49ers Clubhouse

Best Safeties

By Robert Baker, 49ers Clubhouse draft writer
March 21, 2002

Marques Anderson     UCLA
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 205 lbs
40: 4.5
DOB: 26 May 1979
Hometown: Long Beach, California
Major: American Literature

2001: 63 tkl 2 int 10 pbu

2000: 67 tkl 2 int 11 pbu
 Started 10 games
1999: DNP off field issues
1998: 58 tkl 0 int 11 pbu
 Started 6 games
1997: 42 tkl 3 int 7 pbu
 Started 5 games

HIGH SCHOOL: Lettered in football and track

Comments: He has great instincts and nice closing speed. He also has a good pass coverage sense. Though at times he plays too stiff and can get faked out of his position.

Kevin Curtis     Texas Tech
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 210 lbs
40: 4.6
DOB: 28 July 1980 (Born in Frankfurt, Germany)
Hometown: Lubbock, Texas
Major: Restaurant Hotel Management

2001: 99 tkl 4 int 5 pbu
2000: 121 tkl 2 int 13 pbu
1999: 153 tkl 3 int 6 pbu
1998: 45 tkl 1 int 4 pbu
 Played 11 games

HIGH SCHOOL: Lettered in football, basketball, and baseball. Played quarterback.

Comments: Aggressiveness is Curtis’ main positive; he is a great tackler and a mean blitzer. He is a good run stopper, but needs major work on pass defending, but his tackling gives him a major upside and will give prospective teams something to work around.

Michael Lewis     Colorado
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 210 lbs
40: 4.6
DOB: 29 April 1980
Hometown: Richmond, Texas
Major: Communications

2001: 112 tkl 5 int 7 pbu
2000: 111 tkl 3 int 0 pbu
1999: 72 tkl 0 int 2 pbu
1998: 35 tkl 1 int 2 pbu
 Started 3 games

HIGH SCHOOL: Lettered in football, basketball, and track

Comments: If Randy Moss were a safety entering this years draft, this would be him. Lewis is an awesome player, when he wants to be. Like Moss, he takes plays off and he’s inconsistent, but when he’s on, he’s on! He’s fast, strong, a great cover guy and a just as good run stopper. Could be the best safety in the draft, just needs to play 100% all the time.

Jon McGraw     Kansas St.
Height: 6’3”
Weight: 200 lbs
40: 4.5
DOB: 6 April 1979
Hometown: Manhattan, Kansas
Major: Business

2001: 71 tkl 4 int 8 pbu

2000: 81 tkl 3 int 10 pbu
 Started at FS
1999: 21 tkl 1 int 
1998: 11 tkl 1 int
 Played 12 games
1997: Redshirt as a walk on

HIGH SCHOOL: Lettered in football, basketball, and track. Played quarterback

Comments: A big guy who is physical and a good tackler. Excels in run defence, but needs a lot of work on his pass defence. Has good speed but needs to work on his technique.

Jermaine Phillips     Georgia
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 205 lbs
40: 4.5
DOB: 27 March 1979
Hometown: Roswell, Georgia
Major: Health and Physical Education

2001: 54 tkl 3 int 3 pbu
2000: 85 tkl 2 int 7 pbu
 Moved to SS started 8 games
1999: Started 3 games at WR
1998: Backup WR

HIGH SCHOOL: Played offense and defense

Comments: He is a good tackler and as good instincts, but is a raw prospect, only being a full time starter for one season, and only playing safety for two years. Is a bit slow, but many teams will see how much potential he has.

Edward ‘Pig’ Prather     Mississippi St.
Height: 6’2”
Weight: 195 lbs
40: 4.5
DOB: 8 August 1979
Hometown: Falkner, Mississippi
Major: Educational Psychology

2001: 53 tkl 1 int 
 Recovered from shoulder injury
2000: 78 tkl 1 int 4 pbu
1999: 72 tkl 2 int 5 pbu
 Moved to FS and started 12 games 
1998: Played in all 13 games as a HB

HIGH SCHOOL: Lettered in football and basketball. Played defensive back and running back.

Comments: A big time run stopper. Prather is also a good blitzer, a big guy and has good speed. Has an injury cloud over his head.

Edward Reed     Miami (Fl)
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 205 lbs
40: 4.6
DOB: 11 September 1978
Hometown: Saint Rose, Louisiana
Major: Liberal Arts

2001: 44 tkl 9 int 7 pbu
2000: 78 tkl 8 int 23 pbu
1999: 74 tkl 2 int 7 pbu
 Started at SS
1998: 90 tkl 2 int 7 pbu
 Started at FS
1997: Redshirt

HIGH SCHOOL: Lettered in football, basketball, and track. Played quarterback, running back, and defensive back.

Comments: A solid all round safety. Amazing pass defender, but is also a good run stopper. A tough tackler and is great at picking of passes. His speed is his only weakness.

Ricky Sherrod     West Virginia
Height: 6’2”
Weight: 205 lbs
40: 4.6
DOB: 12 January 1979
Hometown: Charleston, West Virginia
Major: Physical Education

2001: 156 tkl 1 int 1 pbu

2000: 106 tkl 3 int 12 pbu
 Started at FS
1999: 24 tkl 3 pbu
 Started 3 games at FS
1998: DNP due to torn ACL injury
1997: Redshirt

HIGH SCHOOL: Lettered in football and track

Comments: Has great instincts and is on of the better pass defenders in the draft, though his run defense has a lot to be worked on. Has great instincts and is an intelligent player.

LaMont Thompson     Washington
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 210 lbs
40: 4.5
DOB: 30 July 1978
Hometown: Richmond, California
Major: Social Science

2001: 83 tkl 8 int 10 pbu
1999: 54 tkl 4 int 1 pbu
 Started 7 games at CB
1998: 71 tkl 4 int 3 pbu
 Started every game at FS. Also played WR 
1997: 39 tkl 6 int 5 pbu
 Started 4 games
HIGH SCHOOL: Played safety and wide receiver

Comments: Thompson is a rare player in this draft, he excels at both pass and run defending, where most need work on one or another. Moves well and is very quick. The only reason why he isn’t rated the best S is because of a serious neck injury in 2000.

Roy Williams     Oklahoma     JUNIOR
Height: 6’0”
Weight: 215 lbs
40: 4.5
DOB: 14 August 1980
Hometown: Union City, California
Major: Sociology

2001: 99 tkl 5 int 27 pbu
 Started every game
2000: 99 tkl 2 int 10 pbu
 Started every game at SS
1999: 75 tkl 2 int 11 pbu
 Started 5 games
1998: Redshirt

HIGH SCHOOL: Lettered in football and track. Played QB, WR and DB

Comments: Williams has very few, if any weaknesses. He is a tough hitter, good leap, physical and excels in pass coverage. A little slow at times. 

Terreal Bierria - Georgia - 6-3 - 205 pounds

Vertical leap

Play recognition
Open field tackling

Terreal Bierria is an athlete who will be drafted on potential after leaving the University of Georgia early. Bierria has amazing athletic ability and has a tremendous vertical leap that is even more impressive when you factor in that Bierria already stands 6-3. Let's just say that Bierria has a better than average chance for interceptions in the secondary on hail mary throws or jump balls. Bierria is a very physical safety but he struggles at times with consistency in the area of open field tackling. The aspect of Bierria's game that needs to improve most is his play recognition where he is a little slow. Teams are aware that he is leaving school early and probably would not have been as deficient in this category with another year of football under his belt. Bierria is a very raw prospect who will need time to groom and could find himself on an NFL practice squad. I think he will be drafted by the 5th round because teams are so impressed by his athletic prowess. 

*Ramon Walker - Pittsburgh - 6-0 - 190 pounds

Open field tackling

Pass defense consistency

Ramon Walker is the hardest hitter at the safety spot in the draft. The impressive part about that stat is Walker is a small prospect who is under 200 pounds and looks closer to 170 than the 190 which is his reported weight. Walker has outstanding range and gets up a good head of steam before making a play at the line of scrimmage. Walker has the ability to play in pass coverage but he has yet to do so on a consistent basis. Walker should bulk up another 10 pounds so he can play around the 200-pound level in the NFL. If there is one prospect behind Williams and Reed that I am sure will succeed in the NFL it is Ramon Walker. I have Walker going in the third round of the draft, he could realistically go anywhere from the 2nd to the 4th round.