NFL Scouting Combine Preview: Safeties

Posted Feb 17, 2013 lead writer Tim Twentyman takes a look at safety prospects slated to work out at the NFL Scouting Combine

Four days and counting to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis as continues to look at players in positions of need for the Detroit Lions.

"Sometimes it's confirmation of what you already know," Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said of the combine. "Sometimes a guy can benefit himself. Sometimes a guy can hurt himself in that process. The combine will be for interviews and getting to know some of these guys. It's an important part of the process for us."

We've already taken a look at just a few of the top talent at defensive end and cornerback and today we'll look at the safety class.

The Lions are on the lookout for a cover safety, who can effectively take away the deeper portions of the field. Detroit gave up 13 passing plays of 40-plus yards last season, the second-most in the NFL behind the New Orleans Saints (14).

Veteran free agent George Wilson was brought in for a visit last week and the team will also try to bring back free agents Louis Delmas and Amari Spievey.

But adding safety talent via the draft has to be an attractive option and there will be a few good ones displaying their talents this week.

Kenny Vaccaro, 6-1, 215, Texas

Best trait: Versatility

Concerns: Zone concepts

The skinny: He's got terrific cover skills for a player with his build. He was used as a nickel back some in Texas' defense. He has a nice blend of speed, quickness and toughness. He's probably the top safety in the class and a probable top 15 pick.

Jonathan CyprienJohn Cyprien, 6-0, 210, Florida International

Best trait: Being in the box

Concerns: Range

The skinny: He went to the same high school as current Detroit Lions safety Louis Delmas and has a very similar game. He was impressive at the Senior Bowl and showed better cover skills than he credit for. He's a smart player.

Eric Reid, 6-2, 208, LSU

Best trait: Athleticism

Concerns: Can be too aggressive at times

The skinny: He's a safety without a lot of holes in his game. He was equally good against the pass (nine passes defended) and the run (91 total tackles) in 2012.

Matt Elam, 5-10, 206, Florida

Best trait: Playmaker

Concerns: Will miss tackles

The skinny: Terrific playmaker in the box and a highlight hitter. Also shows good cover skills and should have little trouble covering backs and tight ends in the NFL.

Shawn Williams, 6-0, 220, Georgia

Best trait: Instincts

Concerns: Tackling

The skinny: He had four interceptions and defended 10 passes as a junior in 2011, which shows his cover skills. He's not afraid to come in run support.

David Amerson, 6-3, 194, N.C. State

Best trait: Ball skills

Concerns: Agility

The skinny: I included Amerson in my cornerback listing and he's going to the combine as a cornerback, but he could wind up a safety at the next level. If it's a cover safety the Lions want, who better than a converted cornerback? Amerson had 13 interceptions in 2011, which tied for second-most in NCAA history.