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2024 NFL Draft

Omar Khan: Steelers Must Address Inside Linebacker Position

The Pittsburgh Steelers are looking to make some waves, but one of those might have to be addressing the inside linebacker position.



Pittsburgh Steelers Cole Holcomb
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Cole Holcomb against the Cleveland Browns on Sept. 18, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

INDIANAPOLIS — The Pittsburgh Steelers have multiple needs before free agency, but one of the harder needs to peg in how it will addressed throughout this offseason is the inside linebacker position. Kwon Alexander is not only a free agent but also suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon, while Cole Holcomb still has an uncertain time to return from his serious knee injury.

And while talking to the media at the NFL Combine, general manager Omar Khan declared that inside linebacker was a position they had to address moving forward.

“The inside linebacker position, we have Elandon Roberts under contract, Mark Robinson,” Khan said Thursday. “Cole Holcomb had an awful (knee) injury. I don’t really have a timetable when he’ll be back. Kwon Alexander is a free agent, but he also had a major injury (Achilles). So it’s obviously a position that we have to address.”

Roberts had a fantastic season in relief of the injuries, becoming one of the team’s leaders with a depleted linebacker room around him. There are a few free agents that could make sense, but in reality, the likelihood would be if they want to try and shore up inside linebackers for a long time, they will go into the NFL Draft to fix it.

They had formal meetings with Texas A&M linebacker Edgerrin Cooper, Michigan linebacker Junior Colson, and Clemson linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Jr. In addition to that, they have met with Ohio State linebacker Tommy Eichenberg.

According to Ryan Fowler of the Draft Network. Cooper met with the Steelers multiple times throughout the Sheinr Bowl, and despite only being there for so long due to not participating in the week of practice itself, Cooper maintained that the Steelers were a team that stuck out in his interviews.

“I could tell they are really interested,” Cooper said to Steelers Now at the Shrine Bowl. “For sure, I think they like my game a lot.”

They reportedly love his game. Meanwhile, Trotter and Colson are two of the other top linebackers in the class. Coming from Clemson and Michigan, they have the type of pedigree that teams would like to see out of the linebackers, especially because the Steelers like to target those high-level schools.

Trotter, the son of former Eagles linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Sr., is a thumper in a modern linebacker body. He loved meeting with Mike Tomlin and noted that the Steelers were one of the teams he watched closely throughout his football life. The same thing is true for Colson. And it’s clear the team is looking at those early linebackers.