hybrid, then Jabril Cox might be your guy. Cox is an interesting prospect who spent his first four seasons as a key member of the North Dakota State Bison. He started 38 games at LB for them and was twice named First Team All-American and won 3 FCS Championships. In his senior season with the Tigers he recorded 58 tackles and 3 interceptions as he emerged as a leader of the defense. Cox hasn’t been the most productive run stuffer, which is why we project him as a strong safety candidate. He was the 2nd rated SEC LB in pass coverage, which gives me confidence in his versatility and ability to play the hybrid position.

Defensive Projects

Richard LeCounte III – UGA, SR

LeCountee had an up and down senior season as he struggled to stay on the field. Following a win in late October against Kentucky, LeCountee was involved in a motor accident involving his dirt bike, which led to a neck injury. The scary incident was luckily not as serious as first believed, but he was forced to miss the remained of the season. LeCounte was a clutch free safety in his time with the Bulldogs, but now will face an uphill battle to prove that he is the same player he was before the accident.

Hamsah Nasirildeen – Florida State, SR

Nasirildeen is another player who missed most of the 2020 season, but was fortunate enough to have the tape that allowed for him to remain an elite prospect. He tore his ACL late in 2019, but was able to make it back in Mid-November. He is an extremely talented athlete who was dominant in pass coverage as well as a run stopper. At 6’4″ 220 lbs he is one of the bigger safety prospects, but glides on the field like a wide receiver. He finished the last two seasons with 101 and 91 tackles respectively, which legitimizes his abilities to fit in as an outside linebacker as well. Nasirildeen falls into the category of being a jack of all trades, but master of none.

Other Names to Consider

Bralen Trahan – Louisiana, JR

Trahan was a key member of the 19th ranked Ragin’ Cajuns defense. He was the quarterback of the defense and lined up evenly in the box as he did deep. He was PFF’s 2nd most productive defensive back in pass coverage during the 2020 season, which should keep his name buzzing in the offseason.

Tre Sterling – Oklahoma State, JR

The versatile safety lined up all over the field in 2020 and was one of the most productive coverage safeties in the country. Sterling ranked as a mid round prospect, but elected to return in 2021 and should be one of the top safeties in the class.

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