30. Troy Polamalu
Polamalu will go down as one of the best safeties to ever play in the NFL. He wasn’t exceptionally big for the position (5-foot-10). In all honestly, he likely was a bit undersized when coming out of USC in 2003. With all of that said, the Oregon native proved time and time again as to why he was a true terror on the field. Polamalu literally was the player in mind when the phrase “playing like his hair is on fire” was created. His versatility both in pass coverage and in run support was immense. When further factoring in his ability to create turnovers (32 interceptions, 14 forced fumbles), there’s no question Polamalu belongs on this list.
29. Ed Reed
Next to Polamalu on the ‘Mount Rushmore’ of NFL safeties is Reed. He — like Polamalu — was an intimidating force on the back-end of the field. He was integral in making the Baltimore Ravens franchise synonymous with such superlatives as toughness and hard-nosed. Possessing an elite combination of quickness and physicality, Reed covered tremendous amounts of ground when patrolling the secondary for Baltimore. He would blanket any long pass over the top in coverage, and wouldn’t be shy about drilling a defenseless receiver or running back. Simply put, he was a fantastic player.