The annual scouting combine will be getting underway in Indianapolis in two weeks and you can bet the edge rushers who participate this year will certainly have the full attention of the Pittsburgh Steelers contingent.
During his talk with the media this past week, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert talked briefly about the edge rushers in this year’s draft class.
“We think there is a good group (of outside linebackers),” Colbert said, according to Chris Bradford of the Beaver County Times. “But again, 90 percent of them are playing with their hand on the ground (as defensive ends) in college. Until we get into the combine and put them through pass drop drills and see their personal workout on their pro day, that could maybe give us more evidence of their ability to play in the 3-4.”
While none of what Colbert said is a bit surprising, it just goes to show once again how much the Steelers value edge rushers who have the athletic ability to drop into coverage in addition to rushing the passer. This year, you can’t help but to immediately think about Auburn edge rusher Carl Lawson when it comes to players who already have experience playing without their hand on the ground.
Lawson, in case you didn’t already know, has been referred to as a film junkie. He posted 24 quarterback hurries and nine sacks this season.
Lawson has been regularly viewed as a 2017 top-40 selection by several major media draft analysts for several weeks now and a good showing by him in Indianapolis and at his pro day should solidify that. He obviously isn’t the only athletic edge rusher in this year’s draft class and we should be profiling quite a few more of them between now and the end of April.