Free Agency: How Holcomb fits with the Steelers

Cole Holcomb, ILB, 5th season, 6-1, 240 pounds

The Steelers filled an immediate need at inside linebacker when they added veteran Cole Holcomb, a four-year starter with the Washington Commanders, in free agency.

A former walk-on at North Carolina, Holcomb was a fifth-round draft pick of the Commanders in 2019. But he became an immediate contributor in Washington, starting 15 of 16 games in his rookie season.

At his pro day in 2019, Holcomb put on something of a show at a lighter 231 pounds. He posted a 4.51-second 40-yard dash to go along with an excellent 6.77-second three-cone drill and an 11-0 standing broad jump.

That athleticism has been apparent in his time in Washington. He excels in coverage. Because of that, he never leaves the field and was often the "green dot" guy for the Commanders.

In four seasons, he's appeared in 50 games with 48 starts, making 388 total tackles, three interceptions and 10 pass defenses. He's also recorded 4.5 sacks and forced five fumbles.

Per Pro Football Focus, opposing quarterbacks have a passer rating of 111.3 when targeting Holcomb in his career. But that's not all that unusual for inside linebackers considering many of the throws wind up being short, easy completions.

Holcomb has the speed to turn and run with tight ends or running backs down the field, or quickly close on plays to the flat to make the tackle. But he's also big enough to be a thumper in the run game.

The Steelers inside linebackers failed to record an interception or force a fumble in 2022. Holcomb has shown he can make plays on the ball.

Holcomb also missed just four tackles while recording 69 stops in just seven games last season, missing four games with a knee injury and then the final five with a foot injury that eventually required surgery.

With Robert Spillane, Devin Bush and Marcus Allen all hitting free agency and Myles Jack released, the Steelers had only Mark Robinson on their roster at the inside linebacker position.

Steelers signed LB Cole Holcomb on a three-year contract

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And Robinson was a seventh-round pick who played 44 defensive snaps in the final two games of the regular season a year ago.

The addition of Holcomb gives the Steelers a player capable of being an every-down linebacker who excels in coverage. They can continue to address the position, whether that be in terms of adding another potential starter or in terms of depth as the offseason continues.