By Jeremy Hritz
The Pittsburgh Steelers are in need of a safety in this year’s draft, in addition to several other positions. While it is not as much of an immediate priority as outside linebacker, wide receiver, and running back, it is a position that they will address in later rounds.
A safety prospect that could be on the Steelers radar that is currently projected to go in the third round is Georgia’s Bacarri Rambo. Rambo measures in at 6’1, 215 pounds and is reported to run a 4.54 40-yard dash. He is described as a big hitter and an instinctual player, but most importantly, he was extremely productive at his position in creating turnovers. In four years at the University of Georgia against quality SEC competition, Rambo collected 16 interceptions, returning three of them for touchdowns, averaging 18.3 yards per interception return. Rambo even made a pick in yesterday’s Senior Bowl.
Rambo’s ball skills are something that has been missing for quite some time in the Steelers secondary, and if given the time to develop and grow into the complex Dick LeBeau 3-4 defense, he has the potential to be a fixture in the secondary.
So what’s the catch and why is Rambo not projected to be taken off of the board until the third round?
Firstly, because of his aggressiveness and desire to make the big hit, he comes in high and misses tackles, and the element of his game that makes him special, his tendency to make picks, can also hurt at times as he takes chances.
And oh yeah, there are the suspensions, too.
In 2011, Rambo was suspended for one game when he was pulled over and a joint was found in the purse of a girl that was riding with him. And then again in 2012, Rambo was suspended again for four games for failing a drug test, something that he has stated was an accident, and his story is quite bizarre. Rambo told his high school football coach Alan Ingram that while on Spring Break in Panama City Beach, he woke up hungry and happened to find a plate of brownies in the kitchen where he was staying. According to Ingram, he ate two brownies and began feeling high. He asked a friend who was on Spring Break with him about the brownies, and he informed Rambo that they did have marijuana in them.
Quite the story, but according to Ingram, he believes that the incident was an accident, and he has gone on record to say that Rambo has never lied to him before.
Would the Steelers be willing to take a chance on a player like Rambo if he happens to be available when they pick in the third round? While the team made poor decisions in selecting Alameda Ta’amu and Chris Rainey in 2012, they seemingly were successful with their decision to select Mike Adams who also had a fondness of marijuana prior to his career in the NFL.
There is no denying that Rambo is a playmaker, and he has the type of skillset that the Steelers need. The biggest question is whether or not his poor decisions in college will follow him into the NFL.
Below is some video on Rambo from the game against Alabama.