Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison is among the greatest in franchise history, but the team needs to start looking towards the future. Temple linebacker Haason Reddick is that future.
The Pittsburgh Steelers Should Draft Haason Reddick
Entrenched Starters at Linebacker
James Harrison and Bud Dupree were the Steelers starting outside linebackers this past season and as of right now remain the entrenched starters for next season. At 38 years old Harrison is the elder statesman in the linebacking corps and he will be 39 before the season begins. Dupree is the younger of the two outside linebackers, but he missed most of last season with injury. In the few games Dupree ended up playing, he was an explosive presence, and Harrison was the veteran presence that is needed in a young locker room. Harrison was an intimidating presence, but he should play more of a mentor role to a young pass rusher this coming season which seems to be one of his last. That young pass rusher should be Haason Reddick from Temple University.
Before college statistics are looked at, Combine measurables should be observed. In Indianapolis Reddick measured in at six-foot-one and 237 pounds which is slightly undersized for a pass rusher. But Harrison was also considered undersized and he ended up being the best pass rusher in Steelers franchise history. Reddick showcased his impressive athletic ability by running a 4.52 40-yard dash, and posting a 36 ½ inch vertical leap, and a 133.0 inch broad jump.
Comparable to Bud Dupree and James Harrison
Those numbers are similar to Dupree’s Combine numbers. Dupree ran a 4.56 40-yard dash, and posted a 42 inch vertical leap, and 138.0 inch broad ,jump. There are traits of both Harrison and Dupree in Reddick; Reddick is considered undersized just like Harrison and is an athletic freak just like Dupree. Harrison could teach Reddick about his work ethic and show him how to even use his size as an advantage. If Reddick uses Harrison’s teachings well and combines them with his incredible athletic ability, the Steelers would have a freakishly athletic and dangerous duo of pass rushers. That could potentially be more dangerous than the days when the Steelers had Kevin Greene and Greg Lloyd terrorizing opposing quarterbacks.
Looking about measurables is nice, but what translates to success in the NFL is how good at football a prospect is, and Haason Reddick is very good at football. Looking at his highlights, he showed excellent speed, instincts, and a nose for the ball.
In his senior year at Temple Reddick was named First Team All-Conference for the AAC after posting 65 tackles and 9 ½ sacks. Players aren’t named All-Conference if they aren’t good at what they do. Reddick would not be drafted to start right away. He would get his fair share of snaps but his first season would mostly be an opportunity for him to learn the nuances of the NFL game behind both a Steelers legend and an up and coming star. The Steelers shouldn’t draft Reddick to make an immediate impact, but they should select him to plan for the future because he could be something special.