This has been getting a lot of discussion lately, particularly in the Kenny Vaccaro mock draft thread. Are safeties taken in the first round more likely to be quality NFL players than first round guys at other positions?
Let's look at the Marvin Lewis era first round safeties to see:
2002: #8 Roy Williams, #24 Ed Reed
2003: #16 Troy Polamalu
2004: #5 Sean Taylor
2008: #31 Kenny Phillips
2012: #7 Mark Barron, #29 Harrison Smith
That's 16 first round safeties in 13 years, of which 2 are sure-fire hall of famers. Sean Taylor might have been as well, if not for his untimely death. The rest are mostly solid NFL players, though there are a couple busts. Barron, Smith, Berry, and Thomas have all played exceptionally well. The 2006-2008 picks weren't so great, but most of them are still starters in the NFL. Some may question whether a guy was worth a top 10 pick in some cases (Roy Williams, LaRon Landry, etc) but almost everyone on this list was a solid NFL starter.
So what do you think? Are safeties that go in the first round as risky as any other position?