Home 2014 NFL Draft LeBeau Can No Longer Afford to Sit Rookies

LeBeau Can No Longer Afford to Sit Rookies

by Steeldad

Dick Lebeau will be back in 2013, as long as Mike Tomlin wants him.If you take a man at his word then both Ryan Shazier and Stephon Tuitt will be given every opportunity to play on the defensive side of the ball early and often in 2014.

The man who speaks this word is Dick LeBeau and we should have absolutely no reason to doubt him.

By drafting for speed and depth at the same time, the Pittsburgh Steelers may finally be coming around to the paradigm shift that has been sweeping the NFL for the last couple of seasons. That shift involves speed and speed as you know kills.

While defensive back was not addressed until the fifth round, the front seven was. It’s obvious to me that Dick LeBeau is finally recognizing that he can no longer afford to sit his rookies because there is no one to sit behind. They must be in the field and they must be disruptive to opposing offenses.

Even with the added depth, the Steelers are still thin enough to the point where rookies will need to be significant factors on the defensive side of the ball. Ignoring this fact would be ignoring just how poorly this defense has devolved.

While I appreciate the effort of Vince Williams who was launched into duty upon the injury of Larry Foote in 2013, he should be surpassed by Shazier quite quickly. It’s believed that Shazier will play the Mack while Lawrence Timmons moves to the buck. I expect to see Shazier early and often.

For his part, Tuitt has very little in front of him and based on what I’ve seen he should claim the starting defensive end spot quite early in 2014.

While nothing will be handed to either player, they weren’t drafted to sit the bench. That particular method of Dick LeBeau’s must and should go the way of the do-do bird. These young men need to play.

Should we find ourselves watching Tuitt and Shazier Stan on the sidelines throughout the 2014 season then at least we’ll know just how bad things are in the Steel City.

And how much change is truly needed.

Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns steelcityblitz.com. He can be heard weekly on Trib-Live Radio and his work also appears on ESPN970 in Pittsburgh.

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