Bleacher Report Tabs Linebacker As Steelers’ Biggest Offseason Need

With the NFL season over, we are now officially in the off-season. With the offseason comes the need for teams to address their needs; this could be via draft or free agency. For the Steelers to hit the next level and become true contenders, they will need to sort out a few positions, cornerback, offensive line, and linebacker come to mind.

Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report seems to agree, but specifically believes the Steelers’ biggest need this offseason at the linebacker position. Knox believes due to the Steelers’ offensive line’s improvement this past season, and the many pending free agents in the linebacker room, that linebacker is the greatest need for the team.

“With zero starters headed to free agency, the Pittsburgh line should remain intact,” wrote Knox. “Things are much different for the linebacker corps, though, as Devin Bush, Robert Spillane, Malik Reed, Marcus Allen and Jamir Jones (exclusive rights) are all slated to reach the market.”

While you can say that losing Bush, Spillane, and Allen aren’t huge losses due to their skill level and production, either way, those are three inside linebackers that may possibly not be on the team. That leaves only Mark Robinson, who is going into his second year, and Myles Jack on the active roster who pay inside linebacker. Simply put, not only do they need to get better there, but also they need depth.

With a chance to improve at that position this offseason, Knox believes Pittsburgh should focus on linebackers who are good in coverage, something that has been a liability of the Steelers’ linebacker corps for years.

“Pittsburgh will need to reload the position, ideally with linebackers who can cover—the Steelers ranked 25th in net yards per pass allowed (6.5) last season.”

For the Steelers, already having Robinson who projects as more of a run-stopping linebacker, grabbing a linebacker who excels in coverage may be the perfect pairing for him. If head coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Omar Khan believe Robinson is the Steelers’ future at inside linebacker, then we may not see them spend big on that position in free agency, and instead opt for second and third-tier free agents to provide depth. If they don’t view him as the future, then maybe the team makes a splash in free agency and grab someone like a Germaine Pratt.

Linebacker is definitely a need, and if none of Allen, Bush, or Spillane come back, expect Pittsburgh to not only pick up a linebacker or two in free agency, but also use a draft pick there. Then throw in the need for a backup EDGE rusher, which makes the linebacker position even more urgent. While the hot talk right now in mock drafts is cornerback or offensive line, don’t expect the Steelers to ignore their need at linebacker.

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