There will be quite a few excellent safeties available in the 2016 draft. Should the Steelers go that route, they will have plenty of attractive options who could transform the aging secondary into a consistently impactful game-changer week after week. Unfortunately, a common theme among some of these players is injury, something the Steelers will want to avoid after the disappointment of second round pick Senquez Golson.
Here are a few players to research, or check-in on, as you watch college football on Saturday:
Nate Andrews & Jalen Ramsey of FSU
Two of the best options at safety are Nate Andrews and Jalen Ramsey of Florida State. At 5'11" and 204 pounds, Andrews has eight tackles and one pass defensed so far this year. He is suffering from a deep bone bruise and will not play in Saturday's game.
Ramsey stands 6'1" and weighs 204 pounds. In 2014 he had 79 stops, 9.5 tackles for a loss, 12 passes defensed, and two interceptions. While Ramsey is versatile and has played cornerback, he will likely play safety in the NFL.
Florida State plays the University of Miami at home on Saturday, October 10 at 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC
Elijah Shumate of Notre Dame
Shumate is 6'4" and 225 pounds. He hits hard, tackles effectively, provides effective run support, and performs well in coverage both against receivers and tight ends. Schumate needs to improve this year to show he is worthy of a draft pick. His athleticism and physicality are huge assets, but he has appeared confused and slow to react in the past.
Notre Dame hosts Navy at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. The game will be broadcast on NBC.
Karl Joseph of WVU
Karl Joseph could stand to add some bulk to his frame at 5'11" and only 197 pounds. West Virginia's schedule is not as difficult as other teams', but his stats are impressive nonetheless. He already has 20 tackles and five interceptions in four games this season. Joseph has fallen victim to the injury bug, and is out for the season with a knee injury.
West Virginia plays the Oklahoma State Cowboys at home on Saturday, October 10, at 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
OSU Vonn Bell
The Steelers love their Ohio State players. Ryan Shazier and Cam Heyward are two Buckeyes who have made a smooth adjustment to the NFL. Vonn Bell is a dynamic player with great ball skills, good speed, and excellent instincts. In 2014 he had 92 tackles, six interceptions, and six passes defensed.
Ohio State plays the University of Maryland at home at 12:00 p.m. on the Big Ten Network.
Su'a Cravens of USC
Su'a is a hybrid linebacker and safety, similar to Troy Polamalu and Ryan Shazier. He often plays in the box, but is great in coverage as well. While he lacks the speed of Polamalu, he could be a good option for the Steelers if he continues to improve throughout the season.
USC played Washington on Thursday night.