Pro Football Reference Blog

Archive for June, 2023

17 Best Safeties in the NFL

23rd June 2023

When deciding who is the best safety in the NFL, there are many factors to weigh. First and foremost, there are two different safety positions: strong safety and free safety. Both have different responsibilities. Strong safeties are named such because they line up on the “strong side” – the side of the line of scrimmage where the tight end is positioned. Strong safeties often have the responsibility of covering the tight end on pass plays and providing support against the run. Free safeties usually line up further away from the line of scrimmage than strong safeties, and generally more toward the “weak” side, without the tight end. As a result, free safeties were once referred to as “weak safeties.” Free safeties provide more pass coverage support, rushing to cover receivers who beat a cornerback. 

Although strong safety and free safety are two separate positions, they are often grouped when assessing defense. In our NFL safety rankings, we will consider several statistical categories from the 2022 NFL season such as interceptions, passes defended, tackles for loss, and forced fumbles to cover both strong safeties and free safeties. There are two teams with two players on our list of best NFL safeties.

Read the rest of this entry

Posted in Top Lists | Comments Off on 17 Best Safeties in the NFL