Are you currently convinced that the Pittsburgh Steelers are destined to spend their first-round draft pick this year on an inside linebacker? If so, I wouldn’t bet your house or car on that ultimately happening.
As Alex Kozora already referenced in an earlier Wednesday post, the Steelers don’t see this year’s off-the-ball linebacker draft class as being one loaded with can’t-miss talent. General manager Kevin Colbert is one of those Steelers people and he said as much Wednesday afternoon.
“There’s a few impactful players, not a lot, but there’s a lot of numbers at that position,” Colbert said during a Wednesday interview on Steelers Nation Radio when asked if this year is a good year for inside linebackers as far as the draft is concerned. “The guys may have one talent – they are better against the run, they’re better in coverage, they’re better chasing and those types of things. There’s a lot of guys that have individual talents that we may have to sort through, but impactful players, no, there’s not a ton of those at that position. That’s one of the leaner spots.”
With the Steelers scheduled to pick 28th overall in the first-round, it’s easy to speculate that the few impactful inside linebackers in this year’s draft class such as Roquan Smith and Tremaine Edmunds will already have been selected by the time Pittsburgh is on the clock. In short, the Steelers can’t gamble that they’ll be able to draft an inside linebacker to their liking in the first few rounds this year and this is why many of us have speculated the team will address the position early during the free agent signing period.
Should the Steelers ultimately sign a pricey inside linebacker to take over for Ryan Shazier during the start of free agency, it certainly would take the pressure off that particular position come the draft. I wrote about this very topic several weeks ago and how I expect the Steelers to not only sign a free agent linebacker this offseason, but draft one as well.