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Thread: A look at our Linebacker situation

          
   
   
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  1. #1
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    BlackGold4vr's Avatar
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    A look at our Linebacker situation

    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.

    Last edited by BlackGold4vr; 04-09-2007 at 10:27 AM.
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  2. #2
    House of Steel
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    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.

  3. #3
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    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.

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    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!!!!

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    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    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 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.

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    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.

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    Starter steelcitysfinestXL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TOP GUN View Post
    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 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.

  8. #8
    House of Steel
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    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.

  9. #9
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    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

  10. #10
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    Thank you, Kyle, for kicking my *** about getting a Punter, Sheesh, I got a brain overhaul today.

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