When will the Pittsburgh Steelers target a safety in the NFL draft?
The NFL Draft is this Thursday with every team at a fever pitch filling out their draft boards. The Steelers are looking to upgrade their struggling defense, but which is the biggest area of need? One position the Black & Gold could target is safety.
Currently the only safeties with experience on the defense are Mike Mitchell, Robert Golden and Shamarko Thomas. Adding another safety into the fold could not only be a depth move, but provide immediate impact to the defense. One safety the Steelers have met with is Boise State’s Darian Thompson.
This former Bronco comes into the league after being a four year starter in college. He left Boise as the all-time leader in school history with 19 interceptions. Thompson ended his career with 209 total tackles, 15 for loss and 1 sack, earning first team All-Mountain West his senior season.
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Where this safety excels best is in coverage. Thompson will try to make difficult interceptions and will undercut receivers on throws. However, he is not afraid to play near the line of scrimmage. Will fight through blocks and traffic to make a tackle on the ball carrier, Thompson will even take on offensive lineman trying to set the edge.
Thompson has struggled letting receivers get behind him in coverage. His risk taking will make coaches insane; can be very undisciplined at times. He will have to improve his overall technique in the NFL and while need to show more awareness.
Though he will need some development initially, Thompson has the potential to be a starting safety in this league. The Steelers could take a chance on him on Day 2 of the draft, that is if the team has not already taken a safety early in the draft.