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2023 Offseason Questions: Will Steelers Add Vet OLB Before Regular Season?

The Steelers are now in their offseason after failing to reach the playoffs in 2022, coming up just a game short of sneaking in as the seventh seed. They needed help in week 18 and only got some of it, so instead they sat home and watched the playoffs with the rest of us.

On tap is figuring out how to be on the field in January and February instead of being a spectator. They started out 2-6, digging a hole that proved too deep to dig out of even if they managed to go 7-2 in the second half of the year.

Starting from the end of the regular season and leading all the way up to the beginning of the 2023 season, there are plenty of questions that need answered, starting with who will be the offensive coordinator. Which free agents will be kept? Who might be let go due to their salary? How might they tackle free agency with this new front office? How might they tackle the NFL Draft? We’ll try to frame the conversation in relevant ways as long as you stick with us throughout this offseason, as we have for many years.

Question: Will the Steelers add a veteran outside linebacker before the start of the regular season?

If there is one position group on the Steelers’ roster that still looks pretty thin coming out of the 2023 NFL Draft, then I think a lot of people would agree it would be the outside linebackers. While they did draft a player in the fourth round whom they say will start out at outside linebacker, general manager Omar Khan confirmed earlier this week that they do view fourth-round pick Nick Herbig as a position-fluid linebacker who could end up playing inside.

And who do they have outside of Herbig behind starting outside linebackers T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith? Well, Quincy Roche is the name most people will recognize. He was the Steelers’ sixth-round pick in 2021, but they released him in favor of Jamir Jones, who is now gone (and who in the interim was himself released for Derrek Tuszka).

Roche is back, but he’s not exactly somebody you want to hand the number three job to. And nobody can guarantee that Herbig is going to be sufficient for that role if we’re not even sure the Steelers will leave him there. The only other names are Chappelle Russell, Emeke Egbule, and David Perales, the last one a rookie college free agent.

If you haven’t heard of them before, don’t worry. You probably won’t need to know their names much longer.

It’s hard to imagine the Steelers would be satisfied exiting training camp with Herbig and Roche locked in as their outside linebacker depth. Even last year they made an attempt to bolster the position by trading for Malik Reed just before the season started.

Reed didn’t work out the way they hoped, of course, but one would imagine there’s a good chance the Steelers will feel similarly about their depth at the position this year if they don’t add somebody else. If Herbig doesn’t light up training camp, I would bet money that they will add somebody else, if they haven’t already done so long before then.

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