The Pittsburgh Steelers entered this league year with 12 players scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency, and another three players who would be restricted free agents. They ended up retaining five of those unrestricted free agents in addition to tendering all three of their restricted free agents.
Pittsburgh also added help from outside of the organization at running back, but suffered two free agency losses, one to another team and the other to retirement. The Steelers also released two players, while five of their unrestricted free agents remain unsigned.
The organization has been clear throughout recent weeks that the organization has essentially wrapped up all meaningful free agent activities. Perhaps there may be a modest addition or re-signing or two in the secondary between now and the draft, but now is a good time to take a look back and see where each position started at the beginning of the process and where it is now leading up to the draft.
Position: Inside Linebacker
Total Positional Figure: 6
Offseason additions: 0
Offseason losses: 0
Lawrence Timmons: The Steelers have considered Lawrence Timmons a Pro Bowl player for several seasons, but the league didn’t deem him so until last year. While deserving, it wasn’t his best year, but that wasn’t helped by an unusual dip in tackling reliability toward the beginning of the season. His coverage work also took a hit, but I didn’t see an obvious drop in play that would suggest a trend.
Ryan Shazier: Ryan Shazier obviously had a disappointing rookie season, but it will be in year two that we see how much of that disappointment was due to injuries. He did flash some here and there when he was on the field. He was handed a starting job last year, but he’ll have to earn it this time.
Sean Spence: Last year, Sean Spence was an unknown. This year, he is competing for a starting job, and logged over 500 snaps after missing two years of football. From a physical standpoint, he’s only entering year two.
Vince Williams: By the end of the year, the Steelers worked out a rotation in which Vince Williams was the subpackage linebacker because of his play against the run. He’d like to stay on the field for good this year.
Terence Garvin: After two seasons, Terence Garvin has shown everything he needs to show as a special teams player, and that has been enough to keep his roster spot. Can he show something on defense? Given the crowd in front of him, it will be hard to even get an opportunity.
Jordan Zumwalt: Limited to one preseason game as a rookie before spending the year on injured reserve, Jordan Zumwalt has a mountain to climb just to make the roster. But as long as he remains healthy, he should at least have a chance. If he proves capable on special teams, he should at least stick on the practice squad.
Notes: This is the deepest position on the team, and no, they’re not going to trade any of them, even if it makes sense. At least, it seems rather unlikely that they will. It really wouldn’t make much sense to even draft anybody here at this point.