Steelers

Carter’s Classroom grades: Outside linebackers

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Bud Dupree (48) looks to lead the new generation of Steelers outside linebackers. — MATT SUNDAY / DKPS

What had been the premier position of the Steelers' defense for a decade has been in a bit of a rut for the past six years or so. The Steelers of the 2000s were loaded with talent at outside linebacker, from role players like Clark Haggans to their superstars like Jason Gildon, Joey Porter, Lamarr Woodley and, of course, James Harrison.

Today, the Steelers still rely on Harrison, even though he's pushing 40 years old, along with Bud Dupree, a second-year player. The slip at the position started when the superstar pass rusher who was supposed to lead this generation, Woodley, got caught in an unfortunate run of injuries that ended his career.

The Steelers made a huge investment in Woodley, both financially and in their team makeup. Once Woodley was too ineffective, it put the Steelers in a bind.

Combine that with Jarvis Jones, a bust of a first-round pick, and you have your answers as to how they got here. Let's get into the film room to study the talent they do have on the roster: