Steelers 2011 Draft Needs: Linebacker

The Pittsburgh Steelers boasted the NFL’s best linebacking corps in 2010.

James Harrison continued to wreak havoc on opposing backfields, despite playing much of the year with a herniated disc. LaMarr Woodley likewise followed suit, and succeeded in extending his streak to recording a sack in each post-season game that he’s played.

How good was the Steelers linebacker play in 2011? Consider this:

It has long been-well documented that the NFL allows opposing offensive lineman to hold James Harrison with tacit (or perhaps explicit) instructions to officials not to throw flags. In 2011 the league went a step further, and began targeting James Harrison for selective enforcement of its get tough policy on hard-hitting.

James Farrior bounced back after a subpar 2009 and the only question is this How long can Farrior defy father time?

Lawrence Timmons led the team in tackles, and while his Splash plays might have tapered off from the furious pace he began in at the beginning of the year, no one questions why Mike Tomlin drafted him with his first selection as coach.

Larry Foote returned and stepped up and delivered when he was needed, cheerfully accepting his role. Jason Worilds and Sylvester Stevenson didn’t do a whole lot on the field, but both made plays on special teams – which is exactly what you want to see.

Farrior’s age, Woodley’s impending free agent status and Harrison’s back mean that the Steelers cannot ignore this position in the draft, but they can back-burner or at least side-burner it to more pressing priorities.

  • Draft priority of defensive line for the Steelers in 2011: Low, but certainly not nil.

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2 thoughts on “Steelers 2011 Draft Needs: Linebacker

  1. here’s an interesting stat for you that helps support your assessment that the steelers don’t view LB as that big of a need: out of the 38 players the steelers supposedly had private workouts with, only 3 were LB’s and 2 of those 3 were part of the pitt players group the steelers brought it (steelers brought all draft eligible pitt players in since it doesn’t count against their total).

  2. Tim,

    Interesting point. We’ll see. While more depth at LB would be nice, I think it takes a back seat to other needs.

    Thanks for commenting.

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