Being as three of the Pittsburgh Steelers four outside linebackers that ended the 2014 season on the 53 man roster will be unrestricted free agents come March, there’s a lot of uncertainty regarding not only who will start opposite Jarvis Jones in 2015, but also who will be on the team to back those players up.
Because of all of that uncertainly the team faces at the outside linebacker position, several are wondering if there’s a chance inside linebackers Ryan Shazier and Vince Williams can make a move to the outside. During his Tuesday end of the season press conference, head coach Mike Tomlin was asked if there are any linebackers on the roster that currently play inside could move outside.
“No, there’s not anybody that bowls me over in terms of they’re seeping with potential as outside linebackers,” said Tomlin. “There are guys that are capable of providing us quality snaps there, but those guys are where they are right now in terms of natural positioning. It doesn’t mean that I’m not going challenge people to have position flexibility, you know that we do that. You know that we value that. It helps us. So we won’t move away from that approach.
“But as I sit here today, there is no outside linebackers that are seeping with outside linebacker capabilities. Now, I may be surprised, that’s the beautiful thing about it. I know that by the way we approach our business, we’ll always give guys an opportunity to show flexibility and prove us wrong in a lot of ways and we routinely are. And that’s OK.”
If the Steelers aren’t able to retain Jason Worilds and James Harrison decides to retire again, the spot opposite Jones will need to be filled. In addition to that, Jones still hasn’t proven that he can be a longtime starter at the position. And, if Arthur Moats is re-signed, he would more than likely be asked to play a backup role once again. There might be a few bargain free agents the team can go after during the offseason, but regardless, I would still expect the Steelers to spend an early draft pick on an edge rusher.