Buy Or Sell: Steelers Likely Set At OLB After Genard Avery Signing

With the 2022 new league year, the questions will be plenty for quite a while, even as the Pittsburgh Steelers spend cash and cap space and use draft picks in an effort to find answers. We don’t know who the quarterback is going to be yet—even if we have a good idea. How will the offensive line be formulated? How will the secondary develop amid changes, including to the coaching staff? What does Teryl Austin bring to the table—and Brian Flores? What will Matt Canada’s offense look like absent Ben Roethlisberger?

These sorts of uncertainties are what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).

Topic Statement: The Steelers are likely set with their plans at outside linebacker following the addition of Genard Avery.

Explanation: The Steelers have quite a number of needs, both large and small, heading into the draft later this month, and they only have seven picks to do it. They have tried to fill as many holes as possible in free agency, and with the signing of Genard Avery, have seemed to replace Taco Charlton as their top reserve outside linebacker.


The Steelers only added Melvin Ingram a year ago for two reasons: it was a depleted market and he was an injured veteran coming off of a down year, and they had cap space at a time that they didn’t anticipate after having to take the course of action of releasing David DeCastro. They used the cap savings from his release to not only sign another starting guard, but to add a quality third edge rusher.

That’s not what they normally have, however. Genard Avery is their Anthony Chickillo type. And they also have John Simon, whom they added late last season. Simon is a very experienced player with more than 3,000 defensive snaps under his belt. Plus, Derrek Tuszka seemed to show promise late in the season. That’s five outside linebackers right there, with depth both in quality and quantity roughly typical to their norm.


Edge rusher is never a position you turn a blind eye to or stop trying to improve. This is a situation where the Steelers might say that they are “comfortable” entering the season with Avery and Simon as their top two reserve outside linebackers, but at the same time looking around for how else they might be able to upgrade the position.

While it is true that they have a number of needs to address in the draft, there’s a good chance that a best player available scenario will arise in which the best player available is an outside linebacker. If that is the case, I would expect them to pull the trigger. It’s not as though Alex Highsmith has yet established himself as the prime LaMarr Woodley to T.J. Watt’s James Harrison, either.

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