When it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers and making personnel decisions, you can virtually guarantee the fan base will not agree on any move. But, in the early portion of this 2022 offseason, the fan base is virtually united in its top draft wish, if he is actually available at pick 20.
Iowa Center, Tyler Linderbaum has caught the eye of draft nuts, and fans alike for his extreme athleticism, nasty streak, and leadership at the center position. And, to me, he really is the best Center prospect since some guy named Maurkice Pouncey came out of the University of Florida back in 2010.
But is he really all that? And does he have to be the pick if he is available for the Steelers in the first round? My thoughts on this is below.
Tyler Linderbaum runs a 4.3 we’re convinced pic.twitter.com/LqEz1Jd6nE— Boom or Bust: The Draft Show (@BoomOrBustDraft) January 1, 2022
Let’s start by talking about the athleticism from Linderbaum. As you can see from the link above Linderbaum gets on his horse when he pursues his receivers to deliver blocks down field, and often times he is seen running stride for stride with these more athletic players. It’s this kind of athletic ability that brings a good NFL prospect to a can't miss one. He can make plays all over the field from the interior offensive line, and I will guarantee he will spring receivers on a consistent basis in the NFL. With the Steelers often screen heavy offense, Linderbaum would be a perfect fit.
Less than 5 minutes into Tyler Linderbaum tape and he’s already one of my favorite prospects pic.twitter.com/bYA6QpzWUc— Football Analysis (@FBallAnalysisBU) January 25, 2022
Let’s get into his power and aggression. As you can see in the clip above Linderbaum is serving up pancakes even while kicking back into a settle set. Once he latches onto the defensive lineman you can watch him run his feet and start to drive his opponent. This is a skill that an offensive lineman is born with, and something almost impossible to teach. This is what you see from All-Pro caliber players, and is something extremely special when talking about centers.
Iowa C Tyler Linderbaum does an excellent job of bumping the DT to the B-gap before taking a perfect angle to the 2nd level, where he pancakes a poor LB. pic.twitter.com/OIVC4sk9vp— John Owning (@JohnOwning) January 22, 2022
Now let’s look at what Linerbaum can do getting up to the second level. In the above clip you can see Linderbaum drive the one tech through to his guard before getting up to the inside linebacker and driving that player downfield. This is as nice a rep as you could see from a collegiate offensive lineman. Textbook through and through. This kind of play was absent from the interior of the Steelers offensive line in 2021. Genuinely, inserting this kind of play into the Steelers lineup changes the offense instantly and makes both of the guards better getting to play next to him.
Sucks seeing Brandon Brooks retire from the league. Hell of a player.— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) January 26, 2022
It’ll be interesting to see what the Eagles do at IOL in the draft. Plenty of IOL options this year. Do they start in RD1 with Tyler Linderbaum out of Iowa? pic.twitter.com/6C2iCrES1E
And this last rep just shows off Linderbaum’s ‘finish’ which is once again something that is a God-given talent. A lot of offensive linemen get pancakes by driving their feet and delivering a solid punch. But in Linderbaum’s case he physically dominates the player and slams him into the dirt while driving his own bodyweight onto him. This nastiness makes for the absolute best offensive lineman and sets the tone for the rest of your offensive line. This is exactly the kind of player you want on your line and if I'm the Steelers I am praying he some how makes it to pick No. 20.
Now, some Steelers fans may want to point at Linderbaum’s size. Listed at 6’3” and 290 pounds, Linderbuam is undoubtedly undersized, but not something he can't overcome. I fully expect Linderbaum to crack 300 pounds when he steps on the scales at the 2022 NFL Combine, and he is still a full two inches taller than Kendrick Green. He also makes his size work to his advantage, plus he uses that uber athleticism to make up for any disparity.
Just take the next two clips (below) for example. Linderbaum pinned NFL Pro Bowl offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs (who is two years older than Linderbaum) in a high school wrestling meet. And the clip below that is Linderbaum out throwing Wirfs hay-bale toss (people from Iowa are quirky...).
iOL1 Tyler Linderbaum pinning athletic mutant Tristan Wirfs a few years ago in Iowa high school wrestling— Thor Nystrom (@thorku) January 14, 2022
In 700 words, and clips, I hope you can see how perfect of a player Linderbaum is for the Steelers. This is the name I will be championing for in this draft. In all likelihood he gets scooped up before pick 20, but if by some miracle he makes it to pick 20, because of the dumb belief that has seen centers slip in recent years, the Steelers need to make him their top pick.
But what do you think? Is this the guy the Steelers have to select if he is available at pick 20? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.