The Steelers had a major void to fill at inside linebacker last offseason. They only addressed the position at the draft with Buddy Johnson in the fourth round.
After Vince Williams retired in July, the need became more dire, especially with Devin Bush coming off ACL surgery. As a result, the team acquired Joe Schobert from the Jaguars. The cost wound up only being a sixth-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Schobert’s first season (and maybe only) in black and gold left a lot to be desired. In his end-of-season press conference, coach Mike Tomlin discussed Schobert and his 2021 performance.
“I’m appreciative of his efforts. There were aspects of his game obviously that I wish were better,” Tomlin said Tuesday via the Steelers’ website. “I guess that I could have that evaluation tone about most anyone you ask about. But just in terms of anticipation, I don’t know that I had a lot of anticipation because of the nature of this acquisition was what it was like.”
Schobert had some career lows as a starter in 2021, including sacks (0), tackles for loss (2), and QB hits (1). Schobert struggled in coverage as well, something that was universal amongst the linebackers.
With a large base salary of nearly $9 million in 2022, no one would be surprised if the Steelers opt to move on from him. The move always seemed to be a temporary one, and ILB will likely be addressed in the draft and/or free agency.
“You know, I don’t know that I had a hardcore preconceived notion about what to expect from him. He wasn’t a part of team development, it was an acquisition of opportunity.”
Figuring out Devin Bush and his talents is likely at the top of the priority list as well for the Steelers. In other words, a starting spot for Schobert in 2022 is all but guaranteed. That’s particularly the case with his rather large contract.
For now, the team’s linebacker situation is too much in flux to move on from Schobert. If the team does find a solution they’re comfortable with though, Schobert is likely out of Pittsburgh.