NFL Nation: Tyrell Johnson 0

You could make an argument that all four NFC teams are approaching the 2010 with a significant need at safety.
  • Chicago manned the two positions with Danieal Manning and Al Afalava for most of 2009. I’m not sure you could consider either a player a slam-dunk starter in 2010.
  • Detroit has one fixture in Louis Delmas, but a half-dozen players rotated through the other position with no obvious up-and-comer on the roster.
  • Green Bay has two clear starters in Nick Collins and Atari Bigby, but both players’ contracts expire in a few months. You would assume both will return, but stranger things have happened.
  • Minnesota saw some progress from Tyrell Johnson at the end of the season, but neither he nor Madieu Williams had the kind of regular season the Vikings were hoping for.

So where should our teams look? On Thursday, we noted Nebraska’s Larry Asante for his apparently strong work during Senior Bowl practices in Mobile, Ala. Via Twitter, @cgoldberg13 suggests an alternative: Former Florida State safety Myron Rolle, who was out of football last year while studying at Oxford University as part of his Rhodes Scholarship.

If you have an Insider subscription, you can read Todd McShay’s evaluation of Rolle here. Among other things, McShay wrote that teams want to know how serious Rolle is about playing football.

Over on si.com, Tony Pauline wrote that Rolle was one of the most surprising players this week during Senior Bowl practices.

Pauline added: “Rolle certainly did not look like someone who has not played football in over a year. He never embarrassed himself on the field. In fact by weeks end he was making plays and playing at a higher level than many of his teammates.”

At Florida State, Rolle was known more for his physicality than his coverage skills. At 223 pounds, he would be a pretty big safety in the NFL. As the draft evaluation process continues, I’ll be interested to see if he projects as a full-time safety or a hybrid player.
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