NFL Top 10 Hardest Hitting Safeties of All-Time
These are the hardest hitting safeties of all time based strictly on hitting ability. If you are interested in all players, you can check out my hardest hitters in NFL history list, but this current list will focus only on the safety position.
One of the common themes of this list is older players being listed. NFL rules today make it hard for hard-hitting specialists to reign free.
#10 – Jamal Adams
The NFL is a bizarre league, especially its fans. Somehow, Jamal Adams went from one of the most overrated players in the NFL to one of the most hated players in the league. I don’t get it.
When speaking strictly in terms of his hits, you can’t deny he isn’t one of the hardest hitters in the NFL. Not only that, one of the hardest hitters since entering the NFL in 2017.
In today’s pass heavy NFL, he is a liability when it comes to defending the pass in zone coverage. Here’s the thing. His ability to tackle in the open field as well as rushing the passer is dominant. He has many holes in his game, but he overcomes that with his outstanding hitting ability.
Looking at the 2023 season, I hope for a speedy recovery as I still believe he has the potential to regain his title as one of the top 10 best safeties in the NFL.
#9 – Ed Reed
When Tom Brady was asked who he thought was the most annoying defender to play against, he didn’t have to think hard. It was Ed Reed who is widely considered the best ball hawk safety ever. That’s a lot of praise from the GOAT.
While his ability to intercept passes is what makes him most known, it was his all-around game that made him so great. His hitting ability is one of the many reasons that makes him one of the best safeties of all-time.
At just over 200 pounds, Ed Reed was still never shy to torpedo down field. If he wasn’t in position to intercept the pass, he was never shy to put his shoulder down and plow through a would be pass catcher. That even extended into special teams.
#8 – Troy Polamalu
Speaking of ball hawk safeties, my ranking of Troy Polamalu is the biggest difference between the fan voting and actual SOG ranking. Let me explain myself.
Much like Ed Reed, Troy Polamalu is one of the top 3 best safeties of all-time in all logical rankings. He was your do-it-all safety with instincts and football IQ that would allow him to do things never seen before.
But we’re only talking about “hardest NFL hitters” with this list. Ranking him 8th overall is nothing to scoff at and he is still amongst the best of the best. I just don’t consider him top 5.
He doesn’t have the highlight hits like the later ranked players on this list and had a career that lasted just over a decade.