Ed: OLB Needs Time; Will NFL Give it to Him?
Saturday, 30 April 2011 15:58
Written by Ed Bouchette
The Steelers drafted another developmental player on the fifth round, outside linebacker Chris Carter of Fresno State. He played defensive end in college and will convert to outside linebacker in the 3-4 with the Steelers. That’s typical and the way many outside linebackers have made their way here from undersized college defensive ends.
The problem this season, though, is there is no preseason. The owners have locked out the players so there is no opportunity for players such as Carter and their fourth-round pick, small-college cornerback Cortez Allen of The Citadel to develop. The longer this thing drags on, the more these rookies will be left out in the cold and of no use to the team in 2011, if there is a season.
Linebackers coach Keith Butler pointed to the example of Thaddeus Gibson last year. He was in the same boat, trying to learn the outside linebacker position in the pros but he could not join the Steelers until Ohio State’s school term ended in June.
That put him far behind and he never caught up and ultimately was released by the Steelers.
For those OLBs making the transition like Carter, it usually takes two years, Butler noted. The lockout won’t help that process.