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Stevenson Sylvester, drafted in the fifth round in 2010, has contributed little outside of special teams.
Vince Williams, the Steelers' compensatory sixth-round draft pick, seems to be learning inside linebacker at a much quicker pace than Sylvester.
The Steelers didn't think enough of Sylvester to place a restricted free agent tender on him. That would have cost them $1.323 million for 2013. Instead, the Steelers allowed Sylvester to become an unrestricted free agent and signed him to a one-year contract worth $630,000, according to Spotrac.
The Steelers had little choice but to hang onto Sylvester because there's so little depth behind Larry Foote and Lawrence Timmons at inside linebacker. Sean Spence, their third-round pick in 2012, might not play again after injuring his knee in a 2012 preseason game.
If the Steelers' tepid effort to keep him isn't enough for Sylvester to take notice, perhaps Williams' performance in rookie minicamp will be.
Steelers Digest editor Bob Labriola, speaking on Steelers.com LIVE, said Williams was instructing teammates and showing them where to line up during rookie minicamp. He also said Williams shows potential to be a special-teams standout.
Labriola pointed out that Williams frequently called the plays at Florida State and has a "very high football IQ."
Sylvester's productivity has declined in each of his three years. After making 14 combined tackles as a rookie, he had seven in 2011 and one last season. He'll have to reverse that trend to remain a Steeler.