Mike Tomlin is comfortable with having just three outside linebackers on the roster.
But when pressed, he didn’t rule out adding another one of those guys.
“I didn’t say that. I just said I was comfortable,” Tomlin replied at his press conference, with a smile, when asked if the team would stand pat with what they have at the position. “I’m not going to disclose my plan. I’m just comfortable.”
Tomlin usually bristles when asked about adding a certain player or position. But he couldn’t helped but hide his grin when asked, perhaps a signal the team will reach outside the organization to bolster their depth.
He did, however, say he has confidence in the three currently on the roster: T.J. Watt, Bud Dupree, and Anthony Chickillo.
“I am,” Tomlin initially said when asked if he was comfortable with those three.
If the Steelers do add, could it be John Simon?
Simon was a surprise cut this weekend by the Indianapolis Colts. Indy themselves admitted how difficult of a cut it was and a rare moment, in their words, of sacrificing the “win now” mentality in order to keep players who can help in the future. It makes him arguably the best outside linebacker on the market, especially since the Steelers don’t seem to have any interest in say, former Browns OLB Nate Orchard, scheduled to visit with two other teams this week. Pittsburgh had clear interest in Simon coming out of Ohio State, bringing him in for a visit back in 2013. He’s been praised for his work ethic and versatility.
Regardless, whoever the #3 and beyond are on this team are bit pieces to the main event. Watt and Dupree need to have big years and will play the vast majority of the time, as first round picks often do. Double-digit sack campaigns from both guys would be huge to a defense that simply didn’t get enough production off the edge in 2017.
The Steelers do have Matthew Thomas, who we wrote about this morning, as a possible EDGE candidate. They also kept a pair out outside linebackers on the practice squad, holding onto Keion Adams and Farrington Huguenin.