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    Atogwe ranked 12th by TSN ... Should he be ranked higher?

    Safety rankings: Reed, Polamalu are pure playmakers

    Posted: May 27, 2009
    The salty veterans still lead this group, but there are some promising young players on the rise. Several have made the list while several others just missed. With the next generation emerging, this list could look a lot different a year from now. RealScouts, Sporting News' team of former NFL scouts, rank their top 20 safeties for '09:

    1. Ed Reed, Ravens. Reed was the only unanimous selection for the 2008 All-Pro team and rightly so. He led the NFL with nine interceptions and returned two for touchdowns, and he tacked on another TD in the playoffs. The system won't change in Baltimore this year, and Reed is on his way to a Hall of Fame career if he can stay healthy.


    2. Troy Polamalu, Steelers. Polamalu was healthy for all 16 games and the postseason for the first time since 2005 and turned in a career-high seven interceptions in 2008. He's a high-energy player who can do it all, from blitzing to tackling to playing in coverage. He can attack from anywhere on the field.

    3. Adrian Wilson, Cardinals. Wilson is not quite as dominant as he was earlier in his career, but he can still excel in most aspects of the game. Wilson is at his best playing close to the line, but he also makes plays on the ball in coverage. He has great size and can deliver big hits with the best of them.

    4. Bob Sanders, Colts. Sanders played in just six games in 2008, and there is a chance he might not be healthy for the start of 2009. He is a game-changing player who has great range and is a punishing tackler, but he has struggled to stay healthy throughout his career.

    5. Chris Hope, Titans. Returning from a spinal injury in 2007, Hope earned Pro Bowl honors last season. He's not a flashy player, but he is extremely productive and consistently plays at a high level. He's willing in run support and shows good range and route recognition in coverage. He has missed just five games over the past six seasons.

    6. Nick Collins, Packers. Collins is a four-year starter who burst onto the scene in 2008 with seven interceptions, including three returned for scores. He has excellent range as a center field-type safety and has the speed to cover a lot of ground and make plays with the ball in his hands. A Pro Bowler last season, he should excel in Green Bay's new zone schemes.

    7. Brian Dawkins, Broncos. Though he still can play at a high level, Dawkins, 35, is closer to the end of his career than he would like to admit. He's a strong tackler who is excellent near the line. But blitzing and coverage aren't his strengths, and we're curious to see how he does in a non-Jim Johnson system.

    8. Michael Griffin, Titans. His seven interceptions were tied for second in the NFL last season, and he earned a Pro Bowl spot as Ed Reed's replacement. He's emerging as one of the best young safeties in the league, with a combination of size, speed and athleticism that makes him excellent in deep coverage.

    9. Donte Whitner, Bills. Pending legal issues aside, Whitner is an instinctive playmaker who can play in traffic or in space. He is a rising young player who has a physical style and is strong in run support.

    10. Kerry Rhodes, Jets. He is a playmaker who can excel in coverage or make an impact near the line as a run defender or blitzer. He figures to benefit from Rex Ryan's aggressive scheme and will likely align all over the field in a Ed Reed type of role. Look for him to return to Pro Bowl form this season.

    11. Ken Hamlin, Cowboys. He has great range and can track down a lot of balls playing center field. He is at his best jumping routes in zone coverage but can also match up with tight ends and wideouts in the slot.

    12. Oshiomogho Atogwe, Rams. A ballhawking safety, Atogwe has intercepted 13 passes and recovered four fumbles over the past two seasons. He also has increased his tackles each year in the league and has 13 forced fumbles over the past three seasons. He's the best player in the Rams' secondary and will get even more opportunities to make plays in Steve Spagnuolo's defense.

    13. Jermaine Phillips, Buccaneers. Injuries have affected Phillips' numbers in recent seasons, but he is a still a physical defender in the run game and has more ball skills than most safeties. He turns 30 this year, and the Bucs are looking to get the younger and rangier Sabby Piscitelli in the lineup, so this could be Phillips' last appearance on the list.

    14. Sean Jones, Eagles. This former Pro Bowler is a ferocious tackler who had 14 interceptions over his last three seasons in Cleveland. Though he is coming off a knee injury, the good news is he can play either safety spot, and if healthy, can deliver 100 tackles and five picks every season.

    15. Quintin Mikell, Eagles. Mikell is coming off the best year of his career. Though he is a physical player who likes contact and is at his best near the line, he has the instincts and speed to play a free safety role. It wouldn't be a surprise to see he and Jones play together, with youngster Quintin Demps playing a backup role for now.

    16. LaRon Landry, Redskins. Landry is another versatile player has the pop to handle run support and the agility and speed to play in deep coverage. He has proved he can close quickly on the ball in the run game. He was slowed by injury last year, but he should become one of the top young safeties in the league this season.

    17. Brandon Meriweather, Patriots. He came on strong late in 2008 as the injury replacement for Rodney Harrison. Meriweather is a tough, hard-working run defender who eventually will excel as a deep safety, where his explosive speed and ball skills will be highlighted.

    18. Darren Sharper, Saints. Sharper's skills have declined sharply as he heads towards 34. The Saints will use more blitz packages under new coordinator Gregg Williams, which means Sharper should have a chance to make plays on the ball as a deep cover player. He will get a chance to show he still has playmaking skills that made him one of the top safeties in the NFL.

    19. Tanard Jackson, Buccaneers. A former cornerback, Jackson has excellent ball skills and the burst and speed to make plays on the ball. He's a willing run defender as well, and though he hasn't excelled in any one area, he is gaining valuable experience as a starter. He's a player to keep an eye on.

    20. Roy Williams, Bengals. We're banking on coordinator Mike Zimmer as much as we are on Williams. The two worked together for many years in Dallas, and Zimmer knows Williams' strengths and weaknesses like the back of his hand. That, combined with Williams' eagerness to prove he can still play at a high level, will make him a player to watch.

    RealScouts analyze NFL and college players, coaches and teams exclusively for Sporting News


  2. #2
    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: Atogwe ranked 12th by TSN ... Should he be ranked higher?

    I'd put him in the 8-10 range, but 12 is close. However, when looking at strictly Free Safeties, I think he's top 3. Here's the top FS last year by Interceptions:

    Ed Reed - 9 ints., 41 tackles, 34 solo, 1 FF, 1 FR
    Nick Collins - 7 ints., 72 tackles, 60 solo, 1 FF, 0 FR
    Michael Griffin - 7 ints., 75 tackles, 55 solo, 1 FF, 1 FR
    OJ Atogwe - 5 ints., 85 tackles, 77 solo, 6 FF, 3 FR
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: Atogwe ranked 12th by TSN ... Should he be ranked higher?

    At the very least that shows that he's a wrap up tackler by himself.

    I would put him ahead of Whitner, Dawkins and Hamlin at least which puts him at 9. I also think that Griffin isn't as good at the moment, but that could be a toss up. Defer to stats which is better in all but INT's for OJ.

    LaRon Landry's also much lower than he should be and how the hell is Roy Williams on this list? He's horrible! Stupid name recognition.

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    Re: Atogwe ranked 12th by TSN ... Should he be ranked higher?

    Yeah I think that is a pretty good spot, considering we are talking both Strong Safeties and Free Safeties.

    Aside- I know great defenses play as a unit, but look at those defenses that have top ten safeties. IMHO the strong safety has evolved into a position that turns a good defenses into a Super Bowl ones. Without someone who can come up and stuff the run and drop back and cover wide receivers, your defense is severely limited.

    Ok what I am really doing here is starting my campaign for Taylor Mays... With the 32nd pick in the '10 Draft of course.

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    Re: Atogwe ranked 12th by TSN ... Should he be ranked higher?

    He is 7th on this list. I believe he has surpassed most in this league

  6. #6
    Mooselini Guest

    Re: Atogwe ranked 12th by TSN ... Should he be ranked higher?

    12 is close enough. I'd put him around 10, but 12 isn't that bad.

    At least he has props. Most reporters would've put him at 39 or something.

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    Re: Atogwe ranked 12th by TSN ... Should he be ranked higher?

    OJ should be ranked higher. Maybe not top 5 but definitely higher. I think he will look like a beast in Spags new D with better supporting cast around him.

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    Re: Atogwe ranked 12th by TSN ... Should he be ranked higher?

    I don't see how they can rank Bob Sanders that high with how often he is injured. I would've put OJ at around 9.

  9. #9
    tdog08 Guest

    Re: Atogwe ranked 12th by TSN ... Should he be ranked higher?

    It's just that he doesn't get love for being on a bottom team................ They probably figure that he got those because of runners getting to the second level which is true

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    Re: Atogwe ranked 12th by TSN ... Should he be ranked higher?

    FS and SS are really different IMO since in most systems SS play alot more in the box and rack up more tackles whereas FS play back and get more chances at interceptions. with that in consideration my top 5 FS would be

    1. Ed Reed
    2. OJ Otogwe
    3. Michael Griffin
    4. Nick Collins
    5. Brian Dawkins

    Ed Reed is a no brainer IMO maybe the best DB in the league along with Nmamdi Asomoguah. When i look at the list statistically besides Ed Reed no FS has had more pass defenses or interceptions the past 3 years. OJ leads in in Forced fumbles and fumble recoveries, but Nick Collins and Ed Reed have more TDs with 4 and 3 a piece. the only knock on OJ is he has played the worst defense, but IMO he would make the same impact on the packers or titans or eagles

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    Re: Atogwe ranked 12th by TSN ... Should he be ranked higher?

    I knew Atogwe was a good tackler. in Madden i use him on defense and they always break my tackle. it makes me sad how bad Madden made the rams

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    Re: Atogwe ranked 12th by TSN ... Should he be ranked higher?

    Truthfully, I would put O.J. at #7, right above Dawkins.
    O.J. is still underrated overall, but he has been getting more attention the past year or so.

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    Re: Atogwe ranked 12th by TSN ... Should he be ranked higher?

    I don't have a problem sound about right to me.
    :ramlogo:

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    Re: Atogwe ranked 12th by TSN ... Should he be ranked higher?

    i think the top ten to say the least would have been good, but another monster season by him & he'll be looking at top 5..

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    Re: Atogwe ranked 12th by TSN ... Should he be ranked higher?

    12th is too low IMO. If you look at the last two years and compare him to the guys ahead of him on the list, he's 2nd in interceptions, 1st in total tackles, tied for 1st in forced fumbles and tied for 5th in passes defended. I used the last two years because I think it gives a good assessment of how all these players are performing now. Atogwe has done this with liitle support from one of the worst defenses in the NFL yet has still managed to become by verifiable stats, one of the most prolific playmakers in the league. That said, I don't think you'll find him anywhere near 12th in future TSN Safety rankings.

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