NASHVILLE, Tenn. – One of the biggest pre-draft discussions has centered around who the third quarterback taken will be behind Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota. A similar debate has draft analysts debating which safety will be selected after Alabama's Landon Collins.
Collins will likely be the only safety taken in the first round and could crack the top 10. He led Alabama's defense with 103 tackles in 2014, intercepting three passes and recovering two fumbles. If he goes in the first round, Collins will be the Crimson Tide's third safety to accomplish the feat in the last four years. In 2012, the Bucs took Mark Barron seventh overall, and in 2014 the Packers made Ha Ha Clinton-Dix the 21st overall selection.
But who will go after Collins? Titans Online gathered opinions from various national draft analysts at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Bucky Brooks, NFL.com:"It's not set yet and there's going to be some talk of Washington LB Shaq Thompsonplaying safety because of his size, speed and because that's what he played in high school. However, Thompson said at the combine that he wants to play linebacker at the NFL level. You have Gerod Holliman from Louisville. His ball skills are super impressive, but he hasn't been a great tackler or a very physical guy. He's a wild card. I think he could be the second safety."
Matt Miller, Bleacher Report.com:"My guy is Gerod Holliman from Louisville. His 14 interceptions in 2014 speak for themselves. He needs to show that he can be aggressive and be a tackler. That's the biggest knock on him. Chris Hackettout of TCU is another guy that I really like. Deron Smithfrom Fresno State is another. There's a big gap between Collins and the next safety, but I think Holliman is the next guy up."
Rob Rang, CBS Sports: "To me it's betweenCody Prewittfrom Ole Miss andChris Hackett** from TCU. Prewitt is a good, solid football player, but there's nothing about him that's dynamic. Hackett is a guy who is lying in the weeds right now so to speak, but he's going to surprise some people. That's the thing, it isn't a great safety class, but those are the two players that I like best.
Bryan Fischer, NFL.com: "I couldn't even tell you at this point. It depends what teams are looking for. Are they looking or an in-the-box guy or a rover in coverage? It comes down to needs in terms of whose going to be that second safety. I wouldn't be surprised if there wasn't a safety taken after Collins until the third round. There's that steep of a drop off."
Dane Brugler, CBS Sports:"He probably won't be the second safety, but Damarious Randall out of Arizona State is in that mix. He should be a top-five safety in this class. He's fast and he's aggressive. He plays fast no matter if he's playing in run support or in coverage. That's something you love to see. Even though he's smaller, he loves to hit. He's always trying to rip the ball out and make something happen. He has versatility and can play some nickel corner if you need. He can play safety. He should move up some draft boards, even though he's not the biggest safety scouts are looking for."