Steelers LB Coach Keith Butler Wanted Another Linebacker In Round Two

Pittsburgh Steelers linebackers coach Keith Butler is one of my favorite coaches to listen to talk, but unfortunately we only get to hear from him just a few times a year.

While talking Saturday about Florida State linebacker Vince Williams, whom the Steelers drafted in the sixth round of the 2013 NFL draft, the coach was not shy about telling how he was banging the table for another linebacker in the second round.

“If they had done what I felt like doing we would have taken one in the second round,” Butler said. “As I told them, last time we picked first and second with linebackers we won the Super Bowl two years later. We didn’t go to it, we won it. I tried to make that argument, it didn’t work. It worked for one round, but it didn’t work for the second round.”

While Butler didn\’t name which linebacker he was banging the table for in round two, it isn\’t hard to speculate that Kansas State linebacker Arthur Brown was his desired target. As fate would have it, the Baltimore Ravens snagged Brown just eight picks after the Steelers selected Michigan State running back Le”veon Bell. Go figure.

Butler at least got the first present of the draft in the form of Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones, who Butler says is unlikely to come in and see much playing time during his rookie season.

“Everybody talks about Jarvis coming in and stuff like that and is Jarvis going to start his first year?” Butler said. “We’ve never started a linebacker since I’ve been here. His first year, Jarvis Jones has a wealth of talent and I’m very fortunate to have him. He put up 28 sacks in the last two years in the toughest, in my opinion, the best conference in the land. He’s done it. He’s been very productive. He’s going to come in and compete, but he’s not going to be given the position. Some of you think that way. I certainly don’t think that way.”

As far as Williams goes, Butler said that he is a big hitter that was only a two-down linebacker in college. The main focus with moving forward will be to see if he can cover and become a three down linebacker. Even if he can or he cant, you can bet that this time next year Butler will be banging the table in every round for more linebackers. After all, that is what he is paid to do.

  • I know a lot disagree but I think MLB was way more of a concern than OLB going into this draft, the season and in the future. It shoulda been our first defensive pick, but I guess we have to wait and see wtf we’re gonna do after Foote.

  • Addison

    Steelers should of made a effort for Brown. It makes me sick he’s a raven

  • Yep I woulda gone WR in the first, MLB in the second and RB in the third.

  • JT

    In other news, Ben wanted another tall WR and Lake wanted several more CBs.

  • JT

    Well, Foote is under contract after this season. Jason Worilds isn’t. I’m guessing that, along with hoping to develop McFadden or Rolle went into their decision. Don’t discount Williams. He’s in the mold of a Steelers run stuffing ILB.

  • Maurice_hill_district

    Somebody ask Butler if it was ILB or another OLB he wanted in round 2. Otherwise, speculating is mostly a waste. No suprise a LB coach wants to draft LBs though.

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    Completely agree on Brown in the 2nd, I’d have never taken Jones in the first round, though. There were plenty of opportunities to take flyers on a couple of backs late in the draft.

  • TJimmy

    Don’t fret. There will be a good ILB next year they can draft if Sean Spence doesn’t work out. Meanwhile Larry Foote is filling in pretty nicely.

  • Mike Foster

    Shayne Skov, ILB, Stanford next year. Big, athletic, smart, plays in the 3-4, Buck candidate

  • Kevin Gobleck

    I think we made most of the right decisions in the draft we got quality players to fill all of our needs.

  • hergieburbur

    I happen to agree with him.

  • sean mcmartin

    Foote is a liability in pass coverage. It’s tough to watch him get beat by TE’s and RB’s on passing routes. also ziggy hood is a bust..

  • LouPGH

    I’m with Butler on this one. I like Le’Veon Bell in the 4th Round, not as much in the 2nd Round. He would probably have been available in the 4th Round and definitely still available in the 3rd Round.

  • hergieburbur

    From what is being said, Spence is done. Butler said it would be “miraculous” if he ever plays again and he will most likely spend 2013 on IR hoping to return in 2014.

  • Jollyrob68

    They should of had both plus gotten their RB in rd 4. The bigger bodied backs went later in the draft. Landry Jones would of been there in 5 or 6. If not Dysert & Bray were on board in Rd 6.

  • hergieburbur

    I had S, ILB. then OLB in order.

  • Jollyrob68

    One thing that was pointed out by a fan is The Steelers drafted all Team Captains & not tweener progects. with the exception of Rd 7. Look it up its true.
    once that was pointed out you could see the picks coming plus most visited with the exception of Landry Jones.

  • hergieburbur

    I really like the Nick Williams pick also. Some people had him as high as a late 4.

  • Stephen Dale

    Actually, the Steelers should have traded down with Minnesota and gotten the extra picks that NE received for making the same trade. Yes, it would have cost them Jarvis jones ; however, they could have gotten ILB Brown plus WR Hunter and OLB Lemonier and maybe RB L Bell anyway. What do you guys think about the lack of imagination / flexibility in the front office ? Why is it NE –and others– can make these mega-deals but not the steelers ???? Is Tomlin calling all the draft selections or does Colbert actually make the selections ??? Seems like Tomlin is running the show and he seems incapable of doing what Belichek and other GM’s do…. Any thoughts ????????

  • Nolrog

    Pretty much.

  • Nolrog

    No offesnive help? Losing our top WR, TE and RB and we stay strictly defense?

  • joed32

    The Steelers had a better draft than the Patriots.

  • zyzak

    Bell wouldn’t be there in the 4th round. He was the #1 back on their board and they needed a back. When Cincy took Bernard they couldn’t afford to wait. Have a feeling that Bell will come close to Franco Harris’s production in 1972

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I like Butler a lot too. He is a laid back straight shooter with a dry humor.

  • Bill Eltringham

    We will prolly be drafting higher than 17 next year, grab great ILB then.

  • TsarPepe

    Did you notice that we took a WR and RB in rounds 2 & 3?

  • TsarPepe

    Every coach wants more guys at his position, that’s clear. I also would have liked to see A. Brown in black and gold, but I find it stupid to question draft picks. This is a team that has had enormous success. And when the defense has been consistently #1 or 2 for years, I understand why they didn’t double-dip at LB in the first two rounds. They obviously had Bell as their highest-ranked RB and very possibly Landry J. as their highest ranked QB. There is no guarantee that Bell would have been there after Denver’s pick, or so insiders say.

  • SteelSpine


  • walter mason


  • Matt Lipner

    This is probably wrong. All of the “top tier” backs went soon after we picked Bell. Other teams were interested in him, and he most likely wouldn’t have been there in the mid-3rd. I like the pick, and see Bell contributing A LOT this year.

  • LouPGH

    I don’t know how many teams considered Le’Veon Bell “top tier,” although I like him. Even so, the only other RBs to go after Bell in the 2nd Round were Eddie Lacy, Montee Ball, and Christine Michael, all of whom were far more hyped (overly so, in my opinion) than Bell. Discounting Marcus Lattimore as a special case, you still had Joseph Randle (5th), Andre Ellington (6th), Stepfan Taylor (5th), Jonathan Franklin (4th), and Jawan Jamison (7th), on the board when they selected Bell. I would argue that most considered Bell on par with this latter group of backs. Knile Davis was the only RB selected in the 3rd Round, when the Chiefs used a comp pick at the end of the 3rd. Maybe the Chiefs take Bell over Davis if he’s available in the 3rd, maybe not.

    In my final mock, I liked Gio Bernard in the 2nd. There is a lot to like about Bell, but we’re still lacking breakaway speed in our backfield. (LSH was signed to be the change of pace guy, but… ya know.) Hopefully the line stays healthy this year and Dwyer puts it all together too. I think Bell will contribute this year simply due to the fact that we’ve seen what the other RBs can do and RB is the easiest skill position at which a player can contribute early.

    Are you aware of any other teams that had Bell at or near the top of their draft board? Serious question, because I would prefer to have a long term solution at ILB (that solution being Arthur Brown), especially given the news about Spence possibly never playing again.

    EDIT: I should add too that it is possible the Packers, Broncos, or Seahawks take Bell instead of Lacy, Ball, and Michael, but from everything I saw, all of those guys had higher draft grades than Bell. I obviously don’t know what their draft boards looked like, so I have to go by majority opinion, but, of course, I could be wrong.

  • hergieburbur

    Not what I said. I said I had those as my top three needs. You didn’t think that was an exhaustive list and I intended us to spend 8 picks on those three spots, did you? In reality, I had WR, RB, and TE as 4-6, though not necessarily in that order.

  • r4kolb

    If you listen to the press conf he sounded to me like it was tongue in cheek. I don’t think he was serious. If you listen to his last years presser he said basically the same thing

  • LouPGH

    That’s not a fair comparison. We drafted at #17 and the Pats traded the #29 pick. There is no evidence the Vikings or anyone else but the 49ers were interested in trading up at that point. Moreover, the 49ers only gave up a 4th Round pick to the Cowboys to swap 1st Round picks. I think most people thought Dallas looked pretty bad for making that trade.

    As for the Pats/Vikings trade: my sense is that the Vikings were targeting Cordarelle Patterson and Xavier Rhodes in the 1st Round, and when Shariff Floyd fell to them they were doing back flips. So they took Floyd and chose Rhodes over Patterson. When they saw Patterson continuing to fall then they got anxious to get back into the 1st Round to get him. Belichick is opportunistic and came into the draft with fewer picks than he’s had in ages. He’s not a genius. The Vikings came away three of the top players at their positions and Belichick was able to replenish his roster with the sort of versatile role players he values.

  • Bob Loblaw

    These things are incredibly easy to say in hindsight. Pittsburgh’s trading in the draft hasn’t changed really since Tomlin took over, and I’d venture their success hasn’t changed a whole lot either (it’s hard to say, a lot of those under Tomlin haven’t had time to develop). There were some less than sensational years of drafting with Colbert under Cowher as well.

  • Bob Loblaw

    Also, don’t forget to give credit for their effort to get Thomas. Can’t really complain about their willingness to make deals and not mention this.

  • charles

    Butler is in charge and I am disconcerted with his words….the Steelers had no pressure and therefore no TOs last year, how that is not a top priority is stunning. So I agree with Butler that we needed more focus on the linebackers but am disappointed that he sees no chance of Jones or Williams producing much. Maybe we can get lucky though, Spence could return and Jones or Williams might make a huge splash either in camp or on the field with the few snaps that they will recieve. Butler says when we focused on the linebackers early in the draft we came out with two more bowls and the way that the Steelers are setup with the players AND the coaches we must have production out of the linebackers. Maybe Woodley will come to camp overweight and we can make him a Pro Bowler and Butler will have no choices except to play Spence, Jones, and Williams.

  • Brendon Glad

    I’m with Keith Butler. Didn’t know the Steelers had a proven track record of ever having an accurate early board on RBs in the draft, since I was barely alive to see Franco Harris get drafted. And they are far from alone on that problem w rb scouting.
    So who’s going to be surprised if about 3 low-to-no rd RBs look clearly better than Bell from day 1 til 6 years from now? No one will. And that’s why I will continually consider it poor decision making for the Steelers to draft a RB in rounds 1-3 until ONE Steeler 1-3 rd RB proves me wrong. (and no, Rashard Mendenhall did not, nor Thornton, Worley, Abercrombie, Zeroeue, Morris, and maybe more that I don’t even remember anymore.)
    I’ll take Bettis, Hoge, Foster, Parker, and even Peagram, Dwyer, Moore and Redman, thank you very much. Either picked up from other teams, or 5th and later for all of them. Stick with what you’re good at please, Steelers.

  • SixburghFan

    I didn’t know that but I like it. As I listened to interviews and videos of J. Jones, Bell, Wheaton, and Thomas, it seemed to me that these were all high character, more mature, leadership type of guys. I think the front office thinks much of last year’s trouble stemmed, to some degree anyway, from a leadership void and perhaps some selfishness. I certainly feel that way. If, for example, they picked Wheaton over Bailey for such a reason, I don’t have a problem with that. The one thing we’ve heard over the years that supposedly separates the Steelers from other organizations (as stated by Steeler players) is the family, brotherhood level of trust and love for each other. I don’t know that we had that last year. Combined with a leadership void, we weren’t a strong team. Hopefully, that aspect of things changes moving forward with the help of both veterans and new blood.

  • Cody Younkin

    Go after C.J. Mosley next year or try to trasition woirlds inside because we would get nothin for him if he walks or is traded.

  • Yeah, I like what I see out of him, but I’d much rather have Bostic or Brown, at least at this point.

  • lefnor

    1 Justin Hunter / Deandre Hopkins
    2 Arthur Brown
    3 Le’Veon Bell
    4 Shamarko Thomas
    4 John Simon
    5 Hawthorne
    6 Justin Brown
    6 Dysert