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Steelers Best Options At Middle Linebacker In The 2023 NFL Draft

Even after signing Cole Holcomb and Elandon Roberts last week, the Steelers still need a Middle Linebacker, badly. Possessing three picks inside the top 50 might make middle linebacker an option with one of those early picks, but who could Khan and the Steelers be eyeing up? With a plethora of talented off-ball linebackers in this draft, you could have options depending on when it is that you want to grab one.

Middle Linebacker isn’t the only priority for the Steelers in April at the draft, as they have other needs to tend to as well including but not limited to cornerback, left tackle, wide receiver, and so on. One has to imagine middle linebacker will be one of the top priorities on the desk of Omar Khan and Andy Weidl.

Jack Campbell

Iowa-born and raised, the 22-year-old has put together quite the resume in his four years at Iowa with the Hawkeyes. In his junior year, Campbell was named Third Team All-Big Ten and Team Defensive MVP, but his senior year was where he shined the brightest. Campbell finished 2022 with 125 total tackles with 59 of them being solo tackles. He even found a way to get his hands on two interceptions. Good enough to be a First Team All-American, Big Ten Defensive Player Of The Year, and The Dick Butkus Award for the nation’s Top Linebacker. He was also a great student, earning the 2022 Campbell Trophy, known as the Academic Heisman.

Campbell ran a 4.6 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, where he measured at six foot five and 246 pounds. A big, long frame. The Cedar Falls native even had a successful basketball career in high school and could’ve played that at Iowa if he chose to. Scouts noticed Campbell’s nose for action and also good in coverage which is would fit perfectly in Pittsburgh.

Drew Sanders

After two years and a National Championship win at Alabama where he played the edge, Drew Sanders decided to transfer to Arkansas to play a season at the middle linebacker spot. Sanders had an exceptional season, finishing as a Finalist for the Butkus Award that Campbell ended up going home with. He posted 103 total tackles that included 40 solo tackles. Sanders tallied nine and a half sacks, three forced fumbles, and an interception. Good enough to take make First Team All-American and First Team All-SEC. He didn’t test at the combine, but NFL.com has him rated as a Year One Starter, comparing him to newly signed Chicago Bear Tremaine Edmunds.

One Anonymous NFC Personel Director thinks he’s worth drafting on his potential value at the edge position alone. Scouts think Sanders is a highly impactful playmaker with Pro Bowl potential. He’s long and rangy but also explosive. Scouts say he can be a good sideline-to-sideline linebacker, something the Steelers have been desperate for since losing Ryan Shazier.

Noah Sewell

The younger brother of the seventh overall pick in 2021, Penei Sewell, Noah Sewell comes out of Oregon as a middle linebacker. This could be an option later on if Campbell and Sanders are gone. Sewell posted 44 total tackles last year with two sacks and a forced fumble, but 2021 was the year Noah Sewell arrived. In 2021, Sewell gathered 114 total tackles, four sacks, two forced fumbles, and an interception. He started all three years at Oregon for the Ducks.

At the NFL Combine, Sewell ran a 4.64 40-yard dash and put up 27 reps on the bench press. Scouts seem to think he’s more of a project player. It’s unsure when Sewell will get selected, but he could be sitting around for the Steelers if they decide to address other issues with the first couple of picks.

 
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