Rush Nation, Mase is back with an early look at the best 2022 NFL Draft safeties. These a key names to look for in the 2021 college football season. Next April, they could find themselves on you favourite NFL roster. If you missed his work on 2022 NFL Draft QBs, check it out here.
Jordan Battle, Alabama (Junior, 6’-1”, 209lbs)
Career Stats in 24 games:
Solo (assisted) tackles: 59 (37)
Total tackles: 96
For loss: 5
Jordan Battle contributed to special teams after committing to Alabama as a 4-star recruit out of Florida. He worked his way into the rotation, playing in all of the Crimson Tide’s contests, starting in 4 games. He had earned a starting position on defence as his sophomore season began. By the end of the season, Battle was third in team tackles (63).
Battle is a quick-reacting player in the secondary who displays playmaking ability by jumping routes at the perfect time. He has sure hands and is speedy at recognising the play as it unfolds. He can play in zone or body the bigger man in space, and thoroughly loves playing football. The only blemish on his CV is that he was ejected from the National Championship game for targeting an opposing player with the crown of his helmet.
Jordan Battle is a swift, hard-hitting safety with a brilliant and growing football IQ. I am swelling with excitement to see what this young man can accomplish in the coming season. I anticipate big things are ahead for him.
Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame (Junior, 6’-4”, 210 lbs)
Career Stats in 24 games:
Solo (assisted) tackles: 78 (26)
Total tackles: 104
For loss: 5.5
Kyle Hamilton sticks out when you watch Notre Dame play. He is the tallest man in the Fighting Irish secondary. Hamilton does it all, and makes quarterbacks look silly with his fast feet and hands. He’s big enough to cover the Tight End in the red zone, and recognises the play breaks on the ball as well as anyone in this 2022 NFL Draft Safety class.
Though he efficiently breaks down and wraps when he tackles, he is inconsistent in doing so and often over pursues the ball carrier, taking himself out of the play. Hamilton is occasionally sent on a blitz and usually finds the open gap. I wouldn’t expect Hamilton to knock anyone’s head off, but he is pretty aggressive and equally efficient in deep coverage.
He finished the season with four interceptions after playing in every game as a freshman. His first ever snap on defence in Notre Dame stadium was one he won’t ever forget. He intercepted the pass and took the ball back to the house for 34 yards against New Mexico. As a sophomore, Kyle was on the FWAA All-American First Team and All-ACC First team. He has only missed one game in his collegiate career. He is a key Safety prospect entering the 2022 NFL Draft.
Smoke Monday, Auburn (Senior, 6’-3”, 199lbs)
Career Stats in 31 games:
Solo (assisted) tackles: 61 (47)
Total tackles: 108
For loss: 8
Smoke is no joke! He possesses the ability to “lay the lumber” on any opponent who carries the ball. Monday left high school as an honor roll student and committed to Auburn. His freshman season at Auburn consisted of some action on special teams, and he played in the rotation. His situation was more of the same as a sophomore, until he earned a starting position in his junior season. He had also gained 10 pounds in the offseason prior to winning a starting role. Monday is a fast and physical safety, performing best in the box. He also shows an ability to put himself in a stable position to make a play by intercepting the ball.
Smoke Monday finished the 2020 season on the 2nd All-ACC team, and had a career-best in tackles (12) against Ole Miss. What I love most about Monday is that he is constantly on the field any chance he can be. It seems as though he is an edge rusher on field goal defence and key blocker on kick returns. Although he does play special teams, he reads the field like a hawk in the secondary and can make a game-defining play if you try to go over the top of him. He is a seasoned player, which should help the game slow down for him this season. Keep an eye out for him in the 2022 NFL Draft.
There you have it, Rush Nation. Three players at the safety to keep a keen eye on in the run up to the 2022 NFL Draft. Follow all over Mase’s work @caliking49er17 on Twitter.