The Pittsburgh Steelers have come to terms with rookie linebacker Travis Feeney, their 6th round pick out of Washington.
Rookie signings are essentially pro-forma exercises following the institution of the rookie wage scale as part of the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement. Nonetheless, it is good to get players under contract quickly.
The Kevin Colbert, Mike Tomlin, and outside linebackers coach Joey Porter think highly of Travis Feeney, whom they did not still expect to be on the board in the 6th round. During his time in Washington, Feeney made 247 tackles and sacked the quarterback 15 and a half times and during his seinor season he registered 8 sacks and made 17 tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
- That’s an impressive college record, but Feeney’s biggest challenge begins now.
Travis Feeney must carve a roster spot out of a depth chart headed by James Harrison, Jarvis Jones, Bud Dupree, Arthur Moats and Anthony Chickillo. That’s one defensive player of the year, two first round draft picks, and a veteran whose contract runs through 2017. Hope to it rook!
Steelers 6th Round Linebackers Set Precedent for Success
As daunting as Feeney’s task might seem, linebackers drafted in the 6th round have a strong pedigree with the Steelers.
Vince Williams was a 6th round pick and he ended up starting as a rookie (although he struggled.) Eric Ravotti and Bryan Hinkle were also 6th round draft picks. The most accomplished Steelers linebacker drafted in the 6th round was Steelers legend Greg Lloyd.
Greg Lloyd’s situation was somewhat similar to Travis Feeney’s, in that he joined the Steelers and found himself looking at a depth chart headed by Brian Hinkle and Mike Merriweather who then owned the Steelers single-season sack record. Super Bowl veteran Robin Cole was also on the roster, although Chuck Noll and Tony Dungy had moved him to inside linebacker by that point in his career.
Lloyd’s rookie season was lost to a torn ACL, but when he returned for the second half of 1988, Greg Lloyd played well enough to make Merriweather, then in a season-long hold- out, expendable.
- Can Travis Feeney retrace Greg Lloyd’s footsteps?
That’s up to him, but he can rest assured that Keith Butler and the rest of the Steelers coaches will give him a fair shot.