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Study: What Pittsburgh Looks For In Drafting Outside Linebackers

For our final study on the topic, we’ll go through the history of outside linebackers the Pittsburgh Steelers have drafted, identify trends, and apply them to this year’s group of linebackers.  Under Mike Tomlin, they have taken seven outside linebackers.

2015: Bud Dupree

Height: 6’4
Weight: 260
Arm Length: 32 5/8
Hand Size:9 3/4
40 Time: 4.56
Ten Split: 1.60
Vertical: 42
Broad: 11’6″
Short Shuttle: N/A
Three Cone: N/A

2013: Jarvis Jones

Height: 6’2/3
Weight: 245
Arm Length: 33
Hand Size: 9 1/8
40 Time: N/A
Ten Split: N/A
Vertical: 30.5
Broad: 9’3″
Short Shuttle: N/A
Three Cone: N/A

2011: Chris Carter

Height: 6’1
Weight: 248
Arm Length: 33
Hand Size: 9 3/8
40 Time: 4.67
Ten Split: 1.64
Vertical: 36
Broad: 9’6″
Short Shuttle: 4.34
Three Cone: 6.98

2010: Jason Worilds

Height: 6’1/2
Weight: 254
Arm Length: 32 7/8
Hand Size: 9 1/4
40 Time: 4.72
Ten Split: 1.62
Vertical: 38
Broad: 9’6″
Short Shuttle: 4.29
Three Cone: 6.95

Thaddeus Gibson

Height: 6’2
Weight: 243
Arm Length: 33
Hand Size: 8 3/4
40 Time: 4.79
Ten Split: 1.69
Vertical: 32
Broad: 9’7″
Short Shuttle: 4.27
Three Cone: 6.84

2008: Bruce Davis

Height: 6’3
Weight: 245
Arm Length: 34 1/4
Hand Size: 10 1/8
40 Time: 4.50
Ten Split: 1.50
Vertical: 33.5
Broad: 10’3″
Short Shuttle: 4.03
Three Cone: 6.70

2007: LaMarr Woodley

Height: 6’1/4
Weight: 266
Arm Length: 32 7/8
Hand Size: 9 7/8
40 Time: N/A
Ten Split: N/A
Vertical: 38.5
Broad: 9’9″
Short Shuttle: N/A
Three Cone: N/A

My criteria is as follows

– Be at least 6’1, 240+ pounds
– Arm length of at least 32 inches
– Hand size of at least nine inches
– Sub 4.8 40 time
– Sub 1.7 ten split
– 9’5″ broad or greater
– Sub 4.35 short shuttle
– Sub 7.0 three cone

And the rationale for those.

– Of the seven outside linebackers, all were at least 6’1
– All seven weighed at least 240 pounds
– All had arm length of at least 32 5/8 inches
– Four of the five with official times ran a 4.75 or better. All ran a sub 4.8
– Four of the five ten splits were 1.65 or better. All were sub 1.7.
– Vertical did not have much of a correlation
– Six of the seven had broad jumps of at least 9’5″
– All four had sub 4.35 short shuttles
– All four had sub 7 second three cones

The problem is that not a single OLB checked every box. Several players came close but fell because they simply didn’t participate in the agility drills. About half didn’t participate in the short shuttle and well more than half didn’t in the three cone.

So for the sake of being able to create a list, we aren’t going to count the agility drills in this next table, because none of these participated in it. This will be for players who hit every other box.

Name Height Weight Arm Length Hand Size 40 Time Ten Split Broad Jump
Stephen Weatherly 6’4/3 267 34 1/2 10 1/4 4.61 1.59 9’9″
Kyler Fackrell 6’5 245 33 1/4 10 1/8 4.72 1.62 10’1″
Leonard Floyd 6’5/5 244 33 1/8 10 1/8 4.60 1.60 10’7″

Floyd is all over the board. Some think he’s a top 15 guy, others consider him a fringe first rounder. But there’s no denying that metrically, he’s a one of the top athletes of his position. Fackrell could be off the board in the third and Weatherly is a late round pick, though his athleticism at that weight is noticeable.

If you’re wondering if any outside linebacker met the agility drill criteria, throwing out everything, else the answer is no. Only three linebackers overall ran a sub 7 three cone; again, hardly anyone even participated. Those three were all inside or off ball linebackers.

This marks the last position we’ll look at. The rest do not have enough of a sample size for me to work with. So we end with 37 players who “fit.” I will list them below, by position, so we can recap and put a bow on this thing. Hope you enjoyed this breakdown.

Wide Receiver: 

Trevor Davis
Malcolm Mitchell
Marquez North
Josh Doctson

Offensive Tackle:

Tyler Johnstone
Jack Conklin
Jason Spriggs
Caleb Benenoch
Brandon Shell
Alex Lewis
Halapoulivaati Vaitai
Le’Raven Clark
John Theus
Stephen Nembot

Offensive Guard:

Connor McGovern
Germain Ifedi
Vadal Alexander
Matt Skura
Landon Turner

Defensive Line:

Joel Heath
Ufomba Kamalu
Chris Jones
Robett Nkemdiche

Inside Linebacker:

Blake Martinez
Nick Vigil

Outside Linebacker: 

Stephen Weatherly
Kyler Fackrell
Leonard Floyd

Cornerback:

Eric Murray
Briean Boddy-Calhoun
Maurice Canady
DeAndre Elliott
James Bradberry
Jalen Ramsey
LeShaun Sims
Sean Davis

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