The Steelers are signing veteran linebacker Mykal Walker to their practice squad, the team announced on Monday. As a corresponding move, they have released linebacker Caleb Johnson. Pittsburgh hosted Walker for a workout two months ago.
Walker was released by the Atlanta Falcons earlier this summer and claimed by the Chicago Bears. Then, Walker was released during cut-downs by Chicago and has not caught on elsewhere. A fourth-round pick in 2020 out of Fresno State, Walker is a veteran with plenty of playing experience.
Over his three years in Atlanta, he racked up 187 tackles, two forced fumbles, three interceptions, and one sack. In those years, he started 20 games for the Falcons, with 2021 being his most impressive season as an NFL player.
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. The Steelers have been looking for a true inside linebacker to add to the practice squad, with Tariq Carpenter representing a player who is more of a hybrid player.
Currently, the inside linebackers on the roster include Cole Holcomb, Elandon Roberts, Kwon Alexander, and Mark Robinson. Carpenter is the lone inside linebacker on the practice squad. Kyron Johnson is a hybrid linebacker who profiles more as an edge rusher. So, Walker should help with that concern and be a guy who can step into that role if needed.