Top three NFL draft-eligible safeties in the Big Ten for 2022

·3 min read

It is never too early to talk about the NFL Draft, and one of the most polarizing and fun positions to discuss is the safety position. As we said in the cornerback piece, the Ohio State football program makes a solid argument as DBU (or BIA as it may) with historic names like Malik Hooker, Vonn Bell, and Donte Whitner once roaming the Buckeye defensive backfield.

The safety class in the Big Ten is a little underwhelming with the departure of former Northwestern star, Brandon Joseph, entering the transfer portal and heading to Notre Dame. I also had high hopes for Marcus Hooker as he showed flashes, but failed to stick and opted to transfer to Youngstown State. Enough talking about who left and let’s focus don’t the top three in the Big Ten.

Lathan Ransom, Ohio State - 6-foot, 1-inch, 205-pounds

Ohio State Buckeyes safety Lathan Ransom (12) is carted off the field with an injury during the second quarter of the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. on Jan. 1, 2022.
College Football Rose Bowl

Everyone is sleeping on Lathan Ransom, because he suffered a serious leg injury that kept him out of every spring practice and this is a fair stance considering the safety position is so deep and his projection in the defense is foggy, but he received the third most snaps of any of the Ohio State safeties last season and when healthy he is dynamic.

Ronnie Hickman, Ohio State - 6-foot, 1-inch, 205-pounds

Ohio State Buckeyes safety Ronnie Hickman (14) during the NCAA football game at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Ind. on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021. Ohio State won 54-7.
Ohio State Buckeyes At Indiana Hoosiers

Ronnie Hickman is a versatile athlete who is likely going to play a more free safety type of role this season after playing a more physical role last season. Hickman is a productive player who could thrive even more in 2022.

Ji'Ayir Brown, Penn State - 5-foot, 11-inches, 204-pounds

Jan 1, 2022; Tampa, FL, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions safety Ji’Ayir Brown (16) intercepts the ball in the end zone during the first half against the Arkansas Razorbacks during the 2022 Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium. Credit: Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

It would not be shocking to see Ji’Ayir Brown elevate to All-American status this season. As a sophomore, Brown tied the FBS lead for interceptions with six and he is looking for even more in 2022. Brown plays the field safety role in the Penn State defense.

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Story originally appeared on Buckeye Wire