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Steelers Analysis

How Can Steelers Shore Up Depleted Linebacker Group?



Steelers ILB Kwon Alexander Cole Holcomb
Pittsburgh Steelers linebackers Cole Holcomb and Kwon Alexander against the Cleveland Browns on Sept. 19, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers are reeling at inside linebacker after season-ending injuries to starters in consecutive weeks.

Cole Holcomb was lost for the rest of 2023 with a knee injury in the team’s Week 9 loss to the Tennesee Titans. Then, on the first defense drive on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers, Kwon Alexander was also lost for the year, to an Achilles tear.

In two weeks, the Steelers went from three starter-capable inside linebackers to Elandon Roberts standing in the middle of the empty room like Will Smith at the end of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

But that’s not quite fair to the rest of the Steelers options at linebacker, because they do have options. Here’s a rundown of the internal ways the Steelers can help offset their losses at ILB.

Give Mark Robinson a chance

The team’s seventh-round draft pick out of Ole Miss a year ago, Mark Robinson is only in his third season as a linebacker after starting college as a running back. He’s raw, especially in coverage, but he’s fast and hits like a truck.

Especially in the base defense, I think the combination of Roberts and Robertson, while murderous on play-by-play broadcasters, could work well in the middle of the defense. The only downside I see …

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