The story of the legend, the draft pick and the underdog

USA TODAY Sports

The outside linebacker tradition is going to be carried on by someone in Pittsburgh. But that someone has usually been the unexpected candidate.

The ultimate underdog on an underdog team had better be hungry.

Imagine, a team letting a franchise legend go, and drafting an alleged replacement in the first round. The underdog sits back and reads all the hype of the draft pick, and the analysis involving the alleged front-runner to replace the legend.

The legend is gone, the underdog doesn't have the high draft pick label, but has a fair amount of experience within the defense.

If that legend is Joey Porter, and the draft pick was Lawrence Timmons, that would make the underdog James Harrison in 2007. It worked out well for Harrison, who ended up the team's MVP that year. Timmons battled injuries early in his career, and the short-lived experiment with him on the outside didn't fully materialize until 2011 (when he replaced injured OLB LaMarr Woodley).

It would seem, then, the legend now is Harrison, who has since signed with the Cincinnati Bengals. The draft pick is Jarvis Jones, the highest-drafted outside linebacker in franchise history.

The underdog isn't Jason Worilds, though. It's Adrian Robinson.

Worilds, a second-round pick in 2010, is among the highest drafted OLBs the team has ever had. Robinson fits the Harrison mold; undrafted, unheralded, not even in the conversation of replacing anyone early in his career, looking to make his mark on special teams.

Worilds only had four special teams tackles in 2012. LOLB LaMarr Woodley, who's job is generally thought to be unchallenged, only had four sacks in 2012, and turns 29 in November.

Who fits the underdog role better than Robinson, whose offseason is off the radar in the same way the B-2 Stealth Bomber is off the radar - completely undetected.

Robinson highlighted a hyped group of undrafted free agents in 2012, including Robert Golden and 2011 undrafted free agents Will Johnson and Josh Victorian. Unheralded players looking to prove the ability of the Steelers' scouts to continue a rich tradition in finding diamonds in the proverbial rough; looking to move past the legend of Harrison and perhaps write a chapter of their own.


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