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Safety market will offer variety for teams in need of a specific fit

  • By Pat Kirwan
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Teams look at safeties in a few ways. Is the player a true deep-middle free safety? Is he a "box" player capable of being strong in run support? Or, is he best in a Cover-2 scheme?

Ranking safeties will be different for every team based on scheme. The safeties will not demand the money that the corners will make, but there is a need around the league for safeties with matchup skills to defend all the personnel groups and formation issues.

1. Eric Weddle

The 26-year-old safety has an all-around game. He will generate close to 100 tackles a season and has coverage skills. In 2010, Weddle had two interceptions and 10 passes defended. A number of teams will be coming after him when free agency starts.

Kirby Lee/US Presswire

2. Dawan Landry

If you are looking for a physical safety, Landry is on your list. He has had medical issues, but hasn't missed a start in two years. To be a full-time starter from Day 1 for the Ravens is a strong statement about his toughness.

Denny Medley/US Presswire

3. Michael Huff

Huff had a slow start to his career after being a high first-round pick, but came into his own last season. He has deep-middle coverage skills. In 2010, he also generated four sacks and forced three fumbles, which might indicate he's more than a free safety in coverage.

Mark J. Rebilas/US Presswire

4. Dashon Goldson

Goldson can blitz as well as cover. The 49ers know his value and will try to re-sign him, but there will be competition. While he had better numbers in 2009 than he did last season, he's a solid player capable of delivering 50 tackles, two or three interceptions and a sack or two wherever he lands.

David Gonzales/Associated Press

5. (Tie) Quinton Mikell and Melvin Bullitt

Mikell was an undrafted safety that made the Eagles and has been a starter for four years. He's probably not in the Eagles' plans going forward, so a team looking for a box safety at a good price will look his way. Bullitt was a backup until Bob Sanders went down to injury. Bullitt has an injury history of his own, but is a fine box player.

US Presswire/Associated Press



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