All 32 NFL teams (including the Lions) ranked by their safeties

USA Today

The Detroit Lions overhauled the cornerback position group and swapped out safety coach Brian Duker, but they didn’t do much to address the safety spot in the current offseason. How does that sit with the pundits who evaluate and rank different teams and position groups>

ESPN’s Mike Clay released his 2024 positional projections, including ranking every safety group in the NFL. Detroit’s safety group is understandably low in the rankings after a largely underwhelming 2023, even though box safety Ifeatu Melifonwu had a nice run of games late in the season, notably with his blitzing against both the run and pass.

Note that Clay doesn’t include Brian Branch in the Lions’ safety group. Branch primarily played slot CB as a rookie and played it at a very high level, but that leaves him out here. Despite that, many expect Branch to play more of a traditional safety role in his second NFL season.

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32. New York Giants

Minnesota Golden Gophers linebacker Ryan Selig (33) and Minnesota Golden Gophers defensive back Tyler Nubin (27) celebrate a defensive stop during the NCAA football game against the Purdue Boilermakers, Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023, at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Ind. Purdue Boilermakers won 49-30.

Jason Pinnock, Tyler Nubin, Dane Belton, Jalen Mills, Elijah Riley

31. Denver Broncos

Oct 6, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Phillip Lindsay (30) runs through the tackle of Denver Broncos safety Caden Sterns (30) as linebacker Bradley Chubb (55) defends in the second quarter at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Jones, Caden Sterns, P.J. Locke, Delarrin Turner-Yell, JL Skinner

30. Detroit Lions

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Oct 15, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) is tackled by Detroit Lions safety Kerby Joseph (31) in the third quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Kerby Joseph, Ifeatu Melifonwu, Brandon Joseph, C.J. Moore, Chelen Garnes

29. Los Angeles Rams

Bills receiver Emmanuel Sanders holds on to this pass behind Washington’s Kamren Curl for a 5 yard touchdown.

Kamren Curl, Russ Yeast, Kamren Kinchens, Jason Taylor II, Tanner Ingle

28. New York Jets

Baltimore Ravens safety Chuck Clark (36) tackles Cincinnati Bengals tight end Hayden Hurst (88) at the inch yard line in the third quarter during an NFL wild-card playoff football game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023, at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati.

Baltimore Ravens At Cincinnati Bengals Afc Wild Card Jan 15 205

Chuck Clark, Tony Adams, Ashtyn Davis, Jarrick Bernard-Converse, Jaylen Key

27. Seattle Seahawks

Dec 18, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Seahawks safety Julian Love (20) celebrates on the bench after his second interception of the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Julian Love, Rayshawn Jenkins, K’Von Wallace, Coby Bryant, Jerrick Reed II

26. Indianapolis Colts

A pass intended for Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins (5) goes incomplete as Indianapolis Colts safety Julian Blackmon (32) gives chase Sunday, Dec. 10, 2023, during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati.

Julian Blackmon, Nick Cross, Rodney Thomas II, Ronnie Harrison, Trevor Denbow

25. Tennessee Titans

Tennessee Titans linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair (2) and safety Amani Hooker (37) chase after a blocked Miami Dolphins field goal during the second quarter at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Fla., Monday, Dec. 11, 2023.

Amani Hooker, Elijah Molden, Mike Brown, Shyheim Carter, Matthew Jackson

24. Buffalo Bills

Jan 7, 2024; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Buffalo Bills safety Taylor Rapp (20) limps after a play against the Miami Dolphins during the fourth quarter at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Taylor Rapp, Mike Edwards, Cole Bishop, Cameron Lewis, Damar Hamlin

23. Kansas City Chiefs

chiefs-justin-reid-excited-texans-reunion

DENVER, COLORADO – DECEMBER 11: Justin Reid #20 of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates after beating the Denver Broncos 34-28 at Empower Field At Mile High on December 11, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)

Justin Reid, Bryan Cook, Chamarri Conner, Jaden Hicks, Deon Bush

22. Washington Commanders

Oct 1, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson (87) is tackled by Carolina Panthers safety Jeremy Chinn (21) during the second half at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Darrick Forrest, Jeremy Chinn, Percy Butler, Jeremy Reaves, Dominique Hampton

21. Philadelphia Eagles

S Chauncey (C.J.) Gardner-Johnson: Signed by Philadelphia Eagles (previous team: Detroit Lions)

Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Reed Blankenship, Sydney Brown, Tristin McCollum, Mekhi Garner

20. Green Bay Packers

(Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

Xavier McKinney, Javon Bullard, Anthony Johnson Jr., Evan Williams, Kitan Oladapo

19. New Orleans Saints

Jan 7, 2024; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) looks on against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Tyrann Mathieu, Jordan Howden, Johnathan Abram, J.T. Gray

18. San Francisco 49ers

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) tries to make the stop on San Francisco 49ers safety Talanoa Hufanga (29) after Hufanga intercepted a Lawrence pass early in the third quarter. The Jacksonville Jaguars hosted the San Francisco 49ers at EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville, FL Sunday, November 12, 2023. The Jaguars trailed 13 to 3 at the half and fell to the 49ers with a final score of 34 to 3. [Bob Self/Florida Times-Union]

Talanoa Hufanga, Ji’Ayir Brown, George Odum, Tayler Hawkins, Malik Mustapha

17. Las Vegas Raiders

Oct 17, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Las Vegas Raiders free safety Trevon Moehrig (25) celebrates his interception the fourth quarter against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Trevon Moehrig, Marcus Epps, Isaiah Pola-Mao, Chris Smith II, Trey Taylor

16. Atlanta Falcons

falcons-snap-texans-back-reality

ATLANTA, GEORGIA – OCTOBER 08: Dameon Pierce #31 of the Houston Texans runs with the ball while being tackled by Jessie Bates III #3 of the Atlanta Falcons in the second quarter at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on October 08, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Jessie Bates, DeMarcco Hellams, Richie Grant, Micah Abernathy, Dane Cruikshank

15. Carolina Panthers

Oct 29, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Houston Texans running back Devin Singletary (26) looks for room to run facing Carolina Panthers safety Xavier Woods (25) during the first quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Xavier Woods, Jordan Fuller, Nick Scott, Sam Franklin, Alex Cook

14. Houston Texans

Nov 5, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Chase Edmonds (22) and Houston Texans safety Jalen Pitre (5) react after a play during the fourth quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Jalen Pitre, Jimmie Ward, Eric Murray, Calen Bullock, M.J. Stewart

13. Cincinnati Bengals

Nov 12, 2023; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Cleveland Browns running back Jerome Ford (34) runs with the ball as Baltimore Ravens safety Geno Stone (26) defends during the second quarter at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jessica Rapfogel-USA TODAY Sports

Geno Stone, Vonn Bell, Jordan Battle, Daijahn Anthony, Tycen Anderson

12. Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville Jaguars safety Andre Cisco (5) runs onto the field before a regular season NFL football matchup Monday, Dec. 4, 2023 at EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla. The Cincinnati Bengals defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 34-31 in overtime. [Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union]

Darnell Savage Jr., Andre Cisco, Andrew Wingard, Terrell Edmunds, Daniel Thomas

11. Dallas Cowboys

Dec 24, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys safety Donovan Wilson (6) reacts after a fourth down play during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Donovan Wilson, Malik Hooker, Juanyeh Thomas, Israel Mukuamu, Sheldrick Redwine

10. New England Patriots

Nov 5, 2023; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots safety Kyle Dugger (23) runs the ball out of the end zone after an interception during the first half against the Washington Commanders at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Dugger, Jabrill Peppers, Marte Mapu, Jaylinn Hawkins, Joshuah Bledsoe

9. Chicago Bears

texans-release-pharaoh-brown-chris-conley

Sep 25, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Houston Texans tight end Pharaoh Brown (85) is brought down in the first quarter Chicago Bears defensive back Jaquan Brisker (9) and defensive back Eddie Jackson (4) after catching a pass at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Jaquan Brisker, Kevin Byard, Jonathan Owens, Elijah Hicks, Quindell Johnson

8. Los Angeles Chargers

Oct 29, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA; Chicago Bears running back D’Onta Foreman (21) is tackled by Los Angeles Chargers safety Derwin James Jr. (3) and cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. (26) SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Derwin James, Alohi Gilman, JT Woods, AJ Finley, Jalyn Phillips

7. Arizona Cardinals

texans-tim-kelly-cardinals-budda-baker-great-instincts

Oct 3, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Arizona Cardinals strong safety Budda Baker (3) celebrates after a fumble recovery in the second quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Budda Baker, Jalen Thompson, Andre Chachere, Dadrion Taylor-Demerson, Joey Blount

6. Pittsburgh Steelers

Oct 8, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (39) takes the field to play the Baltimore Ravens at Acrisure Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Minkah Fitzpatrick, DeShon Elliott, Damontae Kazee, Trenton Thompson, Miles Killebrew

5. Miami Dolphins

Sep 24, 2023; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins safety Jevon Holland (8) is introduced onto the field before a game against the Denver Broncos at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Jevon Holland, Jordan Poyer, Elijah Campbell, Patrick McMorris, Jason Maitre

4. Cleveland Browns

texans-power-rankings-touchdown-wire-houston-no-32

Dec 4, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans defensive end Troy Hairston (34) is hit by Cleveland Browns safety Grant Delpit (22) while attempting to make a reception during the second quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Grant Delpit, Juan Thornhill, Rodney McLeod, Ronnie Hickman, D’Anthony Bell

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Nov 5, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Antoine Winfield Jr. (31) celebrates after a fumble recovery during the first quarter against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Antoine Winfield Jr., Jordan Whitehead, Tykee Smith, Kaevon Merriweather, Chris McDonald

2. Minnesota Vikings

Dec 24, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones (19) is tackled by Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith (22) during the game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Harrison Smith, Camryn Bynum, Josh Metellus, Theo Jackson, Jay Ward

1. Baltimore Ravens

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase (1) is pulled down by Baltimore Ravens safety Kyle Hamilton (14) after a catch in the first quarter during an NFL wild-card playoff football game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023, at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati.The Ravens led 10-9 at halftime.

Baltimore Ravens At Cincinnati Bengals Afc Wild Card Jan 15 148

Sam Greene/The Enquirer-USA TODAY NETWORK

Marcus Williams, Kyle Hamilton, Sanoussi Kane, Beau Brade, Ryan Cooper

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