LATROBE, Pa. – The Steelers have No. 1 draft picks aplenty at linebacker, but position coach Keith Butler is also thankful to have former Buffalo Bills sixth-rounder Arthur Moats available this summer at Saint Vincent College.
"We need him," Butler said of Moats, a fifth-year pro who signed with the Steelers as a relatively low-profile unrestricted free agent. "We need him in a bad way because of the depth at that (outside linebacker) position. He provides us depth at that position. He's done well at outside linebacker."
Moats did well during the much-anticipated backs-on-backers drill that highlighted Monday's first practice in pads, and then also in the 11-on-11 work that followed.
And while more eyes might have been on 2013 No. 1 pick Jarvis Jones or 2014 top pick Ryan Shazier out on the practice field, Moats' performance did not go unnoticed or unappreciated in the film room.
"We have a lot of depth inside," Butler continued. "(Moats) helps us outside in terms of depth. I'm letting Terence Garvin play both (inside and outside). I'm letting (sixth-round pick Jordan) Zumwalt play both a little bit, but right now I feel like we're better with just keeping Moats outside and let him learn that position.
"I think he's more adept at that position."
Butler also offered a quick assessment of the Steelers' more high-profile starters at the position:
Take a look at photos of the Pittsburgh Steeler's seventh day of Training Camp.
On Jarvis Jones:**
"Jarvis looks a lot better. He's confident in what he's doing. He's still making a mistake every now and then, but he's very sudden, very quick. He's got great short-area quickness. He just has to learn to keep himself out of positions where he gets in a foot race. I think last year he was doing more thinking than he should have when he came off the ball. He was trying to do what we were requiring him to do in terms of playing within the framework of the defense. I think he knows a little bit more about the framework of the defense this year. He knows what he can do and what he can't do."
On Jason Worilds:
"He's still getting better. He has a lot of talent but Jason has to decide whether he wants to be good or not and he has to do the things he's got to do to be good, and that's work his butt off in practice all the time. I think he's willing to do that. He's been willing to do that in years past. It's just now a lot more is on it than it's been in years past. He wants to do well. He has to do the things in practice that are going to get him where he needs to go."
On Ryan Shazier:
"He's quick, and he's smart. He did a lot of good things pass-rushing when he was at Ohio State. We have some things in there to utilize his blitzing ability along with Lawrence Timmons' blitzing ability.
On Lawrence Timmons:
"He's a great example to the young guys around him. He's always running to the ball. You look at him and (defensive end) Cam Heyward; they're always running to the ball. No. 50 (Shazier) is starting to pick that up a little bit and run to the ball with them. You turn on the film and you see those guys 30 yards down the field trying to get to the ball, and Lawrence always does that. I'm pleased with him, and I'm glad we have him."