2022 NFL Draft: Safety prospects who fit KC Chiefs in each round

ATHENS, GA - APRIL 17: Defensive back Lewis Cine #16 of the Georgia Bulldogs makes an interception over wide receiver Demetris Robertson #16 during the second half of the G-Day spring game at Sanford Stadium on April 17, 2021 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
ATHENS, GA - APRIL 17: Defensive back Lewis Cine #16 of the Georgia Bulldogs makes an interception over wide receiver Demetris Robertson #16 during the second half of the G-Day spring game at Sanford Stadium on April 17, 2021 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /

The Chiefs are in need of a Daniel Sorensen replacement. No, really. Today we conclude our “best fit” per round series with the safety position.

While the need for safety is not as dire as other positions on the team, it is still one that needs to be addressed. Whether the Kansas City Chiefs address the issue in the draft or not remains to be seen.

After Daniel Sorensen left for New Orleans, the Chiefs signed former Chicago safety Deon Bush. While many believe this move was to secure their nickel safety, they could still use depth. Furthermore, they may be able to upgrade from Juan Thornhill in the top end of this class.

If they choose to add a starter or to add depth, there are truly a lot of options at each level of the draft. In our final installment of our “best fit in each round” series, we take a look at some safeties that would make a lot of sense in a Chiefs uniform.

Likelihood of drafting: High

If you are a person that likes to watch film, turn on Lewis Cine’s tape. Due to his explosive nature, it would not at all be surprising to see him come off the board before the Chiefs have a shot. Cine flies downfield and consistently makes plays on the ball carrier. He is a good run defender and would make for an excellent fit beside newly-acquired Justin Reid.

Don’t be shocked if this is the move that Kansas City makes. Not only does Cine offer really good potential, he may be a day one starter that offers an immediate upgrade to the defense. Cine has good leadership qualities and could be a core guy in future years.

Likelihood of drafting: High

There are some people that absolutely love Jaquan Brisker. If the Chiefs were to nab him in the second round, it would be excellent value for what they want in a safety. Brisker is not limited to one role and may have the highest ceiling of any safety in the draft class. As a gifted athlete, Brisker shows flashbacks to old-school safeties with not only a desire to make plays on the ball but punish ball carriers in the middle of the field. Brisker may be the hardest hitter in the draft class.

Steve Spagnuolo and company would be wise to draft a guy like Brisker because he is capable of so many different things. While he should not be put on an island with great receiving threats, he is fully capable of playing both in the box and deep down the middle of the field. He would make for an excellent investment for the future of the defense.

Likelihood of drafting: Low

This one may not be as conventional of a fit as Jaquan Brisker or Lewis Cine, but Nick Cross has a very high ceiling. Cross likely falls to the third round because he is not yet polished enough to take over on day one and be expected to fill a starting role. With that in mind, Cross is fully capable of being a good coverage safety for years to come.

The Chiefs would need to work with Cross on his understanding of what he is seeing. Unfortunately, he can occasionally get caught with eyes in the backfield or guessing on a play. Cross can also look a little bit clunky when he is turning his head around. Perhaps in a more specific role he could carve out an immediate role, but he is more of a project than the other top-tier guys.

Likelihood of drafting: Low

Kerby Joseph is a guy that flashes moments of brilliance. Although he is not going to impress anyone with outsanding athleticism or range, he is going to work hard every day and use his great instincts to his advantage. Joseph is not a guy you can expect to play in the box and is often utilized as a deep-over-the-middle safety. With some polishing and coaching, there is no reason that he couldn’t make for a nice depth piece or rotational player.

Likelihood of drafting: Medium

This is a bit of a fifth round gamble. Isaiah Pola-Mao could develop into a very good player some day. He truly is among those with the highest ceilings in this safety class. At 6’4 and 205 pounds, he is easy to spot on tape. With good instincts and fluid hips, Pola-Mao can not only patrol the middle of the field well, but he can also come up and make plays in run support. His biggest issue? Consistency. He will show flashes of greatness and then vanish for games at a time. The Chiefs could gamble on his potential and if all else fails, you have an excellent special teams contributor.

Likelihood of drafting: Medium

Alright. I’ll be honest here. Leon O’Neal Jr. is not going to ever be a great safety at the NFL level. He will, however, be a functional depth piece and an excellent special teams player. O’Neal is very good in the box and is unafraid of contact. He can hit and has excellent capabilities as a run defender. His coverage skills are very suspect and he would need some work at the next level before he could ever get on the field. If the Chiefs wanted a guy that they could use as a hybrid linebacker, O’Neal might be the guy to try it with.

Likelihood of drafting: Medium

Nick Grant’s market is going to be all over the place. It seems just as likely that he is a seventh round pick as a 3rd or 4th round pick. So, really, who knows? With that in mind, Grant could eventually develop into a nice depth piece. He is a smart defender that diagnoses a play and shoots a gap like a linebacker would on run plays. Grant is not overly rangy or athletic, but he can play in several different roles and is capable of developing into an average starter at the next level.

dark. Next. A full first-round mock draft