ProFootballFocus always does a good job at looking at things position by position, and last week they posted this evaluation on NFL safeties and their ability to make a tackle: http://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2012/01/25/2011-tackling-the-safeties/
This isn't about passes defended, it's about tackling - so if you want to comment on anything else, go for it, but I'm working with the tackling numbers.
How did KC grade - uh...well, we get an F, but hey, we tried really hard. We had 3 safeties in the bottom 20. Wanna guess who they are?
Out of 88 safeties:
- Jon McGraw ranked 85th with 11 misses out of 47 attempts
- Donald Washington ranked 81st with 5 misses on 24 attempts
- Kendrick Lewis ranked 73rd with 12 misses on 62 attempts
Weird. Is Piscatelli NOT on the list? I couldn't believe it myself.
Eric Berry, our pro-bowler who can do no wrong, was obviously eliminated from competition in this category early in the season. And he was sorely missed on the tackling front.
No other team had 3 safeties in the bottom 20. We managed to get all three of ours in the bottom 16. IN YOUR FACE, GOOD TEAMS!
I believe that our defense is the key to our success over the next few years (mainly because I have no faith in Cassel, even if he does have a good O-line). So if we're going to be strong, Romeo has to get everyone to use sound tackling fundamentals, Berry has to stay healthy, and we have to get some quality safety depth.
We may pick up a lower level free agent safety, but safety is one of those positions where it's easy to transition to the pros, and you can always find good safety prospects that should be available in the mid-rounds.
Mark Barron (SS - Alabama) the top strong safety should be the only safety taken in the first round, and Markelle Martin (FS - Ok St) - the top free safety should be the only safety taken in the second round. That means that we can get quality depth at safety in rounds 3-5 that would be 2nd or 3rd best prospects at their positions.
Regardless of whether we do or do not pick up a safety, our safeties need to definitely improve their tackling.