2021 Offseason Questions: How Comfortable Are Steelers In Their OLB Depth?

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2020 season is now in the books. It ended in spectacular fashion — though the wrong kind of spectacular — in a dismal postseason defeat at the hands of the Cleveland Browns, sending them into an early offseason mode after going 12-4 in the regular season and winning the AFC North for the first time in three years.

Since then, they have lost several players in free agency who were key members of the offense and defense. Multiple starters retired, as well. They made few notable additions in free agency, and are banking on contributions on offense from their rookies, as well as perhaps a last ride for Ben Roethlisberger.

The only thing facing them now as they head into 2021 is more questions. Right now, they lack answers. They know that they have Roethlisberger for one more year, but was that even the right decision? How successful can Najee Harris be behind a questionable offensive line? What kind of changes can Matt Canada and Adrian Klemm bring to the offense? And how can the defense retain the status quo with the losses of Bud Dupree, Steven Nelson, and Mike Hilton?

These are the sorts of questions we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football is a year-round pastime and there are always questions to ask, though there is rarely a concrete answer. This is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all of their uncertainty.

Question: How much do the Steelers believe in their depth at outside linebacker?

So far this offseason, the Steelers lost starter Bud Dupree and reserve Ola Adeniyi to free agency at the outside linebacker position. They re-signed Cassius Marsh, whom they acquired late last year, but did not retain Jayrone Elliott. The only other notable addition that they made to the position was Quincy Roche as a sixth-round pick.

So basically their outside linebacker depth chart consists of T.J. Watt as the superstar, Alex Highsmith as the young hopeful getting a shot to show that he can be a starter, and a journeyman veteran and late-round rookie.

That doesn’t sound too great on paper outside of Watt. But regardless of what the case may be, what do the coaches think about what they have? How much do that believe in Marsh and Roche, and their ability to play effective snaps if needed this season?

Of course, there is always the possibility that they have some former undrafted player emerge as a contributor, which has not been uncommon for the Steelers at this position. Adeniyi went undrafted a few years ago, for example. Christian Kuntz has been around a bit. Jamir Jones and Jamar Watson were added on the Pro Day circuit. Calvin Bundage is an inside-outside guy signed after the draft.

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