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NFL Draft Preview: Safeties

Redskins.com previews the NFL Draft position-by-position, with a focus on some of the top rookie prospects available in the April 29-30 NFL Draft. Wednesday: Safeties.

At safety, the Redskins have two quality starters in Sean Taylor and newcomer Adam Archuleta. The third safety is the versatile Pierson Prioleau, who can play both strong and free safety. Curry Burns, who has limited NFL experience, rounds out the safety position on the Redskins' roster.

After Prioleau, the Redskins are somewhat thin at the safety position. (The team released veteran Matt Bowen and did not re-sign veteran Omar Stoutmire this offseason.)

It seems likely that the Redskins will address the position in the April 29-30 NFL Draft. Quality safeties sometimes drop into the second round, so a good one could be available when the Redskins pick at No. 53 overall in the second round.

Redskins Draft History: In 1976, the Redskins selected defensive back Quinn Buckner in the 14th round of the NFL Draft. Buckner had led the Indiana Hoosiers to a NCAA championship that season. Instead of a football career, Buckner went on to play 10 seasons in the NBA and averaged 8.2 points per game.

Top Prospects

A four-year starter at Texas, Huff is a hard-hitting 6-0, 198-pounder who is a strong coverage safety and could convert to cornerback if needed. Last season, he logged 109 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss, two sacks and an interception. He also ran track for the Longhorns in 2004. Huff could be a top 10 selection in the draft.

Like Huff, Bing is a four-year starter and could contribute right away at the NFL level. He has prototypical size for a safety at 6-2 and 220 pounds, but injuries have slowed him somewhat the last few seasons. Last year, he logged 50 tackles and four interceptions for the Trojans. Bing could be selected late in the first round.

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Second-Round Prospects

Somewhat undersized at 5-11 and 205 pounds, Whitner makes up for it by being strong in run coverage. He started only one full year for the Buckeyes and last year logged 73 tackles, four sacks and two interceptions. A strong safety, he could transition to free safety in the pros.

Simpson is a 6-1, 200-pounder who is regarded as a ballhawk and a playmaker in the secondary. He had 103 tackles and one interception last season, but his draft status isn't higher because he has only two full seasons of experience.

The twin brother of 2005 draft pick Josh Bullocks (Saints), Daniel has been rising up draft boards. He is regarded as a sound tackler and a natural leader, but may struggle in man coverage. He had 83 tackles and one interception last year.

Late-Round Possibilities

An ideal free safety, Watkins started three years for the Seminoles. He is somewhat lanky at 6-4 and 202 pounds and may be more of a coverage safety. Last season, he logged 67 tackles and three interceptions.

Allen is a player who could translate to either safety or corner in the pros. The 6-2, 200-pounder's senior season was cut short due to a hip injury. If he is back to 2004 form, when he recorded 123 tackles, two sacks and two interceptions, he could be a steal.

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Other Safeties to Watch

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