The Pittsburgh Steelers have several needs to address this offseason, and when it comes to specific positions, the hierarchy can fluctuate. The top two will always remain the same, inside linebacker and safety, but after those top two it is anyone’s guess as to which positions should be addressed after.
Wide receiver has been discussed, as well as tight end, offensive and defensive line but the position most aren’t talking about is outside linebacker.
After drafting T.J. Watt in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, and Bud Dupree in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, the team should be set at the position, right?
While the Steelers’ defense is changing and doesn’t require those crucial bookend pass rushers most fans remember, if they could get some help off the edge, it certainly wouldn’t hurt.
Assuming the team isn’t going to be thinking outside linebacker on Days 1 or 2 of the 2018 NFL Draft, who are some Day 3 pass rushers who would fit the mold? There several, but Shaquem Griffin of University of Central Florida (UCF) caught everyone’s eye at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Griffin ran a blazing 40-yard dash time, and put up incredible numbers on the bench press and other drills. Oh yeah, and if you didn’t know, he doesn’t have a left hand.
Could the Steelers take a run at Griffin in the late rounds of the draft? Anything is possible, but one thing not going in Pittsburgh’s favor is their lack of a 6th round draft pick. Griffin is projected to be a 5th or 6th round selection, and I’m not sure the team will be willing to go as high as Round 5 to make this selection.
Anyways, if you don’t know much about Griffin, check out the awesome video above, as well as his strengths and weaknesses per his NFL Draft Profile:
Possesses good athletic ability. Smart player who processes the game plan and executes. Attacks face-up blockers with maximum arm extension to keep his frame clean. Carries some upper body power at the punch. Asks for no quarter and gives none. Looks to punish as hitter. Impressive total of 13 passes defensed on 42 targets. Instinctive with the talent to play 3-4 inside backer and 4-3 outside backer spots. Has intriguing burst when edge rushing. Accelerates quickly off the snap and can outrace some tackles to the edge. Posted 18.5 sacks over two years as an outside rusher and blitzer. Plays fast uses good technique.
Linear and high-cut. Needs to play with more consistent knee bend. Could use more mass and lower body strength. Contact balance is below average when challenged by power. Disengaging from blocks is a challenge. Unable to make quick exits when play-side shoulder covered by a blocker. Felled by cut blocks. Little margin for error as tackle finisher. Target point as tackler can be a little high. Allowed four broken tackles this year.
DRAFT PROJECTION: Round 5-6
So, if you are Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin, do you take a run at Griffin? Do you see if he could be a late round pick to help get your team some energy on special teams and in specific pass rushing situations? Let us know in the comment section below!