1. Earl Thomas
Earl still deserves the nod as the best free safety in the league. His ability to seek the ball like a missile and fire is as impressive as anyone. His game is so sound and so complete that there really is nothing that you can say.
Mathieu can make the argument for being the top safety in the NFL. Heck, he make the statement as one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL. He did however, tear his ACL for the second time this year. However, when on his game nobody is better. Mathieu lines up in the slot for the majority of his snaps, but for technically being a safety and due to his athletic ability there is no one else you would rather have in coverage.
3. Eric Berry
Eric Berry is a great inspiration. To miss time due to cancer and to come right back in and continue to be one of the best safeties in football is impressive. In terms of size and athleticism he is among the top in the league and he can play not only in coverage, but as a plus tackler in the box.
4. Harrison Smith
Smith just signed a deal making him one of the top paid defensive backs in the game, and he is one of the best. He is another guy who fly around the field, and seemingly can play in the box and in center field at the same time. He tackles like a linebacker, but can run as good as any safety in the league.
5. Jason McCourty
McCourty made a great decision in his move to safety. Now in coverage, he is arguably the best out there. He is a centerfielder with the mindset of a corner back. He can see where the play is developing and make the read knowing which corner back will need the safety help. It also gives him the ball skills to make plays, and of course line up in man when needed.
6. Malcolm Jenkins
Jenkins was never bad in his first five seasons in New Orleans, but the past two years in Philadephia really showed off how good he has been. He has been great against the run, and still has strong pass coverage. In the past two years he recorded five of his 11 career interceptions.
7. Tashaun Gipson
Gipson had a strong year last year in Cleveland, the problem is no one from the media noticed. The Jaguars noticed and made sure to sign him for the future. He should be a good fit into the defense, and should continue to ascend after his new deal.
8. Mike Mitchell
Mitchell is one of the more physical safties in football, and last year his play seemed to go unrecognized. The Steelers defense improved from bottom of the bunch to upper half in one year, and the play of Mitchell was from year one to two in the defense was a major benefactor. He has a few too many penalties, but against the run and as a complete safety it is tough to find better.
9. Haha Clinton-Dix
Clinton-Dix showed a lot of progress in his game last year. He is a long defender and can play off of the ball in center field but isn’t afraid to play in the box. He still some ironing out to do, especially in the box, but to use his length to your advantage as a center fielder there are few better than Haha
10. Eric Reid
It was tough to watch Reid in 2015, as it seemed like he was always chasing down receievers who burnt the 49ers corners, but that isn’t all on Reid. Reid can play his assignment and was one of the only consistent pieces on the 49ers in defense.