The NFL Draft is still far away, but with college football season in full swing, some top prospects are becoming more apparent by the week. For the Steelers, the secondary is a group of prospects they must watch closely with the struggles at both cornerback and safety. The Steelers need an injection of youth again this year into those rooms after drafting Joey Porter Jr. and Cory Trice.
For Pro Football Focus’ Brad Spielberger, there could be a safety that makes all the sense in the world. Ohio State safety Lathan Ransom is having a fantastic season with the Buckeyes this year, catapulting his draft stock in his senior campaign. With Damonte Kazee and Keanu Neal struggling, safety could be a spot Pittsburgh looks to address early in the draft.
“Ransom is a good cover corner in single-high and two-high alignments but would fit quite well as the deep safety in single-high with Minkah Fitzpatrick making plays down near the line of scrimmage. Ransom has allowed just three receptions on eight targets into his coverage and can also play in the slot and come down in the box,” Spielberger wrote.
So far, Ransom has 26 tackles and an interception on the year for the Buckeyes as their iron man in the secondary. Last year, he racked up 74 tackles. Ransom has splash play capabilities while only notching two interceptions in his career; he has ten pass deflections and three forced fumbles. That’s the stuff the Steelers look for in their back-end players.
The Steelers could look to trade for a safety, too. That position is usually one of the more accessible spots to find help during the trade deadline as teams look to move off-depth safeties who are not playing or have expiring contracts they do not expect to retain. Pittsburgh, if they want that, should be able to find someone. If not, the free agent market will be plentiful with quality safeties. In the same article, Spielberger threw out Giants safety Xavier McKinney as a trade target in the last year of his deal.