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Steelers draft Jason Worilds in 2nd round

April 23, 2010 By: Admin Category: Draft/Free Agency

With their second round pick in the 2010 NFL draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers select Jason Worilds, a defensive end from Virginia Tech.

As much as I liked the Steelers’ first round pick (Maurkice Pouncey), I really dislike their second pick.  It’s nothing against Worilds.  He’s a good kid, and I’ll talk about his virtues in a moment.  But he is a highly specialized athlete.  He wasn’t projected to go this early, and because of his physical limitations, there are only a handful of teams that could utilize him.  So there was no need to reach for him.

In college, Worilds played defensive end.  However, at 6’2″, 250 lbs., he is too small to play that position in the NFL, so he projects as a 3-4 rush linebacker.  More and more teams are switching to the 3-4 defense, so there is more competition for the “tweeners” that make the best 3-4 outside linebackers.  However, because of Worilds’ height, many teams would have shied away from him (at least this early in the draft).

In addition to his height, Worilds doesn’t have the fluid hips needed to change directions well, so he is not great against the run.  He also doesn’t hold his position well, and often gets blown out of the play by blockers.

Because of these limitation, he is only suited to a small number of teams.  His skill set is best suited to a zone-blitz team (like the Steelers), or a one-gap 3-4 defense (like the Steelers, Chargers, and 49ers).  So there was never going to be a bidding war for Worilds.  There are no more than 5 teams in the entire NFL that could have utilized him optimally.  That’s why I think he would have been available in the 3rd or even 4th round.  I would have preferred to use such an early pick on a defensive back, or inside linebacker.  There are even a few offensive tackles that would have been a great value at this pick. But the Steelers are making the pick, not me.  So let’s talk about Worilds’ positives.

Jason Worilds

Despite what I just said, Jason Worilds is going to be a good player for the Steelers.  He fills a very real need for the Steelers.  Most fans view outside linebacker as a strength for the Steelers.  But in actuality, the Steelers are weak at the position.

Some of you are thinking, “We have James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley at outside linebacker.  How can this idiot possibly say the Steelers are weak at the position?”  Well, here’s why I say that.  What would happen if LaMarr Woodley got injured in the second game of the season and missed the rest of the season?  Who would replace him?  And James Harrison will be 32 this season.  His career is rapidly drawing to a close.  Who is his eventual replacement?  See what I mean.  The Steelers have great depth at inside linebacker with Larry Foote and Keyaron Fox.  But at outside linebacker, the depth chart is essentially empty.  The Steelers needed to fix that problem.

Despite his shortcomings, Jason Worilds excels at one thing; rushing the quarterback.  This kid probably has the best pursuit skill of any defensive end in this year’s draft.  That is a GREAT skill to have.  Particularly given what the Steelers ask their outside linebackers to do.

Worilds is a phenomenal athlete with elite speed  and explosiveness.  He is very quick off the snap, and his straight-line speed is exceptional.  He is also a weight room fanatic who is extremely muscular.

He is great at running down passers and running backs (so long as he doesn’t have to change directions), and he delivers a crushing blow when he tackles.  So as a pass rushing specialist, he is an excellent pick.

He has a variety of moves, including a nice spin move (ala Dwight Freeney) and a good swim move.  Moreover, he is relentless in pursuit, and doesn’t give up on the play.

Worilds did have a history of injuries in college.  His freshman season was ended early by a shoulder injury.  He missed one game in his sophomore season due to an ankle injury.  He dislocated his shoulder during the 2nd game of his junior year, and the injury resulted in recurring shoulder problems.  The shoulder injury finally caused the trainers to end his season early and sit him out of the Orange Bowl.  It turned out he had torn his labrum.  He had to have the shoulder surgically repaired in 2009.  Since the surgery, he has had no problems with the shoulder.

In summary, I like this pick.  I think he is going to be a terror chasing the quarterback, and he will add much-needed depth at outside linebacker.  However, I think the Steelers could have gotten him in the 3rd or even 4th round.

To read about the Steelers’ other picks, click the name below:

Maurkice Pouncey - C, Florida

Jason Worilds - DE, VA Tech

Emmanuel Sanders - WR, SMU

Thaddeus Gibson - DE, Ohio State

Chris Scott - OT, Tennessee

Crezdon Butler - CB, Clemson

Stevenson Sylvester - LB, Utah

Jonathan Dwyer - RB, Georgia Tech

Antonio Brown - WR, Central Michigan

Doug Worthington - DT, Ohio State


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8 Comments to “Steelers draft Jason Worilds in 2nd round”

  1. Let me be the first to suck up. I COMPLETELY agree.

    If they loved Worilds, they should have traded down to get the ammunition for an additional 3rd or 4th pick. There are a lot of talented players in the 3rd-4th this year that I don’t think will be around by the 5th (where we have 4 picks).

    So, I agree that he might make a great OLB to eventually replace Harrison but now I am forced to cross my fingers that Owusu Ansah will still be there in the 3rd. Plus, I don’t see how we get a good OT propsect this year unless the Steelers really feel good about some late round guy no one else really knows about.

  2. ARRRGGG!!!

    We just took a small fast WR projected to go in the 4th-5th round in the 3rd. Can we start a write in campaign to the Rooney’s to NOT resign Colbert?

  3. You’re getting ahead of me, John. I’m writing my review of their 3rd round pick right now. But your comment pretty much summarizes what my article is going to say. ;-)

  4. Hurry! I need to vent some more about this pick.

  5. Very interesting. Looking at Harrison’s contract (and solely that) unless he retires or is traded the earliest Worilds replaces him is 3 years down the road. If we would cut harrison before that it would be a 4 mil cap penalty or if harrison is riding the bench, it’ll be a player counting 7 mil against the cap riding the bench. From your assessment it certainly seems the steelers see a player with a a lot of physical potential but needs a couple of years to learn how to use it.

    Also agree about Colbert in rounds 2-3. He seems to value players solely on what they mean to the steelers and ignores what other teams value the player. That’s all fine until you pay more for a player than you have to.

  6. The Steelers seem to operate in a bubble in the draft. They grade someone a second round pick, so when he is there in the middle/end of the second, they think they are getting a deal. They fail to account for the fact that they are 1 of 32 teams, and great number of those teams may have the same player graded as a 4th or 5th rounder, in which case there is a high probability he will still be there next round, or at worst, trade back 5 spots and pick and get an extra pick in the process.

    Prior to this pick I figured they would go LB - I was thinking it would be Sean Lee, but wasn’t surprised with JW. Let’s just hope he isn’t another Alonzo Jackson or Bruce Davis.

  7. @ TO. according to Dale Lolley’s site there was a debate in the steelers office when it came time to pick because someone wanted Lee. He says the decision came down to there being no depth behind our current OLB while we have depth at ILB (although IMO that depth at ILB is only going to last a year).

  8. “Alonzo Jackson” was actually the first thing that went through my head when I saw this pick.

    I hope he’ll be another Joey Porter, but there is loads of bust potential here. I’m a fan of OLB depth, not a fan of this player this early.

    What’s sad is that this was the better of our day two picks.


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