The Pittsburgh Steelers 2021 offseason roster is set, but that doesn’t mean new players won’t be added, or removed, from the list. One position the Steelers could certainly see a player added would be outside linebacker (OLB).
Currently, the Steelers depth chart at the position looks like this:
OLB1: T.J. Watt
OLB2: Alex Highsmith
OLB3: Cassius Marsh
OLB4: Quincy Roche
You might be wondering where the other names are, but there aren’t any. That would consist of the entire Steelers’ OLB depth chart. But could the team add talent at the position? It is a possibility, and one defensive coordinator Keith Butler spoke about Tuesday during his media session.
“That’s going to be up to Mike [Tomlin] and Kevin [Colbert] to look elsewhere and stuff like that, to give us a little depth right there.” Butler said. “So we’ll see as we go along training camp and preseason. We’ve got the four preseason games, playing in the Hall of Fame and all of that stuff. The good thing about all of that is it gives us a chance to evaluate who we have and who we don’t have. Hopefully we can find somebody that we think is capable of being as good as we have been in the past. So we’ll see what happens there, and if we need somebody else I’m sure Kevin and Mike will look around.”
It was Butler who said after the 2021 NFL Draft he team might not be done adding talent, and while they did add a few more pieces to the puzzle, none were at the pass rushing position.
The Steelers are now in the midst of mandatory minicamp, and Butler was asked what, if anything, he can take away from these workouts? The answer? Not much.
“Well, really, the only thing you can tell with guys with shorts on is how fast are they really and how do they react and how smart they are, stuff like that. And that’s fine. Our coaching staff and Mike [Tomlin] too, we want a physical team. We want to be a physical defense and we’re not gonna know where we are in terms of that until we put the pads on and we go through the preseason and let them play real games and tackle real people and the offensive line is out there trying to block them. So we’ll kind of wait and see on that with those guys and see if we’ve got some guys who are going to be physical.”
The biggest question surrounding the defense, and primarily the OLBs, would be T.J. Watt. Watt didn’t attend Organized Team Activities (OTAs) and will have a huge role within the defense in 2021. Did Watt not being present impact the team in any way? Did Watt miss out on any critical information?
“T.J. [Watt] is a big part of our defense, a big part of our team. He’s doing what he thinks is best for him and he’s gotta do that, I think. I support him as much as anybody because I was once a player too, who had to do the same thing going into free agency and stuff like that. There’s a reason that the Player’s Association got what they got in terms of better free agency stuff. He’s not a free agent right now—he’s still gotta go through the clause—but we’re hoping we can get him signed and get him in for training camp and stuff like that. He’s a big part of our defense.”
The Steelers very well might be waiting for training camp to assess their OLB situation, but they could also be waiting for other NFL teams to cut down their rosters prior to the regular season. Either way, it doesn’t look like the Steelers are going to settle for their current depth chart at OLB heading into 2021.