Top 10 NFL Safeties of All Time

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A breakdown and list of the greatest NFL safeties of all time as a top 10 list.

The safety position is one of the more underrated positions, but has also seen some of the NFL’s greatest athletes. This list will rank the top 10 to ever play the game with respect to their eras.

10. Kenny Easley

Kenny Easley could easily be way higher on this list if his career wasn’t cut short, as he only played seven seasons. However, anybody that watches the tape of Kenny Easley will tell you that he could do everything a safety needs to do.

He had great speed and agility, with power to come up and stop the run. He played Strong Safety, but could have easily played Free Safety if he wanted to with his tremendous ball skills and elite hands.

Easley led the league in interceptions in 1984 with 10 and returned two for touchdowns which also led the league, as he would go on to win NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He was selected as a first team all pro three consecutive seasons from 1983-1985. Easley had 32 interceptions in only 87 games played.

9. Larry Wilson

Larry Wilson only stood 6 foot tall and weighed 190 pounds making him undersides for the position but he more than made up for it with his toughness. Larry Wilson started at Free Safety being one of the first players to play that position and his range in pass coverage showed why.

He has 52 career interceptions, and once led the league with 10 in 1966, and twice led the league in interceptions returned for touchdowns. Wilson was also tremendous against the run and would move to strong safety later in his career when his speed had diminished.

Wilson was selected as a first team all pro for five consecutive seasons from 1966-1970. Wilson, crazy as it sounds, also intercepted a pass with casts on both of his hands.

8. Willie Wood

Willie Wood was the staple of the backend of a defense that would go down as one of the greatest in NFL history with the 1960 Green Bay Packers. Wood was a first team all pro four consecutive seasons from 1964-1967.

Wood was known for his awareness and range at the free safety position and totalled 48 career interceptions, while leading the league once in 1962. Wood could also stop the run and had tremendous hit power totalling six forced fumbles during his career.

Wood also helped the Green Bay Packers win five NFL Championships and two Super Bowls during the 1960s, where he was also named to the NFL’s All Decade team of the 60s.

7. Jack Christiansen

Similar to Kenny Easley, Christiansen could be higher on this list if he had a longer career, but in the short eight year career he had he was unquestionably a top two safety in the league, and in many years he was the best.

Christiansen was a first team all pro six consecutive seasons from 1952-1957, twice leading the league in interception having two double digit interception seasons. Christiansen played both free and strong safety as he could also stop the run.

Christiansen totaled 46 career interceptions in only eight seasons, and averaged an interception every two games. Christiansen also helped the Detroit Lions win three NFL Championships.

6. Troy Polomalu

Troy Poloamalu is one of the greatest athletes to ever play in the NFL and his versatility at the safety position may never be seen again. Playing Strong Safety for his whole career, due to him being one of the greatest run stopping and blitzing safeties ever, he could have easily played free safety if he wanted to.

Polamalu totaled 32 career interceptions, forced 14 fumbles, and recorded 12 sacks. Polomalu was a first team all pro four times during his career, and won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2010. Polomalu also helped the Pittsburgh Steelers win two super bowls during his career.

Injuries played a role in Polomalu’s career, as they didn’t end it prematurely, but they didn’t stop him from totalling even better career numbers, which would have had him ranked higher.

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