The NFL Draft ahead won't be big on safeties, with only one prospect, TCU's Trevon Moehrig, having the look of a first-rounder. The Jets wouldn't seem to need a deep-middle man top, with Marcus Maye returning alongside second-year player Ashtyn Davis and with veteran Lamarcus Joyner joining the S-room.
But possible injuries this year and the inevitable roster changes next offseason might entice GM Joe Douglas and his draft team to look hard at this position, not to mention cornerback, later in this draft. Here are a handful of safety candidates for the April 29-May 1 draft in Cleveland:
Top of the Class
Trevon Moehrig (6-2, 202), TCU
Moehrig is the cream of this draft's safety crop and is likely to be taken in the bottom half of Round 1 after three awards-filled seasons for the Horned Frogs. As a freshman he was named TCU's Special Teams MVP. Then in his soph and junior seasons he combined for 7 interceptions and 28 pass defenses. In 2020 he won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation's top defensive back and was named to seven All-America first or second teams. He also was named All-Big 12 by both the conference's coaches and by Associated Press both seasons. Further, he was named a team captain in every game last year. Quite a résumé to date.
Best of the Rest
Jevon Holland (6-1, 196), Oregon
Holland presents a sometimes wildly inconsistent package. He's athletic with solid ball skills — he had 9 interceptions and 19 pass defenses in 2018-19 combined, before opting out of the Ducks' 2020 season. He covers short routes well with a good change of direction, but with suspect long speed he gave up too many deep balls. He's a willing tackler but needs technique work. In 2019 he also did some very productive punt returning with a 15.3-yard average on 16 returns. His dad, Robert Holland, enjoyed a long CFL career. He looks to be a Day 2 candidate.
Andre Cisco (6-0, 203), Syracuse
The draft-ese phrase to describe Cisco's pro potential is "boom or bust." The Queens, NY-born, Valley Stream, NY-bred product boomed at Syracuse as a true freshman (7 INTs — tied for most in FBS — and receiving All-America recognition), then added 5 INTs and earned All-ACC second-team honors in 2019. The bust part, according to nfl.com analyst Lance Zierlein, comes from Cisco's "frenzied, downhill run support," impatience and route recognition. Plus an ACL injury limited him to two games for the Orange last season.
Richie Grant (6-0, 194), Central Florida
The redshirt senior Floridian capped a full four-year career. In 2018 he tied for third in the FBS with 6 INTs. and led the Knights with 109 tackles. He tacked in another pick in 2019 and 3 more last year for 10 in his last three seasons combined. He was a semifinalist for both the Thorpe and Bednarik awards last year and a three-time All-AAC first-teamer. He's a willing tackler but plays with just average 40 and football speed.
Day 3 Diamond
Caden Sterns (6-0, 210), Texas
Injuries decreased Sterns' visibility the past two seasons but when he played he stood tall. In his three Longhorns campaigns he played 29 games and started 28 with 5 interceptions. In 2018 he earned All-Big 12 first-team honors and was named the conference's Defensive Freshman of the Year. As a sophomore and junior he was on the Jim Thorpe (top DB) and Bronko Nagurski (top defensive player) preseason watch lists after being named a Thorpe semifinalist in 2018. Last year he was a team captain. If he slips into Round 4, he could be a diamond in the rough worth polishing.