Combine Notes: On Worilds and the OLB Hunt

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INDIANAPOLIS – Billy Davis began his professional coaching career in Pittsburgh, learning from the likes of Dom Capers and Dick LeBeau, and in some respects is trying to build the Eagles defense in the Steelers likeness. To do so, he will have to bolster the outside linebacker position, which has long been a critical component of Pittsburgh’s attack.

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert has had a hand in the assembly of the Steelers’ roster  since 2000. We asked him what he looks for in an outside linebacker.

“Outside linebackers have to do three things: they have to play in the tight end, they gotta rush the passer and they have to be able to cover,” he said at the combine Thursday. “So you’re looking for a certain set of athletic skills to be able to do all three. But the main thing is they have to be able to rush the passer.”




When asked about pending free agent Jason Worilds, Colbert mentioned that the 25-year-old possesses all three skills. Given how hard it is to find quality edge rushers, it's fair to assume the Steelers will fight to keep Worilds in Pittsburgh. No team is going to want to give up a quality OLB, so the Eagles will have to be creative in their search.

Perhaps the draft is the answer. Colbert said that in the 30 years that he has worked in this profession, this draft class is the deepest and most talented that he's seen. Even so, the process of identifying sure-fire 3-4 outside linebackers can be a difficult one, especially with so many college teams running the 4-3, the GM explained.

"Most of our outside linebackers that have come through our defense were college defensive ends," he said. "That's why we had a certain comfort level with Jarvis Jones last year because he came from a 3-4.

"You have to look at their raw athletic ability. The defensive ends, a lot of times they haven't dropped, they haven't caught balls. They will do some of that today, we'll build on that in their Pro Day and see what they can do not only athletically but mentally as well because it's a different challenge. They have to become not only a player coming forward but a player that plays in reverse as well."

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  • JofreyRice

    I think it’s telling that he steered the convo to Jarvis Jones. The Steelers are in one of the outer rings of cap hell–not in that inner circle with Jerry and the ‘Boys, of course–and are not going to be able to re-sign this guy; and they already have their two starting OLB’s, in the form of first rounder Jones/Woodley. I don’t think Worilds is returning to Pittsburgh.

    That being said, is Worilds “special”? I don’t know. His physical dimensions are nothing impressive, and this is really his first year of consistent production. In the case of a passrusher like this, I’d rather we grow him up ourselves, with a drafted guy.

    • Richard Colton

      Sign Worilds…OK. I don’t hate the idea, but that’s a lot of money wrapped up in three players who all play the same position next year. I’d rather go into week on with Cole/BG/Rookie than three high priced guys.

      • NickS1

        If we did sign a guy I think BG would get the June 1st designation, at least try to mitigate some of the dead money. Granted, the 1.7 in savings isn’t all THAT much, but, better than nothing. However, Worilds, I’ve heard, is more likely to return than Woodley.

        • JofreyRice

          Did not realize Woodley was likely a cap casualty. I’d definitely be interested in him. Ironically, he’s the guy that Brandon Graham was drawing favorable comparisons to, pre-draft in 2010; but I think Woodley’s a much better athlete. I think he plays the Strong side for them, though. I’m not sure he’s ever just pinned his ears back and gone for the QB as his first priority.

          • NickS1

            He has, he’s got 3 double digit sack seasons since coming into the league in 2007, he’s just had down years the last few years, some nagging injuries I believe as well. It’s funny though, it’s more to cut him than to keep him (13 cap, 14 dead), but the reason they’d do it is to avoid paying his salaries this season and in 2015 and 16. His dead hit next year would be 11, so they really screwed the pooch with his contract. He’s a restructure/paycut candidate first, but in releasing him, they just rid themselves of a headache they’d have to constantly re-address in the coming years anyway. It’ll be interesting to watch. I’d think they would want to play Jones, since he was a first round pick, which means one of Worilds/Woodley has to go, but who knows. Also, they’re closer to that inner ring of cap hell than you give credit for. They’ve been king of the restructure for the last 4 or 5 years it seems.

          • Jerry Pomroy

            Didn’t Big Ben restructure his contract to help them free up some cap space last yr or the yr prior?

          • NickS1

            Yeah, and he might sign an extension this offseason to lower his cap number again. His restructures have been to get them under the cap and/or give them a little bit of wiggle room.

          • GEAGLE

            Woodley wouldn’t be a bad two year stop gap(if we are trying to win a SB in 15)

            Injuries have killed him these past two years, maybe our Sports Science and a rotation keeps him healthy..I would keep an eye on Woodly if we trade BG on draft night(the OLB market would have dried up by then)

            If we cut BG now, then I think we are targeting Everson Griffin, possibly MJ. If we don’t cut BG then we hAve too much money tied up in the position to sign a FA OLB

            If we trade BG on draft night, then we could sign a stop gap like Woodley in June
            ..

          • Token

            30 this season. Cant stay healthy. Hasnt been the same player you might recall from 2010.

          • GEAGLE

            Needs some sports science in his life JK

    • Token

      Pretty much a bum since getting there. Thats why they took Jones. They wanted this guy to come around for awhile and he didnt. Then come contract time he puts up a few stats. No thank you.

      I cant say hes above what they could get in the 15-30 range in the draft. Orakpo id pay. Not Worilds.

    • Tom W

      Waste of time for a kid that didn’t excel and it will cost a pretty penny. even steelers fans aren’t high on him

  • GEAGLE

    Sixers aquire Byron Mullens

    • peteike

      ya just saw that, traded Turner and Lavoy for Granger to Pacers. Ya baby

      • GEAGLE

        Hinkie managed to ship Hawes and ET, what a magnificent day

    • Token

      Another expiring. Odd deal tho, just expiring for expiring. No 2nd rounder coming back in that one? Guess he really wanted Turner gone.

      • GEAGLE

        No way…bet we got a first rounder back…you can buy 2nd round picks for less then 5mil..think the details still need to be released. Expect a first rounder….love that we added an extra 5mil so now our players don’t get to split that extra 5mil hahahahahahaha I’m the most diabolical hater in the game right now..lol so happy!!

        Feel bad for thad

        • Token

          Got a future 2nd in return. Looks like a deal simply to get rid of Turner for the next few months and get above the cap floor.

          • GEAGLE

            Hilarious…god Evan sucks smh

          • BrickSquadMonopoly

            ….#3…remember

    • cliff henny

      lost track, but think they added 6 2nds (3 in ’14. 2 in ’15 , and 1 in ’16) and gave 1 out, but it has crazy protection like wroten, so doubtful it’ll ever be sent. must admit, outside sixers and orlando’s 2nd in upcoming draft, was more fun and funny, than getting excited over all these 2nds.

      • GEAGLE

        Been laughing all day. Love it!! All the remaining stench of Doug Collins, the Charlatan, finally wiped away…Clean Slate, watch Hinkie build a FORCE…btw, Nerlens practiced today!!!

        • cliff henny

          heard granger is getting bought out. poor Young, this team wont win more than 4 or 5 games rest of the yr. bucks got put on notice, better not do smething dumb and win 3 or 4 in a row.

          • GEAGLE

            Lol Thad should be allowed to take a vacation the rest of the year, not risk an injury so we can trade him on draft night..he doesn’t deserve to have to take the floor with this slop..really feel bad for Thad..he deserved to go to Indiana, not ET(Larry Bird will be on his ass)

          • cliff henny

            ah, cavs just announced its their pick nor orlando’s. well, hawes and turner are garbage, all hinkie could get was 3 middle 2nds. using minor cap space got 3 more middle 2nds.

          • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

            a win in my book.

  • GEAGLE

    Think Worlids is a waste of time…steelers will cut Woodley and sign Worlids before he ever reaches FRee agency…

    If we spend money on an OLB(which I doubt unless we cut BG), i think it would be Everson Griffin, unless we make an MJ type splash

    • Token

      Griffin, a career nothing even tho he had line talent around him.

      • GEAGLE

        Not like he was backing up some bum in Jared Allen…we are talking about a “backup” who the Vikings are considering using one of the most expensive franchise tags on…what players did til this point means nothîng…it’s about projecting what they do during their next contract, and this kid is hungry…if he goes to a good team, he be a real nice player. Good combo of strength and agility

    • Tom W

      Don’t sleep on Marcus Benard or the olb from Washington as hole-fillers

  • RIP illa

    If Worilds hits the market and our team has any interest in signing him, Howie needs to ask himself a couple of questions.

    1) How much are we willing and will need to pay him to get him to come here and be a back up to Cole?
    I know Chip preaches competition and if Worilds was to beat out Cole
    then so be it…He’d be the starter. Which leads to the next question.

    2) Since we know how much Cole cost, is this team willing to let him ride pine for that amount if Worilds is signed and beats him out?
    None of the answers seem favorable in any way (IMO). Just draft a young guy!!!

    • Token

      Worilds has made it clear he wont be a back up anymore.

      • GEAGLE

        He won’t even hit the market

      • RIP illa

        Exactly. He had to wait for his moment when he 1st went to Pitt and no way he wants to go back to that type of position. However, money is the great equalizer and they would pitch the whole fair shot ploy IF they had any of intentions of pursuing him and IF he hit the market at all. And that alone would significantly up the price. Unless the GMs get together and discuss a low base line price on FA pass rushers…as they do on numerous positions every year, Sidenote…Collusion runs rampant in the NFL at this time!!!
        Bottom line is, I see no way that he’d want to come here or that we would/could get him here.

        • Token

          Hes not good enough to even mess around with all that. Most vet FAs wont go for the fair shot baloney anyway IMO.

        • Maggie

          Your logical thinking in this situation is admirable. ;~D

          • RIP illa

            Wow…my first ever compliment from you. Thank You.

    • aub32

      Your second question makes no sense. The point of the offseason is to upgrade the team. Whether it’s Worilds or an undrafted FA, if they beat out Cole and can help the team then Cole should be on the bench. Vick made well over 10 times of what Foles made. Yet Foles was the better player and deservedly started after winning the job. It makes no sense to ignore a chance at making an upgrade because it will mean one of our higher paid players will sit.

      • RIP illa

        Naïve. Sure that sounds so great, but how can you not even consider that if you’re a GM…you know since a big part of the GM’s job is managing the cap and dealing with player contracts. Howie would be a complete idiot not to take that into the equation!!! Can’t compare Vick’s and Cole’s contract situations. Cole has dead money where Vick’s didn’t. Plus Foles is getting paid pennies…not like there was a lot of money tied up between the two. And even if Vick kept the job…we’d still be paying Foles pennies!!! Even if Vick was going to resign here to be a backup…I’m pretty sure we would definitely workput a deal w/ him where he wouldn’t be making anything close to the 12 mil he made this past offseason!!!
        Have you ever considered this:
        Barwin – 4.9 mil
        Cole – 6.6 mil
        Graham – 3.378 mil
        Worilds – at least 4 mil
        Does nothing seem wrong or at the least, a little off, bout any of that??? Try adding all that together for one position group!!! Wanna throw in Ryans and Kendricks money too??? Come on man.

        • GEAGLE

          If BG isn’t cut, we ain’t signing any OLBs AT ALL!!! Sucks, but money matters

          • RIP illa

            For real. Cut or Traded. That’s why the only logical choice is to go w/ a, relatively cheap, rookie. I could see if Worilds was a world beater and tops at his position, that would kinda change the dynamic and make you, at least reconsider some things, but he’s not!!! And I do believe Aub was one for keeping Graham this for his last year cuz he doesn’t believe we would get good compensation for him. So his argument against what I said makes no sense.

          • GEAGLE

            Yeah, BG is what decides if we can add a FA or not..say BG isn’t cut, and you see us sign an OLB, I would assume we are in talks to move BG during the draft, or plan on dumping him at some point before camp….I see NO scenario where BG AND a Free agent OLB are both here next year…right now we have no choice but to adress it in the draft..but if we already know we won’t extend BG, and we believe their is a chance to get a long term solution in FA, I would be ok with getting rid of BG…but he isn’t a horrible stop gap either(he will be better next year)

        • aub32

          You know what, I didn’t look at it that way. You’re right. What GM would throw so much money into pass rusher. O yea how about the Seahawks. Like us they are paying Wilson pennies. So what did they do last offseason? They went and paid Bennet and Avril. So what if we are throwing more money into a position this year. Cole and BG will likely be off the books next year. Foles will likely either make pennies or take a lesser deal because he will still be under contract. So I don’t think I am the naive one. I’m just playing by the rules of today and looking what has actually worked.

          • RIP illa

            Sigh…

            I only responded to the QB $ situation in reference to the flawed example you tried using to counter my “second question”. In no way did I go down the path of, ‘cuz we’re paying Foles pennies, we can’t or can use the money were saving for other positions as you just did. That’s a completely different discussion. I kept it at Foles v Vick in reference to Cole v signing Worilds cuz that’s what you brought up. For a guy that talks about context so much, then we should probably keep it in context.

            Furthermore…here’s some more context…yes Seattle did have the money to spend on pass rushers and did exactly that. Hmm, but why??? Maybe cuz they were set at WR!!! Maybe cuz they were pretty much set at LB!!! Maybe cuz they were set at Corner!!! Maybe cuz they were set at both Safety Positions!!! Maybe cuz they were in the mind set to make a legit deep playoff run/Super Bowl push!!! Maybe cuz all the positions that they are set at was costing them very little money, being that a lot of their players are mid to late round picks and UDFAs!!!

            What’d you say…you want some more context??? Well ok then, but this is the last one!!! AVRIL AND BENNETT ARE BETTER PLAYERS THAN WORILDS AND WORTH SPENDING THE MONEY!!! SMH, this is a very weak FA class, and Worilds isn’t even top at his position or even a proven great pass rusher at that. If he was then I could understand the want or need of that type of player outweighing the money we have already invested in the position. Hell, there’s guys in this draft that are considered to already to be better pass rushers than him. What’s the F’n point of signing him unless he comes very cheap?! All logic points to the draft, to fill the pass rush OLB need. Sure we could pick/sign another guy in FA, but that guys gonna be a back up making back up money!!!

    • anon

      Thats the problem with literally the whole defensive roster.

      • RIP illa

        I can see that to some certain extent. That’s why I’m resigned to drafting rookies where it seems to be a problem at. Mainly OLB, CB, and MLB. I should point out that I’m talking about rounds 1-4 rather than Day 3 prospects for those positions. Also, I do think Cole’s contract is the biggest factor of why I separate it, or rather see it as more of a problem and a reason not to sign a FA to compete with him, so to speak, more so than other positions. And along with the totality of money invested in that position group.
        Safety, we have nothing invested their as of now. CB, Fletch can be let go w/o great detriment to our cap, if need be. And I do believe we can walk away from Williams’ deal w/o getting too badly burned, when his contract starts to ballon. The only other issue may be Ryans. And we have a lot of nickel and diming going on w/ the amount of players we have as ILBs, but I suspect or am hoping that it becomes more under control this year with the subtraction of a few players at the position that really don’t need to be here.

        • anon

          OLB clearly the worst. But CB, ILB, DL are all in similar positions.

          For instance if we don’t take an OLB early, we’re going to be in a world of trouble next year, BG will be gone, TCole will be restructured or gone and we don’t have ANY depth at the most important positions in the scheme.

          ILB i thought Goode was pretty good filling in for Kendricks, but he wasn’t Goode enough to see the field on a regular basis, which speaks volumes. But hopefully S and ILB get cleared out this year – rebalance / improve the depth on the team.

          • RIP illa

            I’m with you.

  • GEAGLE

    Wonder if Ray Rice gets cut after everyone is watching a video of dragging his knocked out GF’s lifeless body from an elevator??? How the hell can he survive that? Plans for kubiaks new run game just may have went up in smoke. Dude knocked out his girl at revel casino during the crowded weekend? Like…wtf? I got dat Bryce brown for sale!!! Call me Ozzie!!,

    • George

      If we could get a 4th or 5th for bryce, I’d be jumping out of my seat!

      • GEAGLE

        I’m ok with trading him if lamicheal James gets cut. I don’t want to see us trade Bryce and then trade a pick away for James,,

    • peteike

      ya what a crazy story. Not looking good for Ray but his lawyers are in full damage control. Only out for him I can guess if she was just in completely black out drunk phase and there was never any hitting involved. Police report says different though, Ill wait and see, not good though. He seemed like a decent guy (minus spitting) but I guess you never know, never an excuse. Says they were hitting each other.

      • Maggie

        And he’s strong, muscular professional football player, who I’m sure can hit much harder than a supposedly drunk woman.

      • GEAGLE

        No excuse…can’t tell you how many black eyes my girl gave me when we were younger lol(she wore rings lol). I used to put my hands behind my back, keep talking shit so she had no choice to keep punching me lol…nothing a woman can do deserves getting hit. Don’t know how he survives it…that video is bad!!!

        • BrickSquadMonopoly

          LOL you have no balls geags. Gettin black eyes from ur girl guess she was wearin the pants. Cool story bro.

    • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

      I’d take Brown and Polk over Rice right now. No thanks Ozzie. He’s staying anyway

    • Jerry Pomroy

      I now live down in the Baltimore area & all you hear from Ravens fans is how maybe she was passed out, or you know how girls can be. Problem is (and I’m sure Rob can concur) all you hear on the radio & TV is endorsements from Rice & Flacco, especially now that Lewis is retired (well except for N’gata’s royal farms chicken commercials). Guess thats gonna change quickly as I’m sure he just lost a ton of endorsements.

  • Rick H

    Two points of interest on Worilds & Woodley that apply to the comments made so far.

    First, Worilds has already told the Steelers he does NOT want to come back to them if he is a back up. Worilds wants to start! So why he want to come to the Eagles and be Cole’s backup?

    Second, Woodley has been called out by one or two of his Steelers teammates for being out of shape. Specifically after he signed his big contract. Woodley claims he works out but the Steelers players don’t see him work out at their complex. Woodley’s response has been that he works out elsewhere.
    Woodley sounds like an out of shape 30 year old guy that “Got Paid”. I would pass on him based on the information I have read and his age.
    Worilds would be a very good player for the Eagles but he has to start regardless of Cole’s salary. Plus personally Cole has and is one of my favorite Eagles.