Friday, August 24, 2007

Getting Older at Linebacker

While the Steelers started to address their aging linebacker situation by dumping Joey Porter and drafting Lawrence Timmons and LaMarr Woodley, there are still some issues here. This group may not rival some of the linebacking corps of Steelers past, but they should be solid. The main concern is that two of the four starters are over 30 (James Farrior and Clark Haggans) and the other, James Harrison, will be 30 next May. Only Larry Foote (27) is under 30. How much tread are left on these guys?

But, what concerns me more than the ages of the starters is the lack of depth behind them. Until this season, the Steelers have pretty much ignored the linebacker position in the draft. You’ve got to give the team credit for drafting some gems in the later rounds in the past. However in the last five years, Rian Wallace is the only linebacker drafted by the Steelers that is still on the team, and he was a fifth round choice. Woodley and Timmons have to be the future of this group and the team must draft more linebackers in the next draft.

I think the team keeps seven or eight linebackers. Here are the players I’m picking:
- Farrior – the rock of this defense
- Foote – takes over for Porter as the trash talker
- Haggans – needs to be the pass rushing force he can be
- James Harrison – your time to shine is now
- Clint Kriewaldt – valuable back up and on special teams
- Timmons – needs to get healthy
- Wallace – only if they keep 8
- Woodley – still my pick for defensive rookie of the year

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