Dec 8, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) is sacked by Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward (97) and linebacker Jason Worilds (93) during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers Morning Huddle 2/12/2014

Steelers season goes all year long, so whether we’re looking ahead to the start of free agency, predicting the possible draft choices, or looking around for mentions of your Black & Gold we’ve got you covered. Here’s what’s being said about your Pittsburgh Steelers around the block.

J Peezy back for Black & Gold

In case you were under a rock yesterday and took a day off from Steelers news, the Steelers have reportedly hired former LB Joey Porter to their coaching staff as a defensive assistant.  In the PPG, Fittipaldo explains that Porter’s job duties have not been made public yet, but he does expect Porter to work with the OLB’s on the team.  I have to also think that he’s going to do what most assistants do, and that is spend lots of time in that film room prepping things for the other coaches.  I’m not sold yet on Porter, though I am hopeful that his presence will inject a swagger and nastiness back into that part of the defense that was blatantly missing after the team decided to not re-sign James Harrison.  He’s used to working with younger players from a minor coaching standpoint, so he could be a very nice addition for the development of guys like Jarvis Jones.

Jason Worilds Must Return

Jason Worilds put on quite a display in the second half of the season for the Steelers defense.  He is an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and the Curt Popejoy from Bleacher Report feels that it is imperative that the team re-sign him.  The biggest thing to take away from this article is the fact that Curt is on the money when he says that there is no rookie the Steelers can draft (and no one on the depth chart for that matter) that can put up the numbers that Worilds did.  What about a that fat guy eating donuts on the sideline Woodley you ask?  Cap casualty in my opinion.  Even if they keep Woodley instead of cutting him on June 1st, there’s no guarantee that he will be back to any form that can be as productive as Worilds was last season.  Worilds will certainly come at a cost, but the Steelers have options in letting other players walk – like Ryan Clark, Will Allen, etc – and release other – like Woodley – that can create some space to sign a long term contract that will probably be somewhere between $30-35 million over 4-5 years.

The Pittsburgh Steelers select…..

As usual, there is much interest surrounding the 1st selection for the Pittsburgh Steelers in this year’s NFL draft.  The Steelers certainly have needs, but what is a priority, and who is top dog on that draft board when it comes time for pick #15?  Behind the Steel Curtain’s Neal Coolong and Matthew Fairburn select Alabama’s Ha Ha Clinton-Dix as their first rounder.  It’s an interesting pick considering the Steelers traded up to get Shmarko Thomas in last year’s draft.  The Alabama safety has huge upswing, and while he misses Polamalu unbelievable ability at pursuit, Dix can play in the box well AND coverage well in single coverage – something Polamalu has struggled with almost his entire career.  It’s a bit of a stretch for me, though the Steelers really do need to start grooming some younger talent at the two safety positions to replace Clark and Polamalu.  I think Thomas will replace Clark this year, but it may take a couple seasons to find Polamlu’s heir.  The Steelers will go D, but I think they go corner or defensive end/OLB in the first round.  Be sure to check NPC’s own Dom DiTolla’s Mock Drafts throughout the offseason leading up to the draft.

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