Thursday, May 1, 2014
Draft position needs: Outside linebacker
By Scott Brown
PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers have nine picks in the 2014 NFL draft and this is the sixth in a series that looks at the nine positions they could address in a week. Keep in mind that the Steelers are likely to draft two cornerbacks so they may not take a player at every position covered in this series.
Skinny: The Steelers have to replenish one of the most important positions on their defense as the outside linebackers on their roster have a combined 24 career sacks -- less than half of what Woodley produced in seven seasons in Pittsburgh. Do they take an outside linebacker in the first round for the second year in a row? I don’t think so but they have done their homework on outside linebackers and defensive ends who project as outside linebackers in a 3-4 scheme. UCLA’s Anthony Barr, Boise State’s Demarcus Lawrence, Oregon State's Scott Crichton and Arizona State’s Carl Bradford are among the outside linebacker prospects the Steelers hosted for pre-draft visits. They also hosted Ohio State outside linebacker Ryan Shazier, though I think he projects as an inside player in a 3-4 scheme. The Steelers will take an outside linebacker prospect at some point, and I think one could be in play for them as early as the second round.
Draft likelihood: High
Last OLB drafted by the Steelers:Jarvis Jones first round in 2013
Last OLB drafted by the Steelers in the first round: Jones
Last OLB taken 15th overall in the draft:Bruce Irvin, Seahawks, 2012
OLBs drafted under Kevin Colbert/Mike Tomlin: Six
OLBs drafted under Colbert/Tomlin still with the Steelers: Three