The Steelers defense missed Ryan Shazier greatly after his devastating injury on December 4th in 2017. They didn’t adequately address the ILB position in both the draft and free agency. Jon Bostic was serviceable, but wasn’t enough. L.J. Fort played honorably, but he might not be enough, and his contract is up as well. This year, they have cap space to look outside the organization.
Here is a look at what is currently available at this crucial position.
C.J. Mosley - Baltimore Ravens
No. 57 for the Steelers greatest rival was picked two slots later than Shazier. While he never became a clone of Ray Lewis, the former member of the Crimson Tide became the leader of the defense. With a career best top 11 % ranking in run-stopping, the four-time Pro Bowler erased the stigma that he was a pass-coverage liability by allowing career lows in YAC and YPR.
Jordan Hicks - Philadelphia Eagles
Hicks should be a top priority for the Eagles to resign. He has become a pillar of the Phily defense. The former third-round selection is equally adept as a run stopper and a coverage linebacker. Hicks has nine career picks.
Patrick Onwuasor - Baltimore Ravens
His name may be tough to pronounce, but the name of the Raven LB is easily rolling of the tongue of GMs across the league. The three-year man from Portland State was the most productive out of a talented stable of Raven LBs. Onwuuasor had 5.5 sacks last season and could be a great find for any team in the league, including Pittsburgh.
Corey Littleton - Los Angeles Rams
Littleton had a Pro Bowl season in 2018 after a breakout year that saw him achieve 125 tackles and four sacks. Littleton was phenomenal in the playoffs too. The RFA could be enticing to teams after last season, but could he be a one-season wonder on a great defense? Being restricted, a team would have to give up a pick. Littleton could be worth that for Pittsburgh.
Other Notable Available Inside Linebackers
Denzel Perryman - Los Angeles Chargers
Manti Te’o - New Orleans Saints
L.J. Fort - Pittsburgh Steelers
Deone Bucannon - Arizona Cardinals
Kwon Alexander - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jake Ryan - Green Bay Packers