The AFC South features a quality stable of starting safeties.
Overall, the division has one of the best at the position along with proven veterans and young players that have the ability to make a name for themselves this season.
For this list, I took the starting safeties from each team. Let’s take a look at how they rank:
Rodney Thomas II ended up being a pleasant surprise for the Indianapolis Colts after selecting him in the seventh round of the 2022 NFL draft. In his rookie season, he finished with 52 tackles (34 solo), six pass deflections, and four interceptions.
The 2021 third-round pick for the Jacksonville Jaguars is set to have a potential breakout season. In his second season he played in 15 games while collecting 73 tackles (49 solo), a TFL, a QB hit, a sack, 10 pass deflections, and three interceptions.
Julian Blackmon, Indianapolis Colts
Julian Blackmon has only appeared in 35 of 50 games to start his career with the Colts. In his three seasons, he’s collected 126 tackles (98 solo), seven TFLs, a sack, a QB hit, nine pass deflections, three interceptions, two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery.
Amani Hooker has developed into a quality starting safety for the Tennessee Titans after they selected him in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL draft. He will need to prove he can remain healthy after only appearing in 21 games the past two seasons due to multiple injuries.
Rayshawn Jenkins, Jacksonville Jaguars
Rayshawn Jenkins is the veteran leader of the Jacksonville Jaguars secondary. In 2022, he had career-highs in tackles (116), pass deflections (12), and forced fumbles (three). It also happened to be the first time in his NFL career that he forced a fumble and he did it three times.
Jimmie Ward is entering his 10th season in the NFL and will be playing his first season with the Houston Texans after following DeMeco Ryans from the San Francisco 49ers. After playing as a cornerback in 2022, Ward is looking forward to getting back to a safety role for his defense.
Jalen Pitre, Houston Texans
The Houston Texans selected Jalen Pitre with the No. 37 overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft and he made an immediate impact as a rookie. In his first year, he finished with 147 tackles (99 solo), five TFLs, one sack, one QB hit, eight pass deflections, five interceptions, and a fumble recovery.
Kevin Byard, Tennessee Titans
Kevin Byard is one of four players with 245+ tackles, 25+ passes defended, and 10+ interceptions since 2020. He’s been named an All-Pro player twice in his seven-year career.