In the offseason, Art Rooney II made it clear that he wanted to see the Steelers top draft picks progress faster and start contributing some time in their rookie year. Only one game into the season, he has to be thrilled with the Steelers top three 2010 draft picks. It goes without saying that first round pick Maurkice Pouncey is already playing at a high level and making both guards on either side of him better. Third round pick Emmanuel Sanders was active on his first Sunday in the NFL and was in on a few offensive sets as well as kickoff coverage and kick returns. He didn\’t make any real noticeable errors and that is good. Lost in all the action on Sunday was second round pick Jason Worilds. Worilds made his NFL debut on special teams and finished with a team-best three special teams tackles. All three we have on video below.
The start of the Steelers 2010 training camp was not kind to Worilds as he quickly was sidelined with a hamstring injury and was forced to miss the first preseason game against the Lions. In the second game against the Giants, he got some work in and was mostly just another body on the field. Many of the impatient Steeler Nation members quickly wanted to compare him to former Steelers second rounder Alonzo Jackson. The last two games against the Broncos and Panthers showed a ton of improvement and more importantly that he could contribute on special teams. In the final camp cut downs, the Steelers sent linebacker and special teams warrior, Patrick Bailey packing.
Worilds is a ways away from contributing on defense baring injury, but getting a game day helmet by contributing on special teams is a great start. The Dick LeBeau defense is not easy for a rookie to adsorb, especially for a rookie that missed precious reps in training camp. Worilds is projected to be the heir apparent to James Harrison at right outside linebacker in a few years and will hopefully be able to fully back him up by late this season. The Steelers biggest concern coming out of 2009 was their special teams play, not their linebacking core, so Worilds greatest contributions in 2010 will be to continue smashing bodies on kick coverages. Worilds has plenty of time to become great, right now he just needs to focus on being special. A special teams head hunter that is.