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View Full Version : A look at our Linebacker situation



BlackGold4vr
04-09-2007, 11:24 AM
Dale Lolley
SteelCityInsider.com
*condensed version*

Joey Porter's release prior to the opening of free agency this offseason leaves a void in the Steelers' lineup that could give us a glimpse of where the Steelers may be looking for the most help in this year's draft.

Mike Tomlin has repeatedly stated that he feels James Harrison can step into Porter's spot at outside linebacker and do the job. Harrison has certainly done so for a game here and there in the past. But we haven't seen the 6'0, 242-pound Harrison play the spot on a week-in and week-out basis.

Harrison should be able to match Porter's seven sacks of last season. Rushing the passer is his specialty as he uses his stature to get up under potential blockers and then his impressive power to go through them.

The Steelers, however, also ask their linebackers to do a lot of the run stopping and dropping into pass coverage as well. And there, Harrison may not be up to Porter's level.

On the other side, veteran Clark Haggans recorded nine sacks in just 13 games in 2005, but tailed off to six sacks in 15 games in 2006. The Steelers need a return to form by Haggans in 2007 and must also begin thinking about replacing the 30-year-old at some point in the future.

On the inside, James Farrior and Larry Foote were solid in 2006 as the Steelers ranked among the best run-stopping teams in the NFL. Part of the reason for that was the excellent play of the defensive line, but Farrior and Foote ranked first and second on the team tackles, with 154 and 118, respectively. The duo also recorded four sacks each, while also picking off a pass each.

They aren't the problem on this defense, though again, the Steelers have to start thinking about replacing the 32-year-old Farrior at some point. Farrior is still effective due to his great instincts, but he's obviously lost a step.

There's not a lot of depth behind those four - hence the Steelers flirtations with several free agent linebackers this offseason. Despite all their efforts, the Steelers have been unable to bring in any veteran help at the position and will head into the draft with a group of backups that include Arnold Harrison on the outside and Rian Wallace, Clint Kriewaldt and Richard Siegler on the inside.

As you can see, the depth inside isn't bad - though there's no obvious eventual replacement for Farrior. It's the outside linebacker depth that is lacking.

Arnold Harrison showed some potential in a pair of starts when Porter and James Harrison were out with injuries, but still has a way to go as a pass rusher at the NFL level.

Because of that lack of depth, the Steelers are considering using defensive end Brett Kiesel at outside linebacker at times - especially if they are unable to aquire a top-flight talent at the position in the draft.

Given that we know the Steelers plan to continue running the 3-4 defense, the linebackers will remain one of the focal points of the team. But the Steelers need a difference maker at the position, something that is lacking with the current group.

Because of that, it wouldn't be surprising to see the team select two or even three linebackers in the upcoming NFL draft. It may make the most sense to get somebody who could be ready to play now, even as a situational player to compliment Harrison, while also taking a project later in the draft who may be Haggans' replacement down the road.


2 or 3 linebackers. I think we will take at least 2 linebackers in this draft. Hopefully the first pick and then another on day 2. That first pick will need to be a beast who can step in and contribute right away.

:beer3:

House of Steel
04-09-2007, 11:29 AM
Good article. I swear some people are idiots in here, one says we will draft a WR in the first round (That is just plain insanity) and then the damn mocks saying we are drafting a CB (Stupidity at its finest). I like this plan right here.

BlitzburghRockCity
04-09-2007, 11:53 AM
2 LB's at least IMO, in this years draft. Foote and Farrior are great together I have no problems with either of them.

We do need though for sure. Rian Wallace has potential on the inside but hasn't played much. I'd like to see him get some playing time here and there to spell Farrior or Foote, just so he's got some game experience should we need him to start at some point.

I like Harrison's potential, if he can stay healthy he'll do fine for us. He'll learn about dropping into coverage as he gets time and reps in camp. Haggans has got to step up and be counted on. He's been inconsistent overall IMO, so we need him to show up every week and kick *** for us. Taking a LB on day 1 and another day 2 would be ideal IMO.

steelcitysfinestXL
04-09-2007, 02:59 PM
I like the idea of taking atleast 2 LB's in this draft, i guess im the "idiot" who says we "might" take a WR in round 1. I thik its been proven that a stand out OLB doesnt have to be taken in round 1 or 2. I think there were some GREAT LB's that will slip to the 2-4rounds. ie: Woodley- Mich. DE, Beason-Miami, Shaw-PSU and so on. I think most of the top wr's will be gone by the end of the 2nd round ie: Meacham-Tenn., Jarrett-USC, Bowe-LSU, Smith-USC. With that being said i wouldnt be suprised if we did drat a WR in the first or second. But i do think we should take ATLEAST 2-3 LB's...JUST NO DB'S PLEASE!!!!

BlitzburghRockCity
04-09-2007, 03:02 PM
It's not a matter of being an idiot in thinking that we might take a WR in the 1st round. It's just that not many here will agree with you :lol: Between Ward, Holmes, Wilson, Washington, Reid, and Young, along with any draft picks we get we should be able to field a decent group on sunday afternoons IMO.

steelcitysfinestXL
04-09-2007, 03:08 PM
I like Haggans but even if we did draft Timmons, Willis or any other 1st round guy to play OLB i still wouldnt be suprised if haggans had to battle for his job due to new coaching and declining level of play. I would love to see a first or 2nd round rookie to fill in for Joey and Silverback to replace Haggans. I think its time for him to take a spot on the bench next to Deshea, i think they can still be GREAT back-ups, but they havent done anything the past season to cement they're starting positions.

steelcitysfinestXL
04-09-2007, 03:17 PM
It's not a matter of being an idiot in thinking that we might take a WR in the 1st round. It's just that not many here will agree with you :lol: Between Ward, Holmes, Wilson, Washington, Reid, and Young, along with any draft picks we get we should be able to field a decent group on sunday afternoons IMO.

I agree with Ward at the 1 and Santonio at the 2 maybe Washington at the 4. But My reasoning is being based on Arians wanting to move to more 4 wr sets. I just dont think we have a solid 4 WR's to put out on the field. I like Reid and think he can be a good 3 or 4 guy but we havent got to see him in that capacity due to injuries. Im really not sold on Nate yet, i think he has potential but he seems to drop some easy balls an dropped a couple TD's last year... I wish we would just let Ced Wilson go. He has done nothing in the 2 years he was here (with the exception of a couple catches in the playoff in '06) I have been saying we NEED a big WR to stretch the field, and we NEED to utilize Miller more. The Steelers have been taking the best player available in the last couple drafts. I think everyone is against taking a WR because we have taken a WR and TE with the last 2 first pics. I just think if Jarrett, Bowe or Ginn are available at 15, they might be the most talented players at that point.

House of Steel
04-09-2007, 03:21 PM
WR in the fifth to seventh round would make sense. First Round is LB, Second Round either a RB or another LB, Third Round CB or WR or RB, Fourth Round CB, LB, DB, RB, or WR.

K Train
04-09-2007, 03:24 PM
1st-OLB
2nd-Best RB or WR available
3rd-oppsosite of above
4th-Daniel Sepulveda
5th-some oline training camp meat or Shaw
6/7-Tim Mixon or other corner

House of Steel
04-09-2007, 03:26 PM
Thank you, Kyle, for kicking my *** about getting a Punter, Sheesh, I got a brain overhaul today.

steelcitysfinestXL
04-09-2007, 03:26 PM
Couple that with the season Ben had last year( some of that wast the O-line so im not blaming just him) and the fact that he is a legitimate "Franchise Player" i think his "well-being" might dictate what we do if they player we want isnt available in the first. The Steelers arent thinking like us, they arent sitting at the draft board like "ok Willis is gone, Timmons is gone, so we'll just go with Moss" They might have 2 guys for OLB in mind but the guys they have in mind are gone they arent gonna just take the next guy in line. Im hoping for Timmons myself but i wont be mad or suprised if they took a WR.

steelcitysfinestXL
04-09-2007, 03:29 PM
1st-OLB
2nd-Best RB or WR available
3rd-oppsosite of above
4th-Daniel Sepulveda
5th-some oline training camp meat or Shaw
6/7-Tim Mixon or other corner

that would be a GREAT draft if you would take WR 2nd and RB 3rd!! I like the Baylor kid in there too!! And the giant from IUP as the meat if Shaw isnt around, home town kid who can be a fierce 3rd down pass rusher and ST'er

K Train
04-09-2007, 03:33 PM
i think i would like a RB in the second....hunt, bush, leonard....then a WR....smith, gonzalas in the 3rd.

But RBs in the 3rd might not be bad....Irons, Henry, wolfe.....

Black@Gold Forever32
04-09-2007, 03:38 PM
I wouldn't be against a WR like Bowe in the first round. I don't want Ginn at all. I think Ginn is going to be a very good WR but we have that type of WR in Holmes already.

Now I think OLB is a bigger need and LB depth period is a bigger need then WR but I like drafting best player available instead of need.

After Gaines Adams and Willis the rest of the LB's in this draft doesn't excite me with the 15th pick. I would look to draft Woodley in the 2nd round and draft best player available in the first. Not unless the Steelers want to trade down and then draft Spencer/Moss. But I wouldn't look for Moss since his little weed troubles might force the Steelers to stay away from him.

I don't want Puz at all and I like Timmons at 15 but then I don't. Reports of him being flabby at his work out and the fact Drew Rosenhaus is his agent might play a role in the Steelers passing on him. I really couldn't see the Rooney's dealing with an agent like Rosenhaus. I know the guy represents over 90+NFL players but I don't think any of his clients plays for the Steelers. Maybe I'm way off on my Rosenhaus point but its just a thought.

steelcitysfinestXL
04-09-2007, 03:40 PM
Yeah if Bush, Hunt, or Leonard are they're i would like that pick (and in that order) I think Kenny Irons can be great if he stays healthy along with Bush. I like Smith alot but gonzoles is more of a 3rd or 4th rounder to me.

K Train
04-09-2007, 03:44 PM
im not sure about woodley, he didnt really do much in the senior bowl, it was reported he was afraid of going up against the top players in the nation so he sat at.....we dont need a little bitch, and outside of branch..michigan players are way overrated. Timmons would be a great fit for us, the guy is a monster and he seems to be tomlins favorite so far.

Getting a WR would be great, i just think OLB is way more of a need, but i wouldnt be mad if we got Meachum, Bowe or Ginn....i know we have Santonio already, but him and ginn...thats some serious speed on the field, could be really special.

K Train
04-09-2007, 03:46 PM
Yeah if Bush, Hunt, or Leonard are they're i would like that pick (and in that order) I think Kenny Irons can be great if he stays healthy along with Bush. I like Smith alot but gonzoles is more of a 3rd or 4th rounder to me.

i think gonzalas is VERY underrated, he is very very smart and runs a 4.3 40....he was used as a possesion guy all the time because he was overshadowed by ginn and holmes his entire college career...but he could be special

steelcitysfinestXL
04-09-2007, 03:46 PM
I wouldn't be against a WR like Bowe in the first round. I don't want Ginn at all. I think Ginn is going to be a very good WR but we have that type of WR in Holmes already.

Now I think OLB is a bigger need and LB depth period is a bigger need then WR but I like drafting best player available instead of need.

After Gaines Adams and Willis the rest of the LB's in this draft doesn't excite me with the 15th pick. I would look to draft Woodley in the 2nd round and draft best player available in the first. Not unless the Steelers want to trade down and then draft Spencer/Moss. But I wouldn't look for Moss since his little weed troubles might force the Steelers to stay away from him.

I don't want Puz at all and I like Timmons at 15 but then I don't. Reports of him being flabby at his work out and the fact Drew Rosenhaus is his agent might play a role in the Steelers passing on him. I really couldn't see the Rooney's dealing with an agent like Rosenhaus. I know the guy represents over 90+NFL players but I don't think any of his clients plays for the Steelers. Maybe I'm way off on my Rosenhaus point but its just a thought.

I agree with Most of that. I think you got something with the Rosenhuas thing. I LUV PUZ but in all honestly i think he would be a watse for us as a 1st rounder. He is more of a ILB in our defense and we cant afford to take a ilb in the 1st, too bad though cause i really think he is gonna be the next Urlacher... I not a huge Ginn Jr. fan as a WR right as he is now but i think it might be tempting as a returner paired w/ Reid and a guy that could compete for a 3-4 spot in the depth chart at WR. I like ALOT of second round type guys at LB... Woodley and Beason (might go late 1st) And Shaw at the end of the 2nd day

strong D
04-09-2007, 03:48 PM
with us signing 2 fa linebackers i think that plays into the draft if the guy they want isnt there it gives them the option on taking best available i agree we need a lb but those 2 signings might throw a twist in this

K Train
04-09-2007, 03:48 PM
i'd rather have abiamiri or johnson over woodely.....i think

K Train
04-09-2007, 03:49 PM
with us signing 2 fa linebackers i think that plays into the draft if the guy they want isnt there it gives them the option on taking best available i agree we need a lb but those 2 signings might throw a twist in this

we signed 2 FA linebackers?

strong D
04-09-2007, 03:51 PM
Church and Boiman

steelcitysfinestXL
04-09-2007, 03:51 PM
I like Gonzales better than Ginn Jr. as a reciever at this point, and if im right he did return kicks also... he is a good talent and yeah he may be speacial i would NOT be mad if they took him in the 2nd or 3rd but not ahead of Smith, i think he is gonna be a better NFL player.

House of Steel
04-09-2007, 03:52 PM
Mahan and who the hell is the other dude?

House of Steel
04-09-2007, 03:53 PM
Church yeah, I think that dude won't last, who the hell is the other one?

K Train
04-09-2007, 03:54 PM
Church and Boiman

Church is nothing as far as we know, hes a fill in for training camp, first round cut.....boiman, wasnt he one of the colts scrubs?...not exactly impact players

steelcitysfinestXL
04-09-2007, 03:54 PM
Church is a stretch and Boiman is gonna me more of a ST'er in my opinion to replace Morey on kick-off... the only roster guys we have in place to replace Peezy are Silverback and MAYBE Arnold Harrison.

strong D
04-09-2007, 03:54 PM
Rocky Boiman from the COLTS

strong D
04-09-2007, 03:55 PM
Not impact players but it does provide depth

strong D
04-09-2007, 03:58 PM
Everyone thinks Tomlin was at FSU to scout Timmons but they signed Church after the workout maybe he was there to see him

steelcitysfinestXL
04-09-2007, 04:01 PM
[QUOTE=strong D;93930]Everyone thinks Tomlin was at FSU to scout Timmons but they signed Church after the workout maybe he was there to see him[/QUO

ummmm... NOOO:nono:

Black@Gold Forever32
04-09-2007, 04:02 PM
im not sure about woodley, he didnt really do much in the senior bowl, it was reported he was afraid of going up against the top players in the nation so he sat at.....we dont need a little bitch, and outside of branch..michigan players are way overrated. Timmons would be a great fit for us, the guy is a monster and he seems to be tomlins favorite so far.

Getting a WR would be great, i just think OLB is way more of a need, but i wouldnt be mad if we got Meachum, Bowe or Ginn....i know we have Santonio already, but him and ginn...thats some serious speed on the field, could be really special.

Woodley hurt his hamstring at Senior Bowl week. I don't think that makes him a little bitch. He had a great work out at his Pro Day. He is a very good pass rusher so I think he could be effective as an OLB in a 3-4. Now his coverage skills would worry greatly.lol But that would be any former DE trying to make the switch to OLB.

Now Timmon's Pro Day he looked flabby and it was reported he was winded during drills.:bluelol: Red flags anyone? Another red flag to me is Drew Rosenhaus. I couldn't see the Rooney's dealing with an agent like that myself.

BlitzburghRockCity
04-09-2007, 04:02 PM
Arnold Harrison is already on the roster and showed some good promise before he got hurt. I look forward to throwing him into the mix. Neither he or the others we have on stuff inspire any great thoughts IMO so we'll still probably take atleast 2 LB's in the draft. We're a team that needs many top flight LB's in order to run our defense.

strong D
04-09-2007, 04:03 PM
Whats to say not

steelcitysfinestXL
04-09-2007, 04:04 PM
I think Woodley will be a 2nd round steal in this draft hopefully we are the theives!!!!

steelcitysfinestXL
04-09-2007, 04:11 PM
Whats to say not

Just havin a lil fun, but I think when you look at the guys available in the 1st half of the 1st round Willis and Adams will be gone and Timmons is the next best fit for us, i would say Moss but i think his minor (in my opinion) off-the-field issues will bone him if he wants t be a Steeler. I havent seen spencer play so i wont comment but what i have read prob puts him firmly in the mix too!!! I dont think they steelers are banking on church to be contributer. I think they wanted depth and maybe trying to save a lil face after they cut so many draft pics last year this way thats one less guy they dont have to draft at linbacker late in the second day to try to fill the depth chart.

House of Steel
04-09-2007, 04:14 PM
We got some serious brains in this forum for football talks. We could have ourselves a hell of a sports network that would kill the competition. We are better than the damn NFL NETWORK AROUND HERE.

steelcitysfinestXL
04-09-2007, 04:17 PM
We got some serious brains in this forum for football talks. We could have ourselves a hell of a sports network that would kill the competition. We are better than the damn NFL NETWORK AROUND HERE.

:plus1: I always wanted to be Stewart Scott or Rich Eisen when i grew up, yeah that DIDNT happen!!!

House of Steel
04-09-2007, 04:20 PM
I kid you not, we could kick *** with all our debates. People would pay to listen to us do this. We sound like pros at this.

steelcitysfinestXL
04-09-2007, 04:20 PM
Ill tell you one thing we can DEF. put on a better show than "The Nightly Sports Call" or anything else Pompiani and Edmond Nelson do, the reporters and broadcasters around the burgh suck... -minus the great Cope

House of Steel
04-09-2007, 04:23 PM
GOD I MISS MYRON!!! It isn't the same anymore without his Yoi, double Yoi, and Triple Yoi.

BlackGold4vr
04-09-2007, 04:36 PM
with us signing 2 fa linebackers i think that plays into the draft if the guy they want isnt there it gives them the option on taking best available i agree we need a lb but those 2 signings might throw a twist in this

I believe that Marcello Church, LB, FSU was the only linebacker free agent signing. Was there another we don't know about? Church is going to be a special teamer if he even makes the 53 man roster at all. Don't count on it! We still need to draft 2 OLB's.

:steelersrule:

strong D
04-09-2007, 07:50 PM
I believe we signed Rocky Boiman also

K Train
04-09-2007, 07:52 PM
http://www.nfl.com/players/playerpage/301987

they brought him in to get eaten alive in training camp, im not even sure he signed with us, i know he came for a visit

strong D
04-09-2007, 07:59 PM
Maybe your right

BlackGold4vr
04-09-2007, 08:06 PM
I believe we signed Rocky Boiman also

That's the first that I've heard that. According to my sources (scout.com) Rocky Boiman remains unsigned. He did come for a visit but left without a contract.

House of Steel
04-09-2007, 08:08 PM
I was wondering about that and thought I never heard of that signing.

K Train
04-09-2007, 08:11 PM
he sucks anyway

Black@Gold Forever32
04-09-2007, 08:13 PM
he sucks anyway

:bigthumb:I agree

BlitzburghRockCity
04-09-2007, 10:50 PM
He doesn't exactly inspire confidence does he :lol:

House of Steel
04-09-2007, 10:56 PM
:iagree: Oh well.