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Top 10 Strong Safeties in NFL 2022 Rankings

Derwin James is the best Strong Safety in the NFL right now going into the 2022-2023 NFL season. Also where Tyrann Mathieu, Budda Baker, and more rank

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By Fan Rankings | August 06, 2022 - 08:50 PM

The evolution of the game of football continues to take center stage, as the game shifts to the offensive side of the ball. As the game has shifted from a running style type of offense to a heavy balance of passing, the safety position is more and more a key to the defense.

As you look around at the Top 10 NFL Strong Safeties 2021-2022, many of these safeties have the talent not only to gear up for the run but also transition to play the pass against some difficult options at tight end, slot receiver, and running back.

 

Strong safeties are now used not only to play up in the box to shut down the run but also a threat to get to the quarterback as well as dropping back to play in coverage.

When you look around the National Football League, the game is loaded with a ton of top tier strong safeties that put together strong performances during the 2021 NFL season.

This includes a group of stars to include the likes of Derwin James of the Los Angeles Chargers, Budda Baker of the Arizona Cardinals, and Tyrann Mathieu formerly of the Kansas City Chiefs. With that said, here is our list of the Top 10 NFL Strong Safeties 2021-2022 Rankings.




Honorable Mention

Jordan Whitehead

Team(s): New York Jets

2021 Stats: 58 Solo, 1 FF, 2 INT, 8 PD

The former Tampa Bay Buccaneers strong safety is just as good as nearly any strong safety in the NFL. During the 2021, NFL Season Jordan Whitehead ranked near the top among all strong safeties with his play on the field while being a threat both in the box as well as against the pass. 

Whitehead recorded 73 total tackles over 14 games in 2021 while also recording two interceptions, posting eight pass defended and recording five tackles for a loss.

His play on the field opened the move to head to New York to help retool the New York Jets secondary.




Vonn Bell

Team(s): Cincinnati Bengals

2021 Stats: 64 Solo, 3 FF, 1 INT, 8 PD

Joining Jordan Whitehead just outside of the Top 10 NFL Strong Safeties 2021-2022 rankings list is the Cincinnati Bengals Vonn Bell.

The former Ohio State Buckeyes star is a key weapon among the Bengals defense and a driving force among the secondary. As Bell is often overlooked for many of the NFL’s top strong safeties, it is hard to not like what he delivers on the football field.

Bell finished 2021 with 95 total tackles to go along with a half sack as well as one interception and seven passes defended over 16 NFL games.




Top 10 NFL Strong Safeties

10. Amani Hooker

Team(s): Tennessee Titans

2021 Stats: 38 Solo, 1 FF, 1 INT, 4 PD

Landing at number 10 on the Top 10 NFL Strong Safeties 2021-2022 rankings list is the Tennessee Titans play making strong safety Amani Hooker.

The Titans 24-year-old safety is a dynamic playmaker who can play nearly any slot on the football field when called upon.

Hooker, who played his college football with the Iowa Hawkeyes, is a playmaker among the Titans defenses. In just 12 contests last season, Hooker recorded 62 total tackles to go along with one forced fumble, and four passes defended. 




9. Jeremy Chinn

Team(s): Carolina Panthers

2021 Stats: 75 Solo, 1 FF, 1 INT, 5 PD

The former second round pick from Southern Illinois has slowly transitioned to a strong safety for the Carolina Panthers.

Chinn, who has played both free safety and strong safety since arriving at the NFL level, is solid both against the pass as well as against the run.

The Panthers third year safety put together a brilliant 2021 NFL season while ranking among the top among all safeties in total tackles and solo tackles. Chinn wrapped up 2021 with 102 total tackles to go along with 70 solo tackles, one sack, one interception, and four passes defended.




8. Jayron Kearse

Team(s): Dallas Cowboys

2021 Stats: 67 Solo, 0 FF, 2 INT, 10 PD

When you are looking at the making of a great safety, size and speed are key attributes. Luckily for the Dallas Cowboys, they have found both with the likes of Jayron Kearse who ranks as one of the top strong safeties in the NFL.

Kearse, who is slotted in at 6 foot 4 inches, also has tremendous speed and agility for his size. The former Clemson Tigers star is coming off his best season in the NFL recording 101 tackles over 16 games to go along with one sack, one forced fumble, and two interceptions.




7. Jamal Adams

Team(s): Seattle Seahawks

2021 Stats: 56 Solo, 0 FF, 2 INT, 5 PD

It is hard not to see Jamal Adams name on any top 10 list at the safety position as he continues to be one of the best safeties in the NFL.

However, once considered one of the best strong safeties if not the best strong safety, has struggled in his role with the Seattle Seahawks. Nonetheless, it is hard to look past what Adams brings to the football field on each play.

Over 12 games last season, Adams posted 87 tackles to go along with two interceptions, five passes defended and 5.5 stuffs while showcasing his talents at the line of scrimmage.




6. Jimmie Ward

Team(s): San Francisco 49ers

2021 Stats: 51 Solo, 0 FF, 2 INT, 6 PD, 1 TD

Since being selected by the San Francisco 49ers with the 30th overall pick during the 2014 NFL Draft, Jimmie Ward has played at a high level.

Ward, since arriving in San Francisco out of Northern Illinois, has been one of the best strong safeties in the NFL and one of the overall top safeties within the league.

During 2021, Ward was used in a variety of formations and spots among the defense while recording 77 total tackles to go along with six passes defended, two interceptions, and one interception returned for a touchdown.




5. Harrison Smith

Team(s): Minnesota Vikings

2021 Stats: 83 Solo, 1 FF, 1 INT, 7 PD

Rounding out the top five safeties on the Top 10 NFL Strong Safeties 2021-22 Rankings list is the Minnesota Vikings veteran Harrison Smith.

Smith, who played his college football at Notre Dame has played his entire NFL career with the Vikings while consistently ranking as one of the top strong safeties in the NFL.

The same can be said with his play during the 2021 NFL season as Smith finished the season with three sacks to go along with 114 tackles, and one interceptions while earning sixth trip to the NFL Pro Bowl.




4. Tyrann Mathieu

Team(s): Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints

2021 Stats: 60 Solo, 0 FF, 3 INT, 6 PD, 1 TD

It doesn’t matter where he plays, the honey badger Tyrann Mathieu has the ability to make a big-time play.

As he moves on to New Orleans with the Saints in 2022, Mathieu put together another strong season in 2021 for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Mathieu, who made his third Pro Bowl team in 2021, is a three-time first team All-Pro selection while also playing a key role in the team's Super Bowl LIV win.

In 16 games last season the honey badger recorded 76 tackles to go along with three interceptions and three fumble recoveries while also posting a defensive touchdown.




3. Budda Baker

Team(s): Arizona Cardinals

2021 Stats: 63 Solo, 0 FF, 3 INT, 7 PD

When you look around the NFL at the top safeties, the Arizona Cardinals star strong safety ranks near the top among that group.

Despite his strong play in 2021, Budda Baker failed to earn a first team All-Pro selection but was named to his fourth straight Pro Bowl team.

Baker started all 17 games for the Cardinals last season while recording six tackles for a loss, 98 total tackles, recovered one fumble and picked off three passes.

The Cardinals safety ranks at the top of the list as one of the best run defensive players among all safeties according to PFF.




2. Adrian Amos

Team(s): Green Bay Packers

2021 Stats: 75 Solo, 0 FF, 2 INT, 8 PD

Some may classify Adrian Amos as a free safety and others classify him as a strong safety. Nonetheless, Amos is one of the best safeties in the NFL no matter the position you decide to classify him in.

Amos who played his college ball at Penn State put together a strong 2021 NFL season for the Packers recording 93 total tackles to go along with two interceptions, and eight passes defended while being asked to play all over the field for the team.




1. Derwin James

Team(s): San Diego Chargers

2021 Stats: 75 Solo, 3 FF, 2 INT, 5 PD

The San Diego Chargers star free safety Derwin James ranks among the best safeties in the NFL while landing at number one on the Top 10 NFL Strong Safeties 2021-22 Rankings list.

James, who has battled injuries over the course of his career is a true playmaker while on the field and that was the case last season for the Chargers.

James played in 15 games last season while earning his second Pro Bowl selection and recorded 118 total tackles including seven for a loss.

In addition, James recorded three forced fumbles, and two interceptions over 15 games played.



How would you rank these Strong Safeties going into the 2022-2023 NFL season? Rank below to be added in the Power Rankings.

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