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Steelers Linebacker Mykal Walker Earns Rave Reviews after Strong Game



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

PITTSBURGH — The Steelers named a new starter at linebacker after Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns. That went to Mykal Walker, who will start moving forward next to Elandon Roberts. Playing 63 snaps on Sunday, Walker took a bulk of the load, while Mark Robinson played zero snaps after stepping in on emergency duty against the Packers.

Walker earned praise after his performance. While a veteran, Walker joined Pittsburgh three weeks before his first start. To his credit, he knew the defense and played at a high level. He is a versatile player, but only played in one spot against the Browns, helping guard tight end David Njoku in the process.

Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin had plenty of praise for Walker after the team’s game in Cleveland and sees that he met exactly the standard that they thought a veteran of his caliber would have.

Steelers LB Mykal Walker

Seelers LB Mykal Walker against the Cleveland Browns, Nov. 19, 2023 – Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

“Mykal has played a lot of football. He has played a lot more football than Trent[on] ,and so we expected a solid NFL type game out of Mike, and that’s what we got” Austin said. “Yeah, somewhere. It was a few weeks ago. You know, we like to bring them in, throw them in hot. He’s been here. He’s sharp. He’s a really sharp guy. There was a lot of things –you know, a lot of times in this league there is a lot of similarities, and so really the things that hold guys back are getting into the terminology that’s familiar to them and how they’re playing it, and he’s done a great job. Like I said, he’s a really bright guy and so he’ll continue to get better the more reps he gets.”

Walker will tell you that his greatest asset is his versatility. He’s not wrong. But his experience for the Steelers is a massive asset, too. 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.

Pittsburgh now has a room laden with veterans even after the injuries to Alexander and Holcomb. Walker is the leader in teh clubhouse to play next to Roberts, who had a standout game himself. But Pittsburgh believes they might have something in Walker to embrace.