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Mock Draft Monday: Steelers take lesser known linebacker in Round 1

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The Pittsburgh Steelers are in need of linebackers, and in the latest mock draft they select a lesser known ‘backer with their Round 1 pick.

NCAA Football: Penn State at Temple Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

There is no denying the Pittsburgh Steelers need for linebackers. Although most would agree getting a pass rusher is paramount for the team’s success in 2017, there can also be an argument made the team could look for an inside linebacker to help replace, or be the heir apparent to, Lawrence Timmons.

What some might be forgetting is how the Steelers’ defense has morphed the past few seasons. They have moved away so far from their base 3-4 defense it is hardly ever used anymore. Instead, the defense has relied primarily on sub packages to counter what the modern day offenses in the NFL have been doing.

This relies on athletic, and versatile, linebackers who can both cover, and rush the quarterback. Bud Dupree and Ryan Shazier are both of the mold the team looks for in their linebackers. Fast, athletic, and the versatility the team desires in their sub packages.

With this a known fact, in the latest SB Nation Mock Draft by Dan Kadar, they have the Steelers taking a lesser known linebacker named Haason Reddick from Tempe. A player former teammate Tyler Matakevich spoke extremely high of during the 2016-2017 season.

Take a look at what Kadar had to say about the pick:

30. Pittsburgh Steelers: Haason Reddick, LB, Temple

Reddick was the pick for Pittsburgh in the post-Senior Bowl mock draft, and he continues to make sense. His fit with the Steelers as a movable linebacker is perfect.

Should they draft a quarterback? Even though backup Landry Jones is a free agent, Pittsburgh is fine at the position with Ben Roethlisberger, with Zach Mettenberger being the No. 2. This could change dramatically a year from now if Roethlisberger’s retirement talk comes up again.

It is understandable if a lot of fans haven’t heard of Reddick. He doesn’t carry the pedigree of most pass rushers in a very crowded NFL Draft class; however, this could equate to him being available when the Steelers pick 30th in the first round.

Here is a glimpse of what Reddick brings to the table, per his NFL.com draft profile:

Strengths

Explosive, quick-twitch athlete. Great flexibility with loose hips to turn, twist, and chase. Excellent reactive quickness and change-of-direction agility. Dynamic playmaker in space. Locks onto targets and instantly accelerates to the ball. Finished 2016 regular season with 21.5 tackles for loss. Fluid mover around field. Has chase range over extended territory. Eyes work past blockers and into backfield. Slips and slides around the edge and through small creases. Always working feet into improved positioning after contact. Came in as a defensive back and has experience on all three levels. Has athleticism in space and necessary instincts to be legit cover talent as linebacker. Rushes with good bend and forward lean. Difficult to handle on tackle/end twists back inside. Turns corner with tight track to quarterback once he pries the edge open.

Weaknesses

Undersized by NFL standards for position he's currently playing. Labors to disengage once size is on top of him. Will need more play strength to ward off NFL blockers. Improving with hands, but needs to continue technique work to control blockers. Lacks necessary bulk, length, and play strength to set a strong edge as an NFL 3-4 outside linebacker. Marginal speed-to-power ability. Connects and sticks to tackles when trying to bull-rush under their pads. Pass rush reliant upon athletic talent and cursory hand play. Needs more diversified rush plans. Slides off of too many tackles. Missed 16 tackles over final two seasons at Temple. Needs to chest-up and run feet through contact. Played in fewer than 70 percent of team's defensive snaps.