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NFL Draft prospects: Ranking safeties heading into the 2023 NFL Combine

We rank the 2023 draft prospects at S ahead of the Combine.

Brian Branch #14 of the Alabama Crimson Tide during the game against the Mississippi Rebels at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on November 12, 2022 in Oxford, Mississippi. Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images

The 2023 NFL Combine will run from Thursday, March 2 to Sunday, March 5. Each day, a new positional group will get a chance to show off in front of NFL scouts, coaches and executives. The secondary will be on display on Friday, March 3 at 3 p.m. ET with the corners and safeties getting the spotlight.

This year’s class of safeties is pretty shallow. There are two distinct tiers up top and then everyone else. Alabama’s Brian Branch and Texas A&M’s Antonio Johnson lead the class. Branch spent three years playing for the Crimson Tide. He had 172 career tackles with four sacks, three interceptions and 23 passes defended in 35 career games. Johnson played in 25 games for the Aggies and had 164 total tackles with two sacks, one interception and seven passes defended.

The second tier consists of Alabama’s Jordan Battle, Georgia’s Christopher Smith, Penn State’s Ji’Ayir Brown and Florida State’s Jammie Robinson. The Crimson Tide will have to replace their starting safeties next year, with Branch and Battle moving on. The latter could increase his stock into the late part of the second round with a good Combine. Smith, Brown and Robinson are likely destined for the middle rounds and should play good depth roles for their respective teams.

The rest of the class needs a good Combine to try and ensure they even get drafted. With where they are, a bad performance could spell them not being selected and having to sign as free agents. Either way, they will have to prove themselves in the preseason to try and make a 53-man roster but are likely to fill out a practice squad for a team.

Safety rankings ahead of the 2023 NFL Combine

Pos Rk Player Pos School Overall Rk
Pos Rk Player Pos School Overall Rk
1 Brian Branch S Alabama 23
2 Antonio Johnson S Texas A&M 25
3 Jordan Battle S Alabama 81
4 Jammie Robinson S Florida State 85
5 Ji'Ayir Brown S Penn State 88
6 Christopher Smith S Georgia 98
7 Jay Ward S LSU 105
8 Sydney Brown S Illinois 113
9 Daniel Scott S California 130
10 Brandon Joseph S Notre Dame 137
11 JL Skinner S Boise State 144
12 DeMarcco Hellams S Alabama 176
13 Trey Dean III S Florida 191
14 Gervarrius Owens S Houston 202
15 Quindell Johnson S Memphis 212
16 Ronnie Hickman S Ohio State 221
17 Kenderick Duncan S Louisville 247
18 Jartavius Martin S Illinois 250
19 Latavious Brini S Arkansas 257
20 Kaevon Merriweather S Iowa 263
21 Tyreque Jones S Boise State 278
22 Chamarri Conner S Virginia Tech 280
23 Lawrence Johnson S Southeast Missouri State 293
24 Julius Brents S Kansas State 300