We have reached the safety position in our SB Nation York position-by-position 2012 NFL Draft preview. It is the final stop in our journey as we prepare for the real deal to begin -- finally -- on Thursday night.
The 2012 safety class is top-heavy. There are two players, Mark Barron of Alabama and Harrison Smith of Notre Dame, considered to be NFL impact players. Only Barron is a lock to be selected in the first round. After those two players there are no guarantees.
Let's take a closer look.
Top 5 Safeties [Rated by SI.com]
Phillip Thomas, Syracuse -- Was dismissed from the Orange in November due to off-the-field issues, but a team might take a late-round flier on him in a weak safety class.
Other Players To Watch
Brandon Hardin, Oregon State; Jerron McMillian, Maine.
This is most definitely a position of interest for the Giants. The Giants love the three-safety look, but veteran Deon Grant seems unlikely to return in 2012. That leaves the Giants with just two proven safeties, Antrel Rolle and Kenny Phillips, with 2011 sixth-round pick Tyler Sash backing them up. The Giants can dream about Barron falling to them at No. 32, but that seems unlikely. They have been connected to Smith. The questions there are who else will be available at the end of the first round, and do they see Smith as value that early?
If Barron is on the board at 16, the Jets will have a hard time passing him up. Despite signing LaRon Landry as a free agent safety is not a strong position for the Jets. Barron could be an impact player for Rex Ryan.