ILB Cole Holcomb – I’m Ready To Get Hurt Again

It’s not Cole Holcomb’s fault. Really, it’s not. On the surface, the Pittsburgh Steelers signing Holcomb to a three-year deal is a good and necessary move, their inside linebacker room looking shallow with Devin Bush and Marcus Allen hitting free agency and Robert Spillane surprisingly getting a solid deal from Las Vegas. It didn’t leave much for Pittsburgh to work with.

I’ve gotten my hopes up before. And like Michael Scott, I’m ready to get hurt again.

Pittsburgh’s been down this path. Many times. Ever since Ryan Shazier’s tragic injury, the team has thrown plenty of options at the wall. Nothing’s stuck.

There was Mark Barron. And Jon Bostic. They traded for Avery Williamson and Joe Schobert. And most recently, Myles Jack. The first four never made it more than one season with the team. Jack seems poised for a second year though it’s doubtful there will be anything beyond that.

Holcomb will try to escape the same fate. On the surface, it seems like he has a shot. He’s still only 26, has been a solid starter, and is regarded as a good athlete and well-rounded player, though how well he can cover is debatable. But I’ve talked myself into these guys before. Jon Bostic’s really downhill against the run. Mark Barron’s a former safety – that’s interesting! Ok, for real, Myles Jack is this team’s answer. 

Signing Holcomb is fine. Maybe even good. Something the team needed to do after losing Spillane. I’m not bashing it. Eventually, the team will have to address the position through the draft. And sure, they’ve had their misses there, too. Devin Bush is an obvious one, but Buddy Johnson was a terrible whiff, drafted two years ago and now entirely forgotten. At least Mark Robinson shows promise and could be part of the defensive rotation in 2023. Building via the draft is still on the board, spending one of their top three picks and trying to find a stud at the position. Exiting the draft without someone like that will feel like a disappointment.

There’s no question it’s a hard position to evaluate. Pittsburgh asks a ton out of its guys. Fit the run, cover, and they’ve shopped for that three-down player to no avail. Holcomb will be next in a long list of names who have tried and failed before. Of course, those failures have no impact on Holcomb. Just because they struggled doesn’t mean he will too. But I’m going to be more patient this time around. Still hoping for the best but we’ve read this story before. And it’s ended with the team swinging and missing.

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