There’s going to be plenty of chatter about the Pittsburgh Steelers’ OLB spot this offseason. Whether or not to pick up Bud Dupree’s 5th year option. If the Steelers should make another heavy investment in the position during the draft. Whatever else happens in the James Harrison saga.
Lost in all that are a pair of names who, admittedly, won’t be counted on for much, but offer depth and potential: Keion Adams and Farrington Huguenin.
Adams is the name you’ll remember of the two. Drafted in the 7th round last year, he strung together a couple of impressive practices before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury. Despite landing on IR, he seemed active and engaged during games, I inevitably saw him at the front of the sidelines nearly every week, and he should be fully recovered for OTAs and minicamp.
At Western Michigan, he flashed a quick first step and turned it into production with 18 TFL and 7.5 sacks his senior season. This year, he’ll have a chance to make the 53 man roster. Harrison is gone, naturally opening up another spot, and Arthur Moats is set to be a free agent. Even if he is brought back for the minimum, Adams is the better athlete, has the fresher legs, and could have the upper hand.
Then there’s Huguenin. He’s been an obscure face to most of Steelers’ Nation, probably chalked up to a “camp body” but spent all of camp and the entire regular season on the team’s practice squad. His camp was actually solid, unfortunately stuck behind the vets in Deebo and Moats. In my camp recap, he earned a B- with me writing the following.
Farrington Huguenin: A player with a bit of experience and some intriguing athletic ability, he’s practice squad material. Like his get off and change of direction ability. Maybe faded a bit as camp went on but nothing about his game is terrible. Not the strongest at the POA but shows technique to keep his outside arm free as the force defender. There’s a little something there I’d like to see more of.”
Of course, he’s still going to be outside-looking-in when the team shows up to Latrobe. But he knows the system, is clearly well-liked by the coaching staff after sticking there all season, and there is an opportunity to capture the #4/5 OLB spot.
The offseason could complicate all those things. There’s a good chance the team adds to the position in the draft, though where exactly that could happen is up for debate, and if not, there will certainly be some UDFAs brought in.
If Adams can make a strong case to land on the 53 and Huguenin follow up on what he did last year, the Steelers’ depth at the position will be secure. Unfortunately, the starters are a bit of a different story.