Mike Clay: Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets have best safeties, Titans barely in top-10
By Will Lomas
Mike Clay is not high on the Tennessee Titans safeties for some reason.
The Tennessee Titans have the NFL’s best safety in Kevin Byard and Kenny Vaccaro is also playing at a very high level…unless you ask ESPN’s Mike Clay.
I should say that I always enjoy Mike Clay’s work and I think that his efforts to quantify position groups to judge a team’s talent in segments, is always really interesting. People like PFF do individual grades, but Clay is one of the few that break it down by position group like this.
Having said that, it is baffling to me that the New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings rank best among NFL safety pairs but the Tennessee Titans don’t rank in the top-3.
Or the top-5.
Clay has Tennessee’s safeties ranked 8th. There are other interesting takeaways from this, but I can’t help by focus in on how wrong that feels.
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First of all, we all know that Kevin Byard is the best safety in the NFL right? All you have to do is look at his consistent excellence along with his versatility to see that it really shouldn’t be a question.
Secondly, Kenny Vaccaro is one of the best run defending safeties in the league and at the end of last year he started to really look comfortable making plays based off of his gut and picking off passes.
Just to show you how crazy it is that the Titans aren’t number one (let alone in the top-5) here are some safeties in those tandems ahead of Tennessee:
-31 year old Earl Thomas
Maybe you can make the argument that the Kansas City Chiefs, Green Bay Packers or Minnesota Vikings have safeties that are as good as the Titans because you count on a combination of potential growth from young players and expensive free agents, but that is the most I can see.
Everyone else is clearly below Tennessee and my mind, and no offense to the other teams in the NFL but it is shocking that Tennessee isn’t obviously a top-3 team in those rankings.