When it comes to inside linebacker and the 2014 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers find themselves in somewhat of a unique position relative to other position areas.
Like other position the Steelers need to improve. Like other positions both the quality and quantity of the ’13 roster was found wanting. And, like other positions, the Steelers have question marks.
- But unlike other position areas, the Steelers question marks at inside linebacker, actually might work in the team’s favor.
How can this be, you ask? It is fairly simple. At offensive tackle, if Mike Munchak can’t coax better play out of Marcus Gilbert, the Steelers have issues. If he can, Gilbert may be gone ala Keenan Lewis. Mike Adams remains, of course, but he himself is a question mark.
The Steelers needs at outside linebacker are similarly colored. If the Steelers can lock transition player Jason Worilds down to a long term deal, their need at outside linebacker in the 2014 NFL Draft drops greatly. If they don’t, they need to think of using a pick there, earlier than later.
- At inside linebacker, things are a little different.
Lawrence Timmons is the class of the unit, and barring injury should be one of the top defenders. Vince Williams is the incumbent starter, and Williams struggled in 2013 as a rookie in Dick LeBeau’s defense. But Williams improved.
There are those who say he’ll never be strong against the pass, and to that the Steelers potentially have an answer in Terence Garvin, who aside from establishing the he can hit, was working his way into the third down package before he got injured.
- The real X Factor here for the Steelers is Sean Spence.
The Sean Spence showed a lot to like before his injury in the summer of 2012, and the Steelers clearly believe he has still has the potential to develop into something or they would not have carried him on their roster all of this time.
It would be a mistake for the Steelers to count on Spence, but the beauty of the situation is that they don’t have to.
If Spence can contribute that will only be a plus for the Steelers, if he can’t, then they’re no worse off than when they started. Garvin and Williams will both likely get better and improve the Steelers situation at inside linebacker.
As has been said before, these are a lot of if’s and when you have so many if’s its time to draft someone. But the Steelers needs at inside linebacker are neither urgent nor do they need to be addressed early, therefore they must be considered moderate-low.