- Let’s get one things straight. Al Woods was no world beater. His absence certainly shouldn’t doesn’t doom the Steelers chances for 2014
Steelers Defensive Line Depth Now and Issue
The first involves the question of depth of the Steelers defensive line. Cameron Heyward is budding star. Steve McLendon didn’t make anyone forget he wasn’t Casey Hampton, but his play is probably more solid than many outsiders give him credit.
- After that the Steelers have no depth on defensive line.
- Names Hebron Fangupo, Brian Arnfelt and Nick Williams ring a bell? Well, those are the other defensive lineman the on the Steelers roster.
Regardless, the Pittsburgh Steelers have a hole to fill on defensive line. The Steelers could draft a lineman, but Hampton is the only defensive lineman to start and contribute as a rookie since Bill Cowher’s arrival in 1993.
The Steelers have had somewhat better luck with free agent defensive lineman during Johnny Mitchell’s tenure, in the form of Ray Seals and Nolan Harrison. But the free agent market on defensive lineman is thin – hence the interest in Woods and Hood.
Long Term Issue
The other troubling aspect to Wood’s departure is for what it represents in the long term. The Steelers picked up Woods in 2010 after he was cut by Tampa Bay. The process repeated itself in 2011. Woods didn’t hold down a regular roster spot in 2012, and only then got spot duty. Finally, in 2013 he became part of the rotation.
Woods was listed as starting two games last year. He saw regular action at both defensive end and nose tackle and recorded two sacks and defensed two passes.
- At the very worst, Woods was developing into a viable 4th defensive lineman in a 3-4 scheme.
- At best, he was clawing his way towards a starting role.
Make no mistake about it, Steel Curtain Rising is not crying victim here. Al Woods should get whatever money he can get. And at 2.5 million dollars a year, he likely got in Nashville what he couldn’t get in Pittsburgh.
But coming on the heels of Keenan Lewis last year, this is the second time in two years the Steelers have acted as a veritable farm system for other NFL teams. This was common in the 1990’s of course, but ended with the opening of Heinz Field.
- Now the Steelers salary cap situation has them repeating history. And not for the better.
Regardless, its frustrating to see the Steelers invest Woods to see it all go up in smoke.
Thanks for visiting. Click here for the rest of Steel Curtain Rising or here to see our Steelers 2014 Free Agent Focus.