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Draft Preview: Safeties


Karl Joseph
5-10, 205, West Virginia

The four-year starter played in just four games as a senior due to a knee injury but still managed to post five interceptions for the Mountaineers. Joseph plays with tremendous physicality and has a reputation for delivering thunderous hits. Could come off the board late in the first round.

Vonn Bell
5-11, 199, Ohio State

The former Buckeye is battling Joseph to be the first safety selected. Bell, a two-year starter, emerged as a playmaker and leader in the secondary, earning All-American honors as a junior in 2015. Lance Zierlein of compares Bell to another former Buckeye – Panthers' safety Kurt Coleman.

KeiVarae Russell
5-11, 192, Notre Dame

Three-year starter at cornerback finished his career with five interceptions and 12 passes defensed. Academic issues led to a suspension for the entire 2014 season, but he regained starting role in 2015. Mayock sees him at safety in the NFL.

Keanu Neal
6-0, 211, Florida

Neal has the build and ferocity NFL scouts look for. Attack-minded tackler finished his junior season with a team-high 51 solo tackles. Most view Neal as a second-round prospect.

Justin Simmons
6-2, 202, Boston College

Recorded five interceptions as a senior in 2015, second most in the ACC. Spent time at cornerback and safety as a junior before moving to safety full time. His ability to make plays on the ball intrigues evaluators.


Miles Killebrew
6-2, 217, Southern Utah

Killebrew is considered a safety/linebacker hybrid for the NFL, and he posted some impressive numbers at the Scouting Combine. His 22 bench press reps were the most among safeties. Finished No. 2 among safeties with 38-inch vertical and No. 3 with 6.93 three-cone drill.


Panthers assistant defensive backs coach Curtis Fuller watches closely as Killebrew performs a drill at the Scouting Combine.

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