Should The Steelers Consider Adding Wallace Gilberry?

By Cian Fahey

The Pittsburgh Steelers have very few needs at this point in the off-season. The draft addressed the most pivotal of those with new offensive linemen, another body to play nose tackle and an additional running back.

Just because the primary needs have been filled, that does not mean that the Steelers roster is in perfect shape now. The best front offices in the league will continue to improve their rosters in any way possible until it is no longer a legitimate possibility.

All of the Steelers issues now reside below the top tier of the depth chart. At least, all of their fixable issues do. There is no proven kicker waiting for the Steelers to pick up the phone or a star nose tackle who can come in and fill Casey Hampton\’s massive shoes.

However, the Steelers can still bring in a new face or two to address the holes cutting through the latter parts of the depth chart. Two of those areas of concern are on the defensive line. In a perfect world, the Steelers will bring in another nose tackle and defensive end to compete for roster spots for the regular season.

I have already pointed out that Aubrayo Franklin could provide the Steelers some veteran depth at defensive tackle. Franklin can\’t play defensive end however and the Steelers can\’t afford to move Steve McLendon from the middle.

Instead, they could look to Wallace Gilberry.

Formerly with the Kansas City Chiefs, Gilberry is a 3-4 defensive end who remains on the free market despite being in the prime of his career. At 27, he was hoping to attract some suitors this year as a situational pass rushing specialist.

Last year, Gilberry notched 2.5 sacks in very limited time as a 3-4 defensive end. The Chiefs have outstanding run stuffers Tyson Jackson and Glenn Dorsey as their starters with Dontari Poe added to the lineup. That has made Gilberry available.

In his four seasons he has started three games but has been part of the rotation for the past three years in Kansas City. During that time he notched 14 sacks from the defensive end position. In comparison, Brett Keisel has 20.5 sacks during his 10 years playing 3-4 end.

Gilberry obviously isn\’t as stout against the run as Keisel is, but he does have the size to benefit from coaching if the Steelers want to try to groom him. At worst, he comes in as the fourth defensive end and gives the team a more proven option than Corbin Bryant.

At this stage of the year, the big names are long gone off the board, but you never know what to expect from players in new situations and it\’s not like Gilberry has struggled during his NFL career. He\’s just never really taken off or turned into the every down player teams seek.

You can follow Cian on Twitter at @Cianaf

  • Quicksilver8616

    3-4 ends in the Steelers system aren’t Pass Rush specialist. Why would we add a pass rush specialist to a position that doesn’t require Sack artists?

  • Manonthemoon19

    For situational football. Its the same reason you have a nickle back, or a third down back. Certain situations call for different players. Not only that, but teams need to rotate their players during the game to keep them fresh. Furthermore, I would not likely call Gilberry a “pass rush specialist.” He seems to have some pass rushing skills that none of our ends are capable of generating. It would be nice to have someone like him coming in from time to time to rush the qb.

  • How can you expect to have a street free agent come in and start in the Steelers D system? If they feel they need a body to fill in while Hampton heals and draft picks get up to speed then they would have made a move already.

  • SteelersDepot

    Don’t think he said anything about him starting. His signing would merely be a depth move who has some experience as a 3 & 5-tech that has proved he can provide “pressure”. While this move is VERY unlikely to happen, he would be one of very few players to fit. This late in the off-season though, unless injury happens, it will not happen.

  • Pete

    I agree with the comments. It doesn’t make sense to compare Gilberry’s sacks count to Keisel. Keisel isn’t expected to get many sacks in the Steelers 34 scheme. That’s for Woodley and Harrison, a DB or ILB. There are many configurations of the 34 run in the NFL along with hybrid 34-43. Each DC has his own idea of what he’s trying to achieve. Dick LeBeau has never looked for a sack machine at DE.

  • steelerfan

    You said it best, Dave, “very unlikely to happen.” I don’t understand these “they should consider Jabbar Gaffney” articles. I’m not being hateful, they’re just pointless. It’s articles like these that have me ignoring writers not named Dave Bryan.

  • SteelersDepot

    Cut these contributors some slack. The name of Gilberry is somewhat fathomable in case an injury occurs. Speculation is what we all do and this, as the title suggest, is a question. If you disagree with the suggestion say why or just move on to the next article is all I ask.

  • Jprankster2005

    I would of liked for them to sign Franklin…….I think also a veteran RB would be nice like Grant but I think if we just sat where we are, We will be good……..

  • steelerfan

    Understood, brother. But why title an article, “Enough with the Kellen Winslow to the Steelers Talk” if you felt this way?

    To be clear, the Steelers would never sign Winslow, and I’d never want them to. It just seems that one day you dismiss speculation, and now you support it.

    Either way, I have given kudos to you and the contributors on occasion. I love the site, I love the podcast, and I link and promote both often.

    Keep up the great work, and thank you for keeping us informed.

  • SteelersDepot

    Winslow I would have bet my house on not happening. The signing of Gilberry, even though very unlikely, is plausible to some degree. That is why. Who would have really thought Matt Roth would have been brought in for a visit or Brandon Johnson? Had both of those names been suggested, the suggester would have been stoned likely as well. Carry on & thanks for your patronage.

  • JohnnyV1

    I do think you’re on to something with respect to adding a veteran defensive lineman. I’m not certain that Wallace is that guy, but certainly adding a veteran DE makes sense. Sure Todd Haley could give KC the 411 on Wallace. We don’t know if Al Woods or Corbin Bryant can even make the team, let alone contribute. We also don’t know if Heyward is a lock either, and Keisel is no spring chicken. I’m more concerned about the CB position though, need a veteran there.

  • RedCarpetDefense

    Like the idea of having a 3-4 DE with pass rush skills, would do wonders in addition to our OLBs. Seems like the only time the DEs or NT gets a sack is when the QB steps forward enuff for them to grab him. Did entertain the thought of Quinton Coples falling to us in the draft and being a DE.

  • Rodick Cox69

    Remember what Ray Seals, & Keith Willis brought to the table……

  • mokhkw

    Excellent article imo. Kudos for thinking outside the box, this is why I like reading the articles here.

    Whether it happens or not, I would bet $s that the Steelers have discussed this at some point.

    3-4 pass Rushing DE’s are rare & invaluable. Remember how much better the Pats D was when Seymour was dominant? Or Kevin Williams when he played DE in Minnesota?

    Best example is obviously Bruce Smith in Buffalo; getting 10-12 sacks a year for a DE in a 3-4 is superhuman imo. & the reason why I rate him as the best DE of all time.

    In his prime Aaron Smith was usually good for 4-8 sacks per season as a comparison, and we all know how good he was.

    Only downside I see is the possibility of Heyward losing snaps at DE if a pass-rushing specialist like Gilberry was bought into the rotation. That would hurt his development.

    For me it comes down to Corbin Bryant – is he better than Gilberry, or do the Steelers see him becoming better in the near future? If he’s not, then I’d get Gilberry instead.