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New Name Emerges in Depleted Steelers Linebacker Room



Steelers LB Mykal Walker
Steelers LB Mykal Walker at practice on Nov. 15, 2023 - Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

PITTSBURGH — The Steelers will have attrition at linebacker with injuries to Kwon Alexander and Cole Holcomb, but it looks like the player benefitting the most will be veteran Mykal Walker. Walker said on Friday that he would play against the Browns and expected to help Elandon Roberts and Mark Robinson, who played most of the game against the Packers without Alexander.

“I don’t know yet (if I’m gonna start),” Walker said. “But they told me I’m getting my number called. I’m going to play so that’s all I need to hear.”

He put up 107 tackles in Atlanta during the 2021 season. Walker never saw himself going onto a practice squad after becoming an integral part of the Falcons’ rotation. But it happened, and now he is in a spot where he can make an impact for the Steelers in the coming weeks.

“To be honest, I never thought I’d be in this situation, especially after what I did in Atlanta last year,” Walker said. “For me, I’ve been riding the roller coaster up and down waiting for my number to get called. My agent keeps me grounded. Sometimes I’m ready to just explode.”

Steelers LB Mykal Walker

Steelers LB Mykal Walker at practice on Nov. 15, 2023 – Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

However, Walker has been getting work with the green dot. While he expects Roberts to call the defense for the most part, Walker has worked throughout the week at relaying the plays in all of the packages they have defensively. That was after inside linebackers coach Aaron Curry called him and told him to be ready for everything.

“Coaches have been letting me run the plays and the huddles and stuff like that,” Walker said. “I got to run all the defenses. I’ve been out there a couple of times in Dime. It’s been good.”

Walker Has Unique Skills

Walker will now suit up and could play in the team’s dime packages, and will likely play alongside Roberts. Robinson will get play, but his skill set is similar to Roberts. It’s likely the coverage aspect that Walker brings to the table that will allow him to play more in the coming weeks. Add in the fact that he has a ton of experience playing, and Walker would seem to be the guy that Pittsburgh has circled as the counterpart to Roberts.
“I’m ready for any challenge,” Walker said. “All I know is that I have the opportunity to play. I can’t say anything beyond that. Elandon is a physical backer, and I feel like my athleticism and versatility works really well and is a good fit for us.”
Walker, in particular, is so versatile and a solid athlete. He has some coverage upside. The Steelers do not know exactly how Walker will fit in yet, but Mike Tomlin likes the experience that Walker brings as someone with green dot and starting experience. Pittsburgh signed him for that reason.

“Mike (Mykal) Walker is a guy that played in Atlanta and had 100-plus tackles or whatever, a year ago, in the National Football League,” Mike Tomlin said. “He’s not on our practice squad for development, to be quite honest with you. He’s on our practice squad to learn what to do and to position and ready himself for a moment, such as what’s going to probably transpire this weekend.”

At Fresno State, he was a two-time first-team All-Mountain West selection. Playing a hybrid role off-ball and sometimes as a blitzer off the edge, Walker racked up 182 tackles in his two years with the Bulldogs. He added 22.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks as that hybrid defender up front. But Walker wants a shot to show what he can do. He played the same role in Atlanta. Now, he might have to do it in Pittsburgh.