The Pittsburgh Steelers aren’t thin at the outside linebacker position in regards to bodies to compete for that third outside linebacker position to spell Defensive Player of the Year TJ Watt and starter Alex Highsmith. The Steelers have four guys behind those two currently on the roster. Those guys are Genard Avery, Tuzar Skipper, Derek Tuszka and Delontae Scott. Those four guys combined have totaled 10 career sacks in a total of eight combined years of NFL action, with Scott never playing a down in the NFL, yet. The Steelers would be smart to sign newly released, and as of Monday night, former Chicago Bears‘ outside linebacker, Jeremiah Attaochu.
Bears signed free-agent NT
Mike Pennel and released veteran LB Jeremiah Attaochu.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 14, 2022
The Steelers need experience at OLB
Avery has the most years of experience and with that being said, the most production out of the four men behind Watt and Highsmith. Avery has totaled 101 combined tackles, 7.5 sacks, 11 tackles for a loss, and 24 QB hits in four years of league experience. The rest of the guys listed above, Skipper, Tuszka, and Scott have combined for four years of experience totaling 32 combined tackles, 2.5 sacks, 2 tackles for a loss, and 3 QB hits. So yeah, it makes some sense to say the Steelers are indeed thin at the outside linebacker position behind Watt and Highsmith. Even if those two don’t like to come off the field a lot, it’s important to keep those two fresh on Sundays.
Attaochu, 29, has played for multiple teams in his eight-year career. Most recently of the Bears, Attaochu has suited up for the Los Angeles Chargers, even way back when they were the San Diego Chargers (where he was originally drafted in the 2014 NFL Draft in the second round), the New York Jets, and the Denver Broncos. The outside linebacker has played in 79 career games, only starting in 23 of those. He’s a long-time backup in his career, but that’s okay. That’s just what the Steelers are in need of.
The former standout out of Georgia Tech has totaled 146 combined tackles, 20.5 sacks, 31 tackles for a loss, and 43 QB hits in his eight-year career. He’s now looking where to spend his ninth NFL season and I think the Steelers should be on his radar and the team should jump on this opportunity to gain some known NFL production and experience behind Watt and Highsmith. The Steelers did something similar last off-season when they signed veteran OLB Melvin Ingram to a contract, but that turned sour due to some miscommunication about the role the team was asking Ingram to fill. Ingram was eventually dealt to the Kansas City Chiefs last season before the trade deadline for a sixth rounder, after requesting a trade from the team. Remember, the Steelers want volunteers, not hostages!
The team doesn’t need another starter at the position, they need a third guy that can spell Watt and Highsmith and still get to the quarterback. Attaochu could be that guy! It’s simple mathematics, in the same years of experience as the other four guys on the roster behind Watt and Highsmith have combined (eight years), Attaochu has outperformed them in his eight-year NFL career, alone. The Steelers should definitely be on the phone right now waiting for Attaochu to answer!