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Updating the Steelers depth at outside linebacker after the Melvin Ingram trade

The Pittsburgh Steelers lost some depth by trading Melvin Ingram, so it is time to check who they still have left on their roster.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Coming into the 2021 regular season the Pittsburgh Steelers were in desperate need of outside linebacker help. If you remember, heading into training camp the Steelers had T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, rookie Quincy Roche and second year player Jamir Jones.

That depth chart didn’t invoke much confidence, so the Steelers went out and signed free agent, and veteran, pass rusher Melvin Ingram. Ingram joined the Steelers and took starter repetitions with Watt waiting for a new contract before the regular season started. As we all know, Watt signed that deal before the Week 1 game vs. the Buffalo Bills, but even in that game Ingram was a large part of what the Steelers did on defense.

The three-player rotation seemed like a best-case scenario for the Steelers’ defense, but as the season progressed, Ingram’s role and overall snap totals started to diminish. Before you knew it, trade rumors started to swirl. Finally, on the NFL’s official trade deadline, the Steelers dealt Ingram to the Kansas City Chiefs for a conditional 6th round draft pick.

One of the main reasons why the Steelers felt comfortable with letting Ingram go to an AFC team was the fact they had Taco Charlton on their practice squad for roughly a month. Charlton, who filled in for Ingram during the team’s Week 8 win over the Cleveland Browns, will replace Ingram as the No. 3 pass rusher. But it seemed appropriate to update the Steelers’ outside linebacker depth chart after the Ingram to Kansas City trade.

Official Depth Chart

LOLB
T.J. Watt
Taco Charlton
Derek Tuszka

ROLB
Alex Highsmith
Taco Charlton
Derek Tuszka

Practice Squad:
LB Delontae Scott


Now let’s take a look at the stat lines for the players who are currently on the Steelers’ active roster. Keep in mind, these are statistics for these players’ time in Pittsburgh only.

Stats:

T.J. Watt
Games: 6
Tackles: 27
Sacks: 8.5
Forced Fumbles: 3
INT: 0
TFL: 8
Pass Defenses: 3

Alex Highsmith
Games: 6
Tackles: 25
Sacks: 1.5
Forced Fumbles: 0
INT: 0
TFL: 4
Pass Defenses: 0

Taco Charlton
Games: 1
Tackles: 0
Sacks: 0
Forced Fumbles: 0
INT: 0
TFL: 0
Pass Defenses: 0

Derrek Tuszka
Games: 5
Tackles: 4
Sacks: 0
Forced Fumbles: 0
INT: 0
TFL: 0
Pass Defenses: 0

After seeing those numbers, take a look at Melvin Ingram’s statistics for his six games played in Pittsburgh before being traded:

Melvin Ingram
Games: 6
Tackles: 10
Sacks: 1
Forced Fumbles: 0
INT: 0
TFL: 2
Pass Defenses: 1


The Steelers getting a 6th round pick is never a bad thing, and many fans are concerned about the loss of depth with Ingram leaving for another team. However, the risk of injury is real at any position. If Najee Harris or Ben Roethlisberger were to get injured there would be a steep drop off in production, experience and quality of play. The same can be said about the outside linebacker position moving forward.

As Mike Tomlin says, he wants “volunteers, not hostages”.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the Chicago Bears in Week 9 on Monday Night Football.