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2024 NFL Draft

Steelers Show Draft Interest in LSU Edge Rusher



Pittsburgh Steelers 2024 NFL Draft Prospect LSU OLB Ovie Oghoufo
Ovie Oghoufo, Gus Stark / LSU Athletics

The Pittsburgh Steelers have shown interest in 2024 NFL Draft prospect, LSU outside linebacker Ovie Oghoufo, according to a report by Ryan Fowler of Bleacher Report.

Oghoufo played almost purely as an edge rusher at LSU over the last five seasons, but some have projected him to be an off-ball linebacker, after he checked in at the NFL Combine at 6-foot-2 3/4, 248 pounds and 33 3/4-inch arms.

But the Steelers have plenty of experience in have success with undersized edge rushers. They drafted Nick Herbig out of Wisconsin last year, when most teams had him pegged as an inside linebacker, and kept him on the edge to great success as a rookie. Herbig measured in at 6-foot-2 1/8 and 240 pounds, with 31 1/4-inch arms. He has a Relative Athletic Score of 6.40 as a linebacker and a 6.58 as a defensive end.

It’s not clear which position the Steelers are interested in having Oghoufo play. They sent defensive line coach Karl Dunbar, who also frequently works with the outside linebackers, to LSU’s pro day. But Dunbar could just have easily been scouting the Tigers’ top three interior linemen in Maason Smith, Mekhi Wingo and Jordan Jefferson.

The Steelers have shown plenty of interest in defensive tackles, beyond the three LSU entrants. They’ve hosted four on pre-draft visits, and formally met with three at the 2024 NFL Combine.

They’ve also shown interest in off-ball linebackers, even after signing Patrick Queen from the Baltimore Ravens. They sent inside linebackers coach Aaron Curry to scout four prospects, and had four formal combine interviews at that position.

On the other hand, their interest in edge rushers has been muted. The Steelers had two formal combine interviews at the position: Austin Booker of Kansas and Mo Kamara of Colorado State. They also brought in hybrid end/tackle Darius Robinson of Missouri in for a pre-draft visit and sent Mike Tomlin and Omar Khan to the pro days of five others, but they came at big schools with multiple top prospects.

That being said, the Steelers do have a need at outside linebacker. Markus Golden, who was their top backup to T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith last season, is a free agent and remains unsigned. Herbig may be ready to step up into the No. 3 role, but the Steelers will want at least four outside linebackers to go into the season with, and thanks to the changes in the kickoff rule, linebackers may play an even bigger role on special teams going forward.

Oghoufo was a six-year collegiate, playing three seasons for Notre Dame, two for Texas and one at LSU. His most productive season came in 2022 at Texas, when he recorded 54 tackles, 8.5 tackles for a loss and 2.5 sacks. Though he played in 12 games in 2023, he saw much less playing time, appearing in 410 snaps after taking 767 reps at Texas the year before, according to Pro Football Focus.

Oghoufo is projected to be an undrafted free agent by NFL Mock Draft Database, which currently ranks him at No. 571 in the class.