In these reviews, I will be going over how each position group did individually then compare them against the rest of the NFC North teams to see how the upcoming season might go for the group. This time I’ll be covering the safeties in the NFC North.
Overall the Bears safeties had a decent enough year, nothing to set the world alight but at the same time, you can’t fault them too much. On paper, it may look like they are convincingly the worst group in the NFC North as they come last in virtually every stat, but the reality of it is that they were actually pretty solid. Bleacher Report actually ranks Adrian Amos as the top free safety in the league (I don’t agree), whereas Eddie Jackson gets an average rating from PFF. They are a young duo at 23 and 25 so in the upcoming year, you should expect to see them improve and become more dominant.
It’s hard to not look at the Lions safeties through rose tinted glasses as Glover Quin is one of my favorite players but I’ll do my best to be impartial with my thoughts. On paper, the Lions group were (just) the most productive, equalling the Packers for the title of most total tackles while getting two more interceptions than them. However, this number includes Quandre Diggs as he had to fill in at the position when Tavon Wilson went down injured against the Vikings on Thanksgiving. Without a doubt, Quin is an elite safety in the league, but the question is who will be lining up opposite him in the 2018 season. Personally, with the production he had, I’d pick Diggs but with the new addition of Tracy Walker in the 3rd round of the draft and Matt Patricia running a wide variety of defensive set-ups who knows who the team will go with.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was the only mainstay for the Packers last year at the position with Josh Jones and Morgan Burnett rotating at the other safety spot. As ever he had a solid year getting a good number of tackles and interceptions and whoever lined up beside him, be that Burnett or Jones, did a good job. With Burnett leaving for the Steelers it’s up to Jones to step up next season. After a solid rookie campaign and coming into his second season with what you would think will be an improved CB group for the Packers you would think his production and the production of the unit as a whole will only increase.
|HA HA CLINTON-DIX||16||16||65||14||79||0||3||5||3||0||9||0||0||0|
This is where things get interesting. Harrison Smith is arguably the best safety in the NFL and along with Andrew Sendejo, who has become a very solid starting safety, they make quite a formidable duo. There have to be some reasons that the Vikings made it as far as they did last year, the safety group is certainly one of those. They get heavily involved in games and make plays all over the field. With the Vikings pass rush being the best in the North that will inevitably give the secondary less chance to make plays when the quarterback they are facing is sacked or pressured most plays which is why the stats don’t favor them.
Packers – 4th
This isn’t saying that the Packers will be bad next season as each unit is strong, however with Clinton-Dix coming off his worst season yet and Josh Jones still lacking experience I see them being the weakest unit in the NFC North.
Bears – 3rd
This was a toss-up between the Lions and the Bears for 2nd and 3rd place. I have to give the advantage to the Lions as they have more depth and they have Matt Patricia who is known for making players outperform expectations. The Bears safeties could be in for a great season with them only gaining experience from what were two very solid seasons last year. I think they will both see an upturn in performance and be one of the shining lights on the Bears defense.
Lions – 2nd
I’d love to put the Lions first but they simply aren’t there yet. Quin has been a calming presence for the Lions in years past with his playmaking ability and knack of being in the right place at the right time. With Quandre Diggs performing phenomenally at safety when he was asked to play there the Lions may have found a great partnership for the upcoming season. As well as these two Miles Killebrew and Tracy Walker as depth or potential starting options give the Lions good versatility at the position.
Vikings – 1st
The two starters for the Vikings are both very good options at safety in the NFL. Harrison would be a starter on virtually every team without a second thought. Sendejo, although not spoken about a lot, would also be in the conversation for a starter in most teams. Together they are a formidable partnership who dominate at their respective positions. If either of them goes down with injury they will drop to 3rd on the list as their depth at the position is minimal but healthy they are clearly number one.