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Chris Carter placed on injured-reserve, hurting Steelers' depth at outside linebacker

A unit that's not producing sacks anywhere close to what it did in its AFC Championship season in 2010 will need to address the outside linebacker position in the 2013 NFL Draft.

Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

Depth will continue to be a concern for the Steelers' linebacking corps.

Outside linebacker Chris Carter went from opening day starter to injured-reserve, as the team shut him down this week with an abdomen injury. Marshall McFadden was signed from the practice squad to take his place.

Carter had eight tackles and one pass defensed this season. The 2010 fifth-round draft pick from Fresno State missed significant time in 2011 with a hamstring injury.

His inability to stay healthy raises concerns for the Steelers in the future. With James Harrison owed around $10 million next year, and the investment the team made in Jason Worilds (2010 second-round pick) it seems unlikely Harrison will return next year. Put Worilds into the starting lineup opposite LaMarr Woodley - another player with problems with injury - and Carter would appear to be the primary back-up.

With another draft still to come between now and then, it seems logical the Steelers would make outside linebacker a priority, but the question is with which pick would they address it?

Since injuring his hamstring in Week 8 of the 2011 season, Woodley has three sacks, all coming this season.

Harrison will deal with the aftermath of knee surgery in August all season, and only has one sack and no forced fumbles this season.

The Steelers have 51 sacks in their last 35 regular season games after having 48 in the 2010 regular season.