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Which linebacker position is the bigger team need for the Steelers in 2021?

The Steelers have different types of needs at their two linebacker positions going in to the 2021 season.

NFL: OCT 28 Dolphins at Steelers Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers still have a number of team needs as they continue through the 2021 offseason. With free agency still an option, as well as the upcoming NFL draft, the Steelers will need to fill out all of these needs prior to training camp.

For an interesting exercise, I’m going to give two positions and ask which one is the greater need to add a player for the 2021 season. In this case, the question comes down to inside linebacker or outside linebacker.

When looking at a team need, I like to break it down into two different types. First, there’s certain positions where the need is simply to have enough players as the Steelers don’t have enough options at this time. The Steelers may be set with their starters, but they may not have the needed depth at the position simply by not having enough players. The other option is whether Steelers could have enough players at a position, but they need to upgrade the quality of play on the depth chart. The Steelers may have more than enough bodies at the position, but the quality of those players even at the top is questionable.

When it comes to looking at inside linebacker depth versus outside linebacker depth, I feel this is a classic example of both scenarios.

When looking at the team need at outside linebacker, the Steelers problem is numbers. While it appears the Steelers are set at their starting outside linebacker positions with All-Pro T.J. Watt and second-year player Alex Highmith, beyond the starters it gets very shaky. The only other player on the roster is Cassius Marsh, who brings more to the special teams aspect of the Steelers than he does the outside linebacker room. The Steelers definitely need to add outside linebackers to the roster prior to training camp. With the starting positions seemingly locked up, perhaps even for the next several years, it probably wouldn’t be a high-priced free agent or a day-one draft pick which would be needed. Ultimately, the Steelers need depth.

When it comes to the inside linebacker position, the Steelers have a number of players on their roster. Devin Bush is set to return from his season-ending injury to be the main player in the middle of the field. Robert Spillane filled in admirably in Bush’s absence until he suffered his own injury, but still looks to help at in the position. Other players include Ulysees Gilbert III and Marcus Allen, who is converted to linebacker from the safety position last season. Another player could be newly signed Miles Killebrew as he is also played a similar role between safety and linebacker and it is unclear at this time how the Steelers will use him. Even another player on the depth chart is to Tegray Scales who spent several weeks on the Steelers 53-man roster in 2020. So when it comes to inside linebacker, the Steelers have a good number of players, but could possibly use some infusion towards the top of the depth chart in order to solidify their defense.

So which position is the greater team need? Will the Steelers look to add an outside linebacker who may be stuck in a rotational spot for the near future? Should the Steelers look to infuse a high-quality inside linebacker to help sure up that position and make it one of the strengths of the defense?

Personally, I feel that Steelers don’t need to add more than one inside linebacker, but should make the move count if they do so. Whether it be signing a quality free agent or even using their first pick in the 2021 NFL draft, the Steelers only need to add a player if it’s increasing the quality of the position. As for outside linebacker, the Steelers need to find someone to take over Alex Highsmith’s role from the first part of the 2020 season. The Steelers really could use someone to aid in the rotation and get significant playing time without necessarily being a starter. With quality edge rusher‘s costing a lot on the open market, it would probably be in the Steelers best interest to address the position in the upcoming draft. While the Steelers would like to get a quality rotational player, it may not be a position that has to be addressed in either of the first two days of the draft.

So what do you think? Which position, inside linebacker or outside linebacker, is the greatest position of need at this time for the 2021 Pittsburgh Steelers? Make sure you vote in the poll and leave your thoughts in the comments below.


Which of the linebacker positiosn is the greatest position of need at this time for the 2021 Pittsburgh Steelers?

This poll is closed

  • 48%
    Outside Linebacker
    (449 votes)
  • 51%
    Inside Linebacker
    (477 votes)
926 votes total Vote Now