Buy Or Sell: Forget Mark Robinson: Steelers Need To Draft Another Starting ILB

With the Steelers’ 2023 offseason underway following a disappointing season that came up just short of reaching the playoffs, it’s time to begin reloading, through the free agency process, through the draft, and perhaps even through trade.

This is now a young team on the offensive side of the ball, though one getting older on defense. Both sides could stand to be supplemented robustly, including in the trenches—either one. Changes have been made to the coaching staff, even if not all of the desired ones, as the roster continues to renew with the weeks ticking by.

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: Forget Mark Robinson: the Steelers still need to add a starting inside linebacker through the draft.

Explanation: While fans and beat writers have exclaimed hopes of the 2022 seventh-round pick developing into a starter at inside linebacker, Pittsburgh has already added two players who are likely to start ahead of them via free agency. But it’s unlikely that both—perhaps either—are long-term answers, and this draft has some enticing, if not elite prospects at the position.


There are no Roquan Smiths or Tremaine Edmundses in this draft class, but the Steelers don’t have them on the roster, either. Elandon Roberts and Cole Holcomb both have the feel of bridge starters who will last until they can be upgraded in a best-case scenario.

Roberts is little more than a two-down thumper. Holcomb, who has the athleticism, doesn’t have the production and consistency to be a player you want on the field for 4,500 snaps over the next four seasons.

It’s time for Pittsburgh to find its next potential great linebacker, something it hasn’t had since Ryan Shazier’s career-ending injury. And it’s not something they’re going to find in free agency. They have to draft him. Insert your own favorite name here, but the Steelers have to pull the trigger and draft him.


While last year’s platoon left something to be desired, the second level can only play as well as the front provides. There is nothing wrong with the idea of addressing the inside linebacker position in the draft, but it might be more valuable to add instead to the defensive line.

As far as Mark Robinson goes, the likely upside is a wash between himself and Roberts. But could he potentially develop into a solid starting two-down linebacker? Sure. He’s not going to be a 1,000-snap player. But that doesn’t mean Holcomb can’t be. He has talent, and perhaps in the right system he can excel at a level above what he’s had the opportunity to show.

To Top
error: Alert: Content is protected !!