Restating the Steelers’ ILB depth chart pre-free agency
The inside linebacker position came to define the Steelers’ 2017 season on and off the field. The same is likely to be similarly true of the offseason and 2018. Pittsburgh’s entire campaign changed the moment Ryan Shazier hit Josh Malone, fell to the Paul Brown Stadium turf, not moving his legs. His hospitalization, ongoing recovery and raw human concern for the man stayed in the thoughts of his teammates as they struggled without him in-stadium.
There was no replacing Shazier. There still isn’t.
Mitigating his football loss, however, will define much of Pittsburgh’s personnel shuffling in 2018. As that process gets underway, we look at who remains at inside linebacker and in which order ahead of free agency:
(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Williams was as close to a constant as Pittsburgh had pre- and post-Shazier. The former sixth-round pick took over playcalling duties in his absence and finished the regular season with eight sacks, 69 solo tackles, 20 assisted and an interception.
Whoever and however Pittsburgh plays alongside him, Williams will likely still be carrying the heart of the defense in 2018. Even the Steelers drafting high in his position probably won’t change that.