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Pro Football Focus Links Four LBs to Steelers in Free Agency



Steelers Aaron Curry

Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Omar Khan declared at the NFL Combine that inside linebacker was a position they had to address moving forward. Kwon Alexander is a free agent and coming off a season-ending Achilles injury. Cole Holcomb had a season-ending knee injury also, and Khan really doesn’t have a timetable when he’ll be back.

With inside linebacker being a top priority for the Steelers, Brad Spielberger of Pro Football Focus linked Josey Jowell, Blake Cashman, Drue Tranquill and Tyrel Dodson as possible landing spots.

Jowell recorded over 100 tackles in each of the last two seasons with the Denver Broncos.

“Steelers general manager Omar Khan didn’t seem overly optimistic about Cole Holcomb’s status for the early portion of 2024 as he returns from a knee injury, and he mentioned linebacker as a position of interest in the upcoming draft. Perhaps Pittsburgh gets started early and adds a good coverage backer to play alongside thumper Elandon Roberts,” Spielberger wrote.

Cashman had a banner year with the Houston Texans in 2023, recording nine tackles for loss and a 83.7 PFF grade (5th among all LBs).

“We’ve mentioned the Steelers a few times already, as they were signing linebackers off practice squads or the street by the end of the 2023 campaign due to a bevy of injuries,” Spielberger wrote.

Tranquill, who is coming off a Super Bowl title with the Kansas City Chiefs, shined in Steve Spagnuolo’s system as a extremely efficient blitzer. He also displayed elite coverage abilities. Coverage has been an issue for Steelers linebackers over the last several seasons, ever since they lost Ryan Shazier to a career-ending spinal injury in 2017.

Dodson started 10 games for the Buffalo Bills in 2023. In previously seasons, he served mostly as a special teams player. Last season, he registered 74 total tackles (57 solos), 2.5 sacks, eight tackles for loss and six quarterback hits. PFF thinks the New York Giants would be he his best fit, followed by the Steelers.

“Giants general manager Joe Schoen was a member of the front office that added Dodson as an undrafted free agent in 2019, and he finally got to showcase his skills in 2023 following a bunch of injuries,” Spielberger wrote “New York may need to focus its real spending in the trenches, so the team adds a low-cost, agile backer with familiarity.”

The Steelers had formal meetings with Texas A&M linebacker Edgerrin Cooper, Michigan linebacker Junior Colson, and Clemson linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Jr at the NFL Combine. 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 Shrine 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.”