NFL Network analysts Mike Mayock and Charles Davis are at the Senior Bowl, where they believe several safeties improved their draft status with a strong week of practice in front of team scouting executives.
Mayock said the 2013 NFL Draft features “a great safety class,” and feels Georgia Southern’s J.J. Wilcox closed the gap on Kenny Vaccaro, the top projected safety out of Texas who chose not to attend the Senior Bowl.
Mayock said the 5-11, 214-pound Wilcox has “corner feet with safety size” and can be an immediate starter in the NFL, with the ability to help on special teams. The draft analyst was also impressed with Florida International’s Jonathan Cyprien, a player he said “made money this week.”
Davis, meanwhile, said Phillip Thomas, the first unanimous All-American in the history of Fresno State football, showed versatility at the position. Davis said the safety will compete for the football, is not afraid to challenge in 1-on-1 coverage and will come inside the box and make the tackle.
While Thomas, Wilcox and Cyprien represent only a small sampling of talent available at safety, Mayock and Davis feel all three players made big strides this week at the Senior Bowl.
NFL Network noted that several defensive standouts in recent Senior Bowls have been drafted in the first round. That list includes:
Broncos LB Von Miller (2nd overall pick, 2011)
Redskins LB Ryan Kerrigan (16th overall pick, 2011)
Falcons LB Sean Weatherspoon (19th overall pick, 2010)
Packers DT B.J. Ragji (9th overall pick, 2009)
Texans LB Brian Cushing (15th overall pick, 2009)
49ers LB Patrick Willis (11th overall pick, 2007)
Bengals CB Leon Hall (18th overall pick, 2007)
Chiefs LB Tamba Hali (20th overall pick, 2006)
Cowboys LB DeMarcus Ware (11th overall pick, 2005)
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