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Kerby Joseph firmly in the top 10 in these NFL safety rankings

The 2023 Detroit Lions weren’t noted for having a very good secondary, but don’t blame Kerby Joseph. The second-year safety proved he’s one of the NFL’s best at his position despite the lack of results around him in pass defense.

In the latest positional rankings from Touchdown Wire and longtime analyst Doug Farrar, Joseph checks in at No. 6 in the league at the safety position.

Among the reasons for Joseph’s lofty ranking was his overall improvement in high coverage in his second season. Farrar notes No. 31’s coverage stats in 2023,

That’s when he had one tackle for loss, 81 solo tackles, 10 stops, and one quarterback pressure. In coverage, where his value was most readily apparent, Joseph allowed 34 catches on 60 targets for 512 yards, 245 yards after the catch, no touchdowns, four interceptions, 13 pass breakups, and an opponent passer rating of 57.1.

Using Joseph in the high safety role was the best thing about the Lions pass defense in 2023. With the emergence of rookie slot Brian Branch and the late-season surge from box safety Ifeatu Melifonwu, the Lions could be in really good shape at safety in 2024 and beyond–as long as all three can stay healthy together.

Kyle Hamilton earned the top spot, followed by Antoine Winfield Jr., Jabrill Peppers, Xavier McKinney and Jessie Bates above Joseph.

Story originally appeared on Lions Wire