The emergence of a new position in the NFL

Updated: December 26, 2013
LBJ football

NFL Teams to add new position in 2014

Strong Safety, Free Safety… Tall Safety?

The game of football is always evolving. The rules are constantly changing forcing coaches to adapt, coaches then adapt to the new rules and the cycle repeats itself. Additionally every few years a player will redefine a position, which sparks a decade long positional renaissance. Whether it’s Michael Vick at quarterback or Rob Grownkowski at tight end, these players cause traditional matchup nightmares. Successfully, leveraging these players’ strengths against opponents’weaknesses leads to results.

Eventually schemes and tactics will be developed to combat against these threats, and again the next cycle continues. The Athletic Standard team has analyzed some of these recent trends and has identified the next positional evolution, the evolution of the safety.

Over the last few years the west coast spread offense has become increasingly more prevalent. This style off offense favors two styles of play, short spastic and height dominance. This current style of play has lead to the emergence of stars like Wes Welker and Calvin Johnson. While these players are visually very different they both exploit defenses using the same strategy, speed. While players like Wes Welker can be schemed against, Megatron players pose a larger issue… he’s really tall. To make matters worse, he jumps really high. In fact if you looks at the most recent top 10 producing wide receivers, they tend to be taller than in years past.

Looking at football outsiders top producing 15 wide receivers 12 of the top 15 were over six feet

Football outsiders WR

Courtesy of

Even’s top fantasy WR Picks only have 1 player (Antonio Brown) listed under 6’0.


Courtesy of

 This creates a matchup nightmare because safeties that are traditionally 5’10-6’1 just can’t elevate consistently to disrupt taller players. Just as how the outside linebacker position saw the evolution of the tweener, the safety position should look to get taller. Specifically, the safeties of the future will look like this:

Here is what the future tall safety will look like

Genetic Prototype:



Weight: 210-220

Physical Characteristics

Shoe size 14+

Hand size 10+

Wingspan 80 inches +


Vertical Jump: 33-35inches

Pro Agility:  4.05-4.2 seconds


10 yard dash: 1.55-1.65

Broad Jump: 11′+

ASI 1,900-2,000

Possible Transfer Hot spots

Physical power forwards from DI Programs with a history of football

Physical Tight Ends that can’t catch

One Comment

  1. Justin

    January 7, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    Paused at 1:02 seconds in and I can see why you are calling for taller safety’s. Great article

    Winning Catch –

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