Steve Atwater, Brian Dawkins, Troy Polamalu, Ed Reed.
Safeties: Steve Atwater (2020), Brian Dawkins (2018), John Lynch (2021), Troy Polamalu (2020), Ed Reed (2019).
Note that in 2019, all Defensive Backs were grouped together, and were Champ Bailey, Brian Dawkins, Ty Law, Ed Reed, and Aeneas Williams. Cornerbacks and Safeties were split in 2020 but kept at four in both categories to keep everything modern. With the addition of Lynch, we now have five modern Safeties, resulting in significant changes. Games increased by nearly 9, but Approximate Value dropped by 10, resulting in a decreased AV/G of nearly .09. Pro Bowls remained the same and First Team All-Pros dropped by .4 Interceptions dropped by more than 3, and Tackles rose by nearly 40.
Last Year’s Rank #26.
Earl Thomas’ career might be over, as he was released after a mid-game fight with a fellow Safety in the 2020 pre-season. He was not signed by any other team, and if this is the case it likely puts Thomas on the wrong side of the Hall of Fame ledger despite being an All-Decade player, Super Bowl Champion and seven Pro Bowls. We would love to see Thomas get another chance somewhere.
Last Year’s Rank #103.
Mathieu is an intriguing case as he was a surprise All-Decade recipient, but when you gain that honor, you will be forever talked about in regards to the Hall. Saying that, his AV/G is well below what a Hall of Famer should be, and has been a Pro Bowler only twice. Saying that, he is now a three-time First Team All-Pro, a Super Bowl Champion, and has a star aura.
Last Year’s Rank #72.
The five-year streak of Pro Bowls ended last year, but there are few Safeties who can make that claim. However, he is not close to any of the MPAs, and will need to keep up his current pace into his mid-30s. That isn’t impossible, but it is more likely that he will regress instead.
Last Year’s Rank #116.
After three seasons, Adams forced his way out of the Jets, and the Seahawks gave up a lot of high picks to get him. If Adams is what we think he is, Seattle won the trade, and is currently on a three-year Pro Bowl streak. Notably, Adams already has over 20 Sacks.
Last Year’s Rank #140.
Fitzpatrick was traded early in his second season from Miami to Pittsburgh, and it was a great year for the Free Safety with a First Team All-Pro selection. He replicated the honor in his first full season as a Steeler. It is reasonable to think he could get a third straight First Team All-Pro in 2021.
Last Year’s Rank #147.
Baker is already a three-time Pro Bowl Selection and is now a two-time First Team All-Pro with only four seasons. Baker is a tackling machine with who led the NFL in Solo Tackles in 2019.
Last Year’s Rank #115.
Eddie Jackson is a four-year veteran, all of which with the Chicago Bears. The Strong Safety was a First Team All-Pro in 2018 and has been to two Pro Bowls, but a third may not happen in 2021 as he starts the season on the IR.
Last Year’s Rank #134.McCourty is 34 and his time is running out. A two-time Pro Bowler, McCourty has three Super Bowls to console him should the Hall of Fame never call him.