Mike Tomlin Excited About New Steelers OLB Malik Reed
Malik Reed in Pittsburgh seems like the perfect fit. The former Broncos edge rusher was overtaken by younger players, and Reed has the right skillset the Steelers look for in their outside linebackers. It also helped the Steelers fill an obvious hole in their outside linebacker room. With 13 sacks over the last two seasons, Reed brings plenty of production for the Steelers.
So, it was easy to see why Mike Tomlin would be excited about it. Reed’s quality experience across his time with the Broncos was a central selling point with the Steelers. While he may lack the high-level run defense that others bring, his explosiveness and burst stand out as a pass rusher. So, the Steelers made the move on Reed, who seemed like a great fit.
“He’s an edge guy that provides good quality depth for us there,” Reed said. “He’s played a lot; he’s played over 700 snaps the last two seasons. He was kind of the third guy that got elevated and played a lot in Denver because of circumstances, [Bradley] Chubb, and others. He brings a type of experience that’s helpful to us. We’re excited about having him. He’s young and experienced. He’s 26. I talked to him this morning and he’s excited about getting on this moving train and putting his hand in the pile, along with the rest of us.”
As Tomlin mentioned, the circumstances in Denver pushed Reed out. When he was traded, general manager George Paton talked about Reed’s high character and level of play. It was simply a logjam situation that forced Reed out. As such, the Broncos worked with him to find a new home, and Pittsburgh was a home he was especially interested in.
“I love Malik, everyone does,” Paton said. “He’s a great kid, a great player. We just had a logjam. Man, we have a lot of talented outside linebackers that can rush. So, we thought it would be best to trade Malik and trade him to somewhere where he is really going to fit in at a really good organization. We wouldn’t have just traded him anywhere. He wanted to go to Pittsburgh and we found a home for him. I think it’s a win-win for both sides.”
In order to get the move done, Tomlin watched plenty of tape on Reed. He came impressed by not just Reed’s intangible traits, but by some of the moves he has in his repertoire, including a long arm. With how much the Steelers love their outside linebackers to be unblocked off the edge, Reed fits in perfectly due to his athleticism, hot motor, and fearlessness.
“I just watch a lot of professional football tape, and obviously there’s 700-plus snaps in the past two years,” Tomlin said. “He’s been on a lot of Denver tape, and so I’m familiar with his play, no doubt. I like his motor. He appears to be an attention-to-detail guy. He plays bigger than his measurables. He’s got a nice inside long arm. He’s capable of rushing from both sides. There’s a lot that’s attractive about his game.”
Reed will now fit in with T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith. He should see plenty of tread even from the outset in that area, as he slots in right away as the top backup.