The 2015 NFL season is officially in the books, and now the majority of fans' attention turns to the upcoming NFL Draft. The Pittsburgh Steelers have holes which need to be filled, and cornerback and safety are two of the biggest holes. Luckily for Pittsburgh, the upcoming draft is filled with capable safeties and cornerbacks at every turn.
In the first round, with the 25th selection, there is a chance the Steelers don't select a cornerback, but rather look to the safety position. If available, they would have to look no further than Boise State safety Darian Thompson. In the latest mock draft by USA Today's Draft Wire, they have the athletic safety going to Pittsburgh in the first round.
See what they had to say about the selection:
25. Pittsburgh Steelers: S Darian Thompson, Boise State Broncos
The Steelers almost never stray from the Power Five conferences when drafting first round players, but for Thompson's well-rounded skill set, they need to make an exception. The Broncos safety is experienced, smart, athletic, and versatile, with the ability to play everywhere from single high to in the box. Thompson's ball skills on the back end and physicality against the run match what Pittsburgh looks for in their safety prospects, making this selection a great fit for a franchise that needs to add help in the secondary.
The 6-foot 2-inch safety has the type of tangible skills the Steelers look for in a safety prospect. Is he the next coming of Troy Polamalu? No, and there will probably never be another Polamalu, but what he could be is a major upgrade from the safeties the Steelers currently have on their roster.
In fact, the only safety other than Mike Mitchell who is set to return in 2016 is Shamarko Thomas. Both Will Allen and Robert Golden are set to hit free agency, and with neither player being the long-term solution alongside Mitchell, Thompson could be that player for years to come.
Coming from Boise State, would Thompson be able to play from Day 1, or would he be considered a project who wouldn't be able to crack the lineup much in his rookie campaign? His scouting report at CBSSports.com certainly lends itself to think there would be growing pains, but he would be capable of playing at a high level next season.
A well-rounded and rangy safety. A tall, linear athlete, he is always on the hunt with an active, fast play style, covering a lot of ground both in coverage and vs. the run. Thompson's aggressive demeanor also leads to missed plays and he needs to be more disciplined and do a better job controlling himself on the move. Nonetheless, the positives outweigh the negatives with Thompson and his versatile skill-set will be appealing at the next level.
Thompson is an intriguing prospect, and one the Steelers will be watching closely when the NFL Scouting Combine kicks off in a few weeks.