Take it with a grain of salt but at least one outlet is keeping a close eye on Pittsburgh Steelers’ OLB James Lockhart. Bleacher Report named the most exciting undrafted free agent for every team and settled on Lockhart for the black and gold.
Author Kristopher Knox wrote:
“A beefy 6’2” and 263 pounds, Lockhart does indeed spark memories of [James Harrison] as a player. With time, he could spark memories of him as a producer on the field.
Lockhart racked up 31 tackles, 6.0 sacks and 8.5 tackles for a loss in 2019. He should have a good chance of cracking Pittsburgh’s pass-rushing rotation as a rookie.”
Hopefully Lockhart resembles Harrison on the field and less off it (especially lately). But Knox’s optimism is probably too much for even the most cheerful Steelers’ fan. Lockhart is obviously behind TJ Watt and Bud Dupree and the team selected Alex Highsmith in the third round. Highsmith is the most likely option to be the #3 but he’ll battle Ola Adeniyi and Tuzar Skipper for that right.
Lockhart is just looking to squeeze onto the 53 man roster. Still, there’s intrigue he can be a camp sleeper. Here’s what our Tom Mead had to say about him in our UDFA report.
“He showed positives as both a pass rusher and run defender. There were a couple pass rush moves that really got my attention and showed the potential he does possess. The strength this there to set the edge and with improved technique could become a strength. Lockhart’s high motor and effort could fit on special teams as well. He needs to work on countering during his pass rush, not losing sight of the ball and must improve getting off blocks.”
While Pittsburgh has plenty of relative unknowns behind their starting edge rushers, there’s also a lot of talent here. It stands to reason someone – Highsmith, Adeniyi, Skipper, Lockhart, – steps up and takes charge of the backup role, giving the Steelers quality pass rush depth. That’s important for the present and for the future, knowing Dupree’s currently playing on the one-year franchise tag.