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Making the case for Shawn Lemon to make the Steelers 53-man roster

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The Pittsburgh Steelers training camp battle at the outside linebacker position will be one to watch, but here is visual evidence why Shawn Lemon could make his mark by making the team's 53-man roster.

Derek Leung/Getty Images

The training camp battle which is about ensue at the outside linebacker position for the Pittsburgh Steelers will be one certainly worth watching. Not only do you have rookies Bud Dupree and Anthony Chickillo trying to make a name for themselves, but other players like preseason hero Howard Jones also are looking to claim their spot on the 53-man roster. With all due respect for the other players in this competition, there is one who should be considered a front runner to bolster the depth at the position, and that is former CFL star Shawn Lemon.

Lemon, who played for the Calgary Stampeders in 2014, is looking to duplicate the success of Cameron Wake of the Miami Dolphins who also made the transition from CFL to NFL. Last season, Lemon had a tremendous season with 14 sacks and 8 forced fumbles, albeit with the United States fans wanting to put an asterisk next to those statistics since it happened north of the border.

Take a look at this highlight reel of Lemon last season, there should be a few things which pop off the screen and could correlate to a roster spot with the Steelers in 2015.

The first thing you should notice is Lemon's ability to rush the passer from both sides. Many players have become specialists on rushing from either the strong or the weak side, and there are few who possess quality moves from both the right and left outside linebacker position. Lemon looks comfortable rushing from both sides, which only adds versatility to his resume.

Speaking of moves, Lemon displays a multitude of pass rushing techniques, but most are of the speed rush variety. Lemon doesn't enjoy the power rush moves, which now teammate James Harrison has perfected in his time with the organization, with near the frequency as speed moves, but this could be a product of the system and league in which he played for and less on his personal preference.

The transition from the CFL to NFL will certainly take time, as Lemon will have to get used to being in a different position at  the snap of the ball and relying on more variety in his pass rushing techniques to be effective against the better offensive tackles in the NFL. This video shows Lemon's moves earlier in his career when he played for Saskatchewan, prior to playing with Calgary in the 2013 season.

Lemon is an athlete. He has the speed and quickness to make plays, but his athleticism has more to do with his making the team than it does anything else. Lemon will be a perfect candidate for special teams, on top of adding depth at both right and left outside linebacker positions. This is something not all candidates vying for outside linebacker can claim as they prepare for training camp in less than a month.

After watching the film, does it look as if Lemon is going to be the next James Harrison who was neglected by several NFL teams before blossoming later in his career? Will he be the next Cameron Wake who made the transition from CFL pass rusher to NFL standout? Most would answer those questions with 'No', but the more appropriate answer should be, 'Not yet'. Lemon has potential, but the question will be whether he can translate his game to the NFL, and there is only one way to find that out and it will begin on July 25th when the Steelers report to training camp at St. Vincent College.