The Steelers haven’t actually made a splash yet (mostly because free agency doesn’t begin until March 10th), but they’re certainly making ripples by announcing the signing of CFL standout DE/OLB Shawn Lemon and LB Ian Wild.
This “leave no stone unturned” mentality is quite exciting to see coming from the Steelers front office.
Ian Wild played for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL after he was undrafted out of Mercyhurst University in 2012. He was originally signed by the Buffalo Bills but was waived later on.
Wild is listed at 6’0″, 208 lbs. while playing as a linebacker for the Blue Bombers. With that size, he’ll most likely be converted to safety later during the offseason.
Wild seems like a down to earth guy, despite his name. “I say to myself in my head, ‘Do the right thing” he said. “Do that extra set. Do some extra work.”
He certainly has the blue collar, hardworking attitude of his hometown of Pittsburgh.
Wild seems like a good fit for the Steelers. He understands that to succeed, you must take the difficult road, the one less traveled. It is refreshing to see someone like him take the situation by the horns, and not let it get to him.
Wild recorded 69 tackles, one sack , and a 54 yard fumble recovery for a touchdown in his first year with the Blue Bombers in 2013. 2014 saw him record 73 tackles and three sacks. Not too shabby at all for an undersized linebacker.
Despite all this, I mostly see him as just a camp body who isn’t likely to make it through the final wave of cuts.
DE/OLB Shawn Lemon was undrafted out of Akron in 2011. In his 2014 season, Lemon found success as he had 13 sacks and tied a CFL record for eight forced fumbles.
Now, in my honest opinion, I think the Steelers have something here. He shines as a beacon of hope to an uncertain outside linebacker situation.
Lemon is listed at 6’2″ and 250 lbs. That seems like an ideal size for an OLB in the Steelers defense. It may come as a surprise to some people when they see his explosive first step after the snap.
I see Lemon making a run to see time as a starter. I know it’s waaaay too early to even begin to say that, especially since we don’t know how he’ll fare against NFL caliber offensive lines. Nevertheless, Lemon has talent and the Steelers would be wise to exploit it.
stats are courtesy of cfl.ca, laxmagazine.com, and profootballtalk.com.