One of my biggest concerns about the Pittsburgh Steelers coming out of the 2014 NFL Draft is the depth at the outside linebacker position and while general manager Kevin Colbert didn’t calm those fears during his Monday afternoon interview on The David Todd Show, he did provide a little bit of insight on how he views the current depth at the position.
“Obviously Chris [Carter] has been in that position and he’s been a good backup for us,” started Colbert. With [Arthur] Moats, Arthur played inside, he played outside, he’s played with his hand on the ground and I think he has the versatility to go back and forth.”
None of what Colbert said about Chris Carter and Arthur Moats is a surprise and in fact, Moats best position might very well be outside being as he was an undersized passing rushing defensive end in college. The Steelers general manager then went even further with his talk about the outside linebacker depth as it relates to the players now on the roster.
“Terrence Garvin played more inside for us, mostly in sub package football, but in college he was more of an outside guy and he may get some work out there as well,” said Colbert. “I think a guy like Jordan Zumwalt, who we took in the sixth-round, he played both inside and outside in a defense that was very similar to ours when he played at UCLA under Lou Spanos, who cut his teeth learning our defense here as a defensive assistant.”
As for Terrence Garvin, while I have acknowledged in the past that he played outside at West Virginia, I have my doubts that he can become a reliable outside linebacker in the Steelers 3-4 defense. Rushing the passer is one thing, but being able to set the edge against tight ends and tackles against the run is another thing. Garvin only weighed 222 pounds a little over a year ago at his Pro Day and we can only hope that he’s added not only some bulk, but some muscle as well over the course of the offseason.
As for Jordan Zumwalt playing under Lou Spanos at UCLA, he mostly played weak-side inside linebacker in 2013 after mostly playing both the strong and outside linebacker position in a 4-3 defense prior to that. From the tape that I have watched of Zumwalt, I think his best fit is inside with the Steelers as opposed to outside. Until I see something that changes my mind, I will hold firm in that opinion. He’s more of a run and hit player as opposed to a pass rusher, in my opinion.
Colbert of course loves players with versatility and he hit on that when closing out his thoughts on the outside linebacker position depth.
“I think we have some guys that have the versatility to go back and forth,” said Colbert. “As we get through the spring and get through training camp we’ll find out what the best mix and match is.”