Steelers Pre-Camp Depth Chart Update – Outside Linebacker

With minicamp in the rearview mirror and training camp on the horizon, the Pittsburgh Steelers should already have all of the main components of their offseason roster in place, with all draft picks signed and no more free agents projected to be added until further evaluation.

It’s possible that a need should arise for further additions, either due to poor performance or injuries, once we reach training camp.

But for the time being, we should take a look at the depth chart that the front office has put together since the end of the 2013 season and see how well it stacks up in terms of quality and depth.

Due to the cumbersome lengths that offseason rosters can reach, we will be projecting a number or range of roster spots per position and focusing on that number of players per position, with other potential notables receiving mention below.

Position: Outside Linebacker

Projected Roster Spots: 4-5

Jason Worilds: The fifth-year veteran Worilds is coming off a breakout season of sorts, during which he led the team with eight sacks. Most of his production came during the second half of the season, when he seemed to put all his tools together in one kit.

If he has actually become the player that he showed himself to be in the stretch run of the 2013 season, then he would be a wise future investment, but the front office may need to see another year of production as evidence.

Jarvis Jones: Uncharacteristic of the Steelers defense, Jones started eight games as a rookie, though many of them came late in the year following LaMarr Woodley’s injuries. He has no safety net in year two and must prove to be a complete linebacker in order for the Steelers to flourish.

Arthur Moats: Having lost both of their starters at outside linebacker over the last two seasons, the Steelers needed to upgrade their depth at the position, and signed Moats to provide some veteran experience behind their top two edge rushers. For the time being, it seems as though he will remain outside, given the disparity in depth between the inside and outside linebacker positions.

Chris Carter: Carter’s position on the roster is admittedly precarious this offseason. Although he has been receiving generally positive remarks from both press and coaches through OTAs and minicamp, the fact remains that he has shown very little in his first three seasons. Still, he likely remains the favorite as the fourth outside linebacker.

Others: At the moment, there is too little clarity behind the top four outside linebackers to list a true fifth option. In reality, whoever the ninth linebacker ends up being will likely be one with inside-outside versatility, in addition to special teams prowess, such as Terence Garvin or Jordan Zumwalt.

That is unless the Steelers are sufficiently content with the ability of Moats to do both. In that case, perhaps a Vic So’oto or Howard Jones could vie for the fifth outside linebacker spot if they don’t manage to surpass Carter. I suppose the possible addition of James Harrison should be noted for completion’s sake, even if it seems unlikely.

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • Burgh Ball

    Depth is one issue with OLB – Another how much J.Jones has improved.. Outside contain vs the run is a huge issue… For me – OLB is more of a concern than CB or DL…. my opinion … and there is Whirlpools injury status..

  • steeltown

    I feel like we’ve heard the “Chris Carter is having a good offseason” statement before.. in retrospect, so did Adrian Robinson and Alan Baxter in previous training camps. Let’s see something translate to the field.

  • ATL96STEELER

    I agree Burgh…How far has JJ come?…He will benefit from Heyward playing the RDE spot which means Worilds won’t have that attention getting force on his side…if Tuitt develops into a Heyward clone like many think he can…the OLB job will be a lot easier for whomever is lined up.

  • steeltown

    The Arthur Moats situation is one to watch.. almost in line with the Cam Thomas situation. Coming from another Team where they had some success early on but were never flashy and ultimately had a change of scenery. I will be watching these guys and hoping they thrive in our scheme.

  • ATL96STEELER

    It’s coming down to Garvin & Zumwalt imo…Carter is still trying to find in his way after how many years?

  • steeltown

    I think Z & G will be vying for the last 9th OLB spot, Carter has the experience and the coaches seem to still believe in him.

    I’d personally rather have So’oto on roster at this point.

  • Burgh Ball

    Me – I’ve seen enough of C.Carter..I’ll help him pack. Want to see some of the others – particularly Moats – I wanted the Steelers to pick him up as an UDF when he came out of JMU a few years ago.. I think Buffalo ended up drafting him on day 3… Somewhat excited to see Howard.

  • Geoff Cordner

    I am still on the “James Harrison Farewell Tour 2014″ bandwagon. Almost time to start making the t-shirts…

  • ATL96STEELER

    They do like experience, but Carter hasn’t been good enough to get on the field and use it much…agree on Z&G…have not heard much about So’oto.

  • ATL96STEELER

    The problem w/ JH is he can’t play ST, so a reserve role is tough to fit him into…I wouldn’t mind it, but at some point you gotta turn the page and let the young guys learn under fire…if Worilds can’t shake the injury I can see him getting a late call.

  • ApexSteel

    Trash depth. Sign Harrison please.

  • steeltown

    Yea and when given the chance, he didn’t deliver, in fact he was basically a non-factor

  • Burgh Ball

    If we resign Harrison – I’ll be buying some scooter chair stock. We just need to move on from J.Harrison at this point. my opinion

  • Kevin

    they have Carter and Moats they dont need anymore depth

  • Lil Smitty

    OLB is a major concern for me too. JJ needs to step it up. Seeing Worilds on the sideline during OTAs was concerning. Last year was the only year he wasn’t hurt, and it was his contract year. Anytime a player just makes the roster, but doesn’t stand out until his contract year concerns me about his motivation. Its CCs contract year, lets see how good he is on the field. What will happen if he has a good year and another contract? Will he wait until another contract year to find his “want to”?

  • dgh57

    You’re right if you like your reserve LB to be invisible when filling in! I think that would be a detriment to the team though so Carter needs to GO like yesterday!

  • ApexSteel

    This offseason has everyone things old=bad and young=great for some odd reason. There’s nothing wrong with veteren depth especially when your top two backups have a combined 5 sacks in their combined 7 seasons.

  • Geoff Cordner

    sarcasm?

  • falconsaftey43

    I actually went back and looked up who were the backup OLBs going into each season for the last 10 years. The 7 career sacks by Moats/Carter are actually the most the the backup OLBs have ever entered a season with I believe.

  • dgh57

    That’s what I’m scared of with regards Carter. Something will translate to the field and we’ll have to endure another year of Carter. Remember last preseason when he came up with 2 sacks in the last preseason game which apparently was enough to secure his job for another year?

  • steeltown

    Yea in the 3rd and 4th Qtr going against CAR 3rd stringers, h e l l Baxter got himself 2sacks a week earlier against KC

    It’d be different if Carter was a special teams demon, but he’s basically avg in that department

  • ApexSteel

    The difference being that we had elite starters and the depth before hand was a second rounder with potential in Jason Woirlds and last year a first rounder in Jarvis Jones. Not to mention the 5 sacks are all from Moats with Chris Carter having none and Moats hasn’t had a sack since 2011. Not a good situation.

  • Matt Manzo

    Worilds scares me more than the other guys. Everyone else is where they should be. JJONES could be better but that was his rookie year. With a 10 million $ LB we should know what we’ve got? If he starts getting hurt or just plays average we’re in trouble. Hopefully he sticks a flag in it this year!

  • falconsaftey43

    Very true. I just found it interesting that they’ve never really had a proven backup at OLB. It’s either been a journeymen type guy, or draft pick yet to prove anything.

  • walter mason

    I think its a good chance we will have at least one OLB injury before the season is over. What if we have 2 injuries? We need to be prepared for this possible scenario.

  • falconsaftey43

    You can have injuries at almost any position and have little confidence in the guys behind them. Truth is they’ve never had proven backups at OLB, and I’d doubt they’ve ever had very proven backups elsewhere. I’m much more concerned about the starters, specifically Jones.

  • walter mason

    Maybe not in stats but we have always carried good OLB depth in potential talent. Its a Steeler trademark. This year is an exception.

    Play Harrison and Worilds and keep JJ as depth.

  • walter mason

    Play Harrison and Worilds and keep JJ as depth.

  • walter mason

    Oh right. What were we thinking?

  • walter mason

    EXACTLY. That why I said play Harrison and keep JJ for back up. Im sure JJ will be in there before the year is out.

  • joed32

    Actually he missed one game last year and played all 16 the year before. He missed 6 in his first 2 years, 2010 and 2011.

  • joed32

    Then you call Harrison.

  • ApexSteel

    Not a good idea. I don’t believe Harrison is a starter on this league anymore.

  • ApexSteel

    Just how the cards fell in the draft I guess. Normally they have a OLB of the future being groomed.

  • walter mason

    Im sure my call wouldnt mean squat. Im just hoping the Steelers put any past disagreements aside and use some common sense. Maybe they will wait for an injury to help them make a decision.

  • joed32

    ‘That’s what I meant when you said “what if we have 2 injuries?”. I meant then they call Harrison. I didn’t mean that you should call him.