There is no denying the Pittsburgh Steelers need help at inside linebacker. After Devin Bush, Vince Williams, Ulysees Gilbert III and Robert Spillane, the cupboard is literally empty. But the type of inside linebacker they target very well could determined a lot about their draft plans.
The Steelers could use versatility at the inside linebacker position for their sub packages. A player who is adept in coverage, but is big enough to play around the line of scrimmage too.
Mark Barron was supposed to fill that role for the Steelers, but after one year his released ended his brief stint with the team. Could the team find another type player in the 2020 NFL Draft? One type of player reportedly met with the Steelers before Pro Days were shut down due to the coronavirus.
That player was none other than LB Austin Hall of Memphis.
#Memphis LB Austin Hall held a Pro Day. He's had communication w/ the #Steelers, #Colts, #Chiefs, #Cowboys, #Raiders & #Bills. #Packers & #49ers have also reached out.— Justin M (@JustinM_NFL) April 4, 2020
Incredible numbers. https://t.co/TEW0qhieNG
For those who don’t know much about Hall as a player, check out this blurb from SB Nation’s Niners Nation:
Hall has been a versatile defensive piece for the Tigers over the last four years. Originally, Hall came in as a 185-pound defensive back. After redshirting his first year, he became a four-year started at their STAR position, which is a safety/linebacker hybrid.
As a first-time starter, Hall collected 56 tackles, 7.5 tackles-for-loss, three pass breakups, and recovered a fumble. In 13 starts as a sophomore, he had a career-high 84 total tackles (second on the team) with eight tackles-for-loss, one sack, three interceptions, five pass breakups, and a fumble returned for a touchdown.
He once again started every game as a junior but saw a minor dip in production after posting 63 total stops. He still managed a career-best nine tackles-for-loss, 1.5 sacks, six pass breakups, two forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries. In my opinion, Hall’s final year as a Tiger saw him put together his most-productive season across the board. He amassed 75 total tackles, another nine tackles-for-loss, a career-high 2.5 sacks, a pair of interceptions, six pass breakups, two more recovered fumbles with one of those going for a touchdown.
There are prospects like this across the NCAA landscape, and they all could find a spot on the Steelers’ roster after the draft at the end of April. Does this player need to be the top pick for the team? I don’t think so, but a part-time player who is capable of playing right away could come as an early day 3 pick in Rounds 3-5.
What do you think about Hall, or the prospect of the Steelers targeting this type of player for their sub packages? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the draft in just a few short weeks.