The inside linebacker position has been a glaring hole on the otherwise stout Steelers defense the last couple of years. It’s been a rotating door of missed tackles and blown coverage in the middle out there. Now that it finally seems like we’re going to see some fresh faces at the position, maybe the Steelers can finally get back to Steeler Football and stop the run efficiently.
That can’t come without some turnover, and it was finally time for a fresh start in Pittsburgh. The inside linebacker position in Pittsburgh has seen some legendary players like Ryan Shazier, James Farrior, and Jack Lambert, just to name a few. But, unfortunately, in the past couple of seasons, the guys at the position have not lived up to that standard. But, as Mike Tomlin would say, the standard is the standard.
The fifth-round pick from 2019 has found his way to Pittsburgh, signing a three-year deal. Holcomb was a defensive captain for the Commanders last year and will most likely wear the green dot for Pittsburgh this year, barring any other major free-agent signings.
The 26-year-old had his season cut short last season, only appearing in seven games. In those seven games, Holcomb made 59 total tackles and had one tackle for loss. However, with the departure of Devin Bush, it looks like Holcomb will get to wear his number 55.
Pittsburgh also made another under-the-radar signing, grabbing 28-year-old linebacker Elandon Roberts; the former Dolphin and Patriot finally escaped the AFC East. The former sixth-round pick has established himself as an everyday player in the NFL.
Roberts started all 17 games for the Dolphins last year, grabbing 107 total tackles with four and a half sacks and ten tackles for loss. The Steelers signed the former Dolphins defensive captain to a two-year deal. Roberts is known to get downhill well and is not afraid of contact.
After signing Holcomb and Roberts to multi-year deals, Pittsburgh cut ties for former Pro Bowler Myles Jack. Between his low production and high cap hit, Pittsburgh decided it was time to move on. In a season hampered by various injuries he attempted to play through, Jack posted 104 total tackles and three for loss in 15 games. It’s Sad to see Jack out of Pittsburgh after just one season. Jacksonville’s former second-round pick will now search for a new home.
The Steelers didn’t just lose Jack. New General Manager Omar Khan decided to overhaul the linebacker’s room entirely. Brian Flores, the massively overqualified Linebackers Coach and Defensive Assistant last year, left to be the Defensive Coordinator in Minnesota.
A devastating blow as Flores is simply an outstanding football mind. Pittsburgh also said farewell to Robert Spillane, who will be remembered most as the guy who wasn’t afraid to meet Derrick Henry in the hole. Former tenth-overall pick Devin Bush appears to be out of town, too, as Pittsburgh did not renew his contract moving forward—a complete shuffle in the inside linebackers room.
Pittsburgh now has four inside linebackers after the addition of Holcomb and Roberts. Mark Robinson, the seventh overall pick last year, remains on the roster after appearing in four games last season. Robinson posted nine total tackles in his short playing time this season. Tae Crowder, a mid-season signing last year, also remains. Crowder appeared in 13 games last season, gathering 45 total tackles for the Giants. All signs point to the Steelers drafting another linebacker in April to join these guys in Latrobe this summer.