Plenty of Question Marks at ILB for Steelers

052913-NFL-Pittsburgh-Steelers-Sean-Spence-PI-BR_20130529151527454_660_320When trying to predict the Steelers’ off-season moves, you first have to determine where the holes are.

In most cases it’s not all that hard to determine. The teams is pretty set on the interior of the offensive line, and nobody would argue against finding another cornerback.

Probably the hardest position to guess at this point is the inside linebacker position next to Lawrence Timmons.

If you keep up on your draft talk every year, you know that the ILB position is one that many have expected the Steelers to address over the years.

In the 2010 draft many experts expected the Steelers to go after Rolando McClain out of Alabama. That never happened because the Raiders shocked everyone by selecting him in the top 10.

In 2012 there were even stronger indications that the Steelers would select another Alabama product Dont’a Hightower to replace Larry Foote. Rumors are that was the plan until the highly polished David DeCastro fell to the Steelers.

You may recognize a pattern coming here. Now, in the 2014 draft there happens to be a very good ILB prospect out of the University of Alabama name C.J. Mosley that very well could be the best player available at the 15th pick in round 1.

Mosley is tailor-made for today’s pass happy NFL. He possess great athleticism and awareness in pass coverage, but is also big enough to handle the middle against the run game.

Mosley and Timmons would give the Steelers one of the most versatile and athletic duo’s inside in the NFL.

The question is, do the Steelers need him? Assuming the Steelers don’t release Larry Foote, they will have Foote, Vince Williams, and Sean Spence under contract in 2014.

Larry Foote is likely in his last season. He’s a dependable veteran but seriously lacks athleticism.

Vince Williams was drafted in the 6th round last season, and was probably expected to contribute on special teams… if he even made the roster. Williams not only made the team, but started most of their games at ILB.

Williams had a very solid season all things considered, but was often replaced by Troy Polamalu on passing downs. The Steelers “big nickel” package is great to have in your arsenal but it’s not something you want to have to rely on. I love Williams when he’s coming downhill but I wonder if he can ever be a 3 down guy.

Sean Spence was highly drafted (3rd round) in 2012. The story on him out of college was that he was undersized but had the instincts and athleticism of a first rounder. I think most of Steeler nation knows where we are with him.

Spence was close to returning late this season, so I would expect him to be ready to go for training camp. The worry with Spence is that his game heavily relied on his speed… The question now is will he ever look like he did at the U?

It’s definitely a tough position to be in. If you draft a guy like Mosley it’s almost like wasting those picks on Williams and Spence (other than for depth). However, going forward with who we have would likely be a big risk.

I will say in this regard, the Steelers probably know better than most of us what they have in Vince Williams and Sean Spence. They definitely have plenty of options, it’s just which one could possibly get them back to the Superbowl?

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6 comments on “Plenty of Question Marks at ILB for Steelers

  1. You’e forgetting about Terrance Garvin. Garvin & Williams will only get better and I don’t see Spence playing on this team. I’d rather take a CB who can start day one Like Dennard or Gilbert. However if Khalil Mack slips in the draft(he won’t) They’ll probably snatch him up.

    It seems the biggest issue becomes when do they select the players of need/bpa. They need a WR,CB,FS/SS, OLB,OL,TE. WHo can they trade to pickup an additional 2nd or 3rd rounder? Woodley?

    • I’m not forgetting Garvin. I think a lot of fans get over-enamored with guys at the bottom of the roster because they played well in camp, or on special teams. I remember when everyone said Crezdon Butler would be some stud cover man based on a few preseason plays.

      Garvin at this point is a solid special teams player. The Steelers can’t make any sort of plans assuming Garvin will ever see the field on defense.

  2. I would love to see a safety in round 1. I really feel that clark has seen his last days I the black n yellow but if we dont get a safety then yes cj would be my next pick

  3. Ha Ha is the pick at 15 we need a FS. Sharmarko is a SS and ha Ha is the #1 FS and overall safety in the draft. If he is gone and Mosley is there u take him he is an all pro ILB. There is no if or buts about him best ILB in draft we have The opportunity to grab the best player available at the position at 15. We can grab a wr in rd 2 Robinson from penn state was a best this yr

    • I’m with you. Haha (man that is a stupid name) and Shamarko would compliment each other well…

      The problem is will he be there? The Rams could use a safety and pick twice before we do. Their 2nd pick is too high for him but they’ve traded down in every draft with their current GM… And 13th is a nice spot for Haha.

      …The good thing is there’s a lot of talented guys that I like in this first round, one of them will be there.

  4. Pingback: State of the Steelers: Linebacker » Steel City Blitz

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