Prior to the Ryan Shazier injury in 2017, the Steelers defense gave up 17.5 points per game. For reference, that's better than what the Steelers 2019 defense gave up per game. After the Ryan Shazier injury, the Steelers defense gave up 28 points per game including 45 in a Divisional Round loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Steelers were so thin at inside linebacker after the loss of Shazier that they had to sign street free agent Sean Spence. The other options were Tyler Matakevich and L.J. Fort. Yikes.
After cutting Mark Barron this offseason, the Steelers have Vince Williams and Devin Bush as the starters at inside linebacker. Devin Bush should only get better in year two and Vince Williams is a solid run stopper. After those two though, it's a whole lot of nothing.
Kevin Colbert spoke to reporters the other day via conference call and said, “I am really comfortable with Vince Williams and really comfortable with Devin Bush. Could we add some more depth? Sure. Right now, we are kind of in a holding pattern to get a better feel for what is left on the free-agent market.
With the Steelers only having one pick in the top 100 in the upcoming NFL draft, hopefully Colbert does address the position in free agency. The Steelers need depth.
They're an injury to Devin Bush away from taking a great defense and turning it into an average one. If you don't have fast inside linebackers, you don't have a fast defense. Right now, the Steelers don't have enough depth at the position. Hopefully history doesn't repeat itself.