The Pittsburgh Steelers have only completed three training camp practices so far, but it’s clear that newcomer outside linebacker Arthur Moats is being counted on to be the primary backup to starters Jason Worilds and Jarvis Jones.
Moats, who was signed during the offseason as an unrestricted free agent after playing his first four years in the league with the Buffalo Bills, worked as the starting left outside linebacker during most of the OTA practices when Worilds was sidelined with an injury. According to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the James Madison product remains the primary backup with three days of practices now in the books.
While Moats was an undersized pass rushing defensive end in college, we’ve yet to really see whether or not he can make it as a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL. That’s because the Bills very rarely used him in that capacity over the course of the last several years during all of the scheme changes that they went through.
Following Monday’s first padded training camp practice, former Steelers offensive lineman and current radio network color man Tunch Ilkin made it known that Moats had a solid day of practice and why he thinks the newcomer will be able to transition to the outside linebacker position.
“The guy that jumped out to me today in all the drills was Arthur Moats,” said Ilkin. “And the reason is, when Arthur Moats was at Buffalo, he was a 4-3 stack linebacker, an outside linebacker – played off of the line of scrimmage. He never jumped out at me. As a 3-4 outside linebacker, he looks much more natural, much more at ease as a natural pass rusher, who does a great job of not only with an initial move, but a counter off of it.”
During his college career, Moats recorded 208 tackles and finished second in school history with 29 sacks in the 49 games that he played as a defensive lineman. He also added 48.5 tackles for loss. Heading into training camp, the Steelers have depth concerns at the outside linebacker position and the hope is that Moats can calm those fears. By the sound of things, he’s off to a great start in doing just that, but the big test will come once the preseason games get underway.