On the day the NFL required all 32 teams to get their rosters to 53 players, the Pittsburgh Steelers knew they had to make some changes. There were a couple positions which needed bolstering, and the outside linebacker position was one of them.
Entering Tuesday, the Steelers depth chart at the outside linebacker positions looked like this:
- T.J. Watt
- Alex Highsmith
- Derrek Tuszka
- Hamilcar Rashed
In just a day, that depth chart changed dramatically, and it all started with the team traded a 6th Round 2023 NFL Draft pick tot he Denver Broncos for Malik Reed and a 7th Round pick. What’s it like finding out you’ve been traded? Turns out, it’s a whirlwind...
“I found out I was traded in the morning, went in and saw a lot of my old teammates, the GM, the coaches and stuff like that,” said Reed. “My wife and I flew out, left around 7 p.m., got in around 11:30, went to sleep around 1 a.m., and got up at 5:50. It was a pretty quick turnaround.
“It’s a new opportunity. A fresh start. I am ready. I am happy to be here. Happy to meet the guys and see what type of guys they have. I am ready to get going. That’s why we’re all here, to win games. That is what I am excited about.”
The actual process of Reed coming from the Broncos to the Steelers is something certainly noteworthy, but players headed to new teams doesn’t always work out. There are aspects of the team/defense which can make for a good match, or frustration all around. As it pertains to Reed joining the Steelers, he is ready for whatever comes his way.
“I am embracing whatever opportunity I get,” said Reed. “I know I am here for a reason, so I am ready to embrace it, ready to go. I am comfortable playing on both sides.”
What did Reed know about the trade? What did he hear about the Steelers as an organization? As you can imagine, everything he heard was positive.
“I heard there was a lot of interest,” said Reed. “I know the Steelers are a top-notch organization and Coach (Mike) Tomlin is a top-notch coach. I was more than happy to be able to come here.
“I am just ready to be a Steeler.”
Reed comes from an organization in Denver which he was able to learn from some tremendous pass rushers. Von Miller and Bradley Chubb both taught Reed a lot, but he is excited to learn from the 2021 Defensive Player of the Year, T.J. Watt.
“I watched a lot of film of their defense last year, T.J. leading the league in sacks,” said Reed. “They do a lot of great things out there on defense. I see how they get after the quarterback, how aggressive they are, and I think I fit in well.
“So many things they do on defense, the terminology is different, but the technique is the same as where I came from,” said Reed. “I am just trying to get it all down. I pride myself on being kind of smart, picking up on things.”
The Steelers are hoping they can get the same production/participation from Reed they got from Melvin Ingram last year without the off-field issues. For those who want to compare the two acquisitions, it is difficult to do considering Ingram joined the Steelers as a free agent, while Reed was a trade acquisition. Who knows what the Steelers told Ingram his role would be before his signing, but as for Reed, the Steelers acquired his skill set and will use it as they see fit.
At least at this point of the process, Reed is excited to be a member of the Steelers. The hope is the new outside linebacker depth chart of T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, Malik Reed and Jamir Jones will be far superior to that depth chart of just a few weeks ago.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the Week 1 game vs. the Cincinnati Bengals.