Steelers by position, pre free agency: ILBs

Another in a position-by-position series examining the Steelers' roster in advance of the start of free agency.

(Free Agent Scorecard: None)

The Steelers may have been without him on the field following his season-ending biceps injury, but Foote remained a part of the team. Always a good teammate, he showed up every day, attended meetings and practices, was a part of the locker room dynamic. Foote will be 34 in June, and there always is a chance he could be a cap casualty.


Now known throughout the league for that KO of Bengals punter Kevin Huber, Garvin was undrafted and then unsigned as a rookie free agent in the days immediately after, a guy who got his foot in the door as a tryout during rookie minicamp. Garvin was impressive enough in that setting to be signed and brought to training camp, and he eventually worked his way into a role as a coverage inside linebacker. That, and special teams, can be his niche for a while if he refines his skills and improves his production. An interesting prospect, for sure.

Signed to a futures contract after being out of the league after the Chargers cut him last Aug. 30.

The team brought him off PUP for a three-week window of practice in October, but Spence sustained a hand injury soon after getting back onto the field and never was able to show whether his knee was healed sufficiently to resume his career. This is an important offseason for Spence and for the Steelers, because there are only so many chances given to a player, and there is only so long a team can wait for an individual before it is forced to move on. At the time of his injury, Spence looked to be a playmaking inside linebacker, but that was in August 2012.

It was another fine season for Timmons, another season of leading the team in tackles, another season of playing all 16 games, another season of being a sideline-to-sideline, every-down linebacker. Is it fair to expect more? Maybe not, but the defense needs to find more splash plays, more of the sacks and takeaways that have become the primary method of dealing with the way offense is allowed to operate in the NFL. Timmons had three sacks and two interceptions in 2013. Increasing those numbers would have a profound impact on the team, and it would get him the league-wide recognition so many of his teammates and coaches believe he deserves.

A No. 6b pick in 2013, Williams came on to start 10 games at the spot next to Timmons. A run defender who was replaced by Garvin in passing situations, Williams improved considerably as the season progressed. A nice find as a later pick in the sixth round.

He started two games early in the season but lost his job to Williams and then his roster spot to Garvin. Wilson came out of nowhere to win a roster spot, and the Steelers liked him enough to keep him on the practice squad for much of the season. He figures to be in the mix again this summer.

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