The team is obviously set when it comes to their starting lineup. T.J. Watt is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, while former third-round pick Alex Highsmith is coming off a breakout year that saw him compile six sacks. That duo may be one of the best OLB tandems in the NFL, and Highsmith is hoping they can establish themselves as the best OLB grouping by taking his own game to another level.
“I definitely feel I can be more productive sacks-wise. This year hitting double digits is a main goal of mine. At least 10 or 12. Somewhere around there,”
Highsmith told Tim Benz of TribLive.com. “Refining a lot of my game. Whether that’s pass-rushing or getting more physical in the run game. No matter how much of a jump I make, I feel like I can always get better.”
However, it’s the depth behind the starting outside linebackers that’s questionable. At the moment, the grouping of Derrek Tuszka, Genard Avery, Tuzar Skipper and Delontae Scott are currently slotted in to compete for backup reps at the position. The Steelers also brought in a pair of undrafted rookies at the position in T.D. Moultry and Tyree Johnson.
As Kaboly writes, the Steelers are looking to avoid the situation that happened against the Minnesota Vikings last season, when neither of the two outside linebackers could suit up. The two players have been healthy throughout their career but experienced depth would make an injury a bit more tolerable.