Not long ago, the Steelers had the top linebackers in the NFL. That is not the case anymore, as only Lawrence Timmons comes remotely close to being considered as one of the better linebackers in the league.
Vince Williams will enter training camp as the starter next to Timmons. He had a solid rookie season considering that he was a sixth-round pick, but he left a lot to be desired. As a two-down linebacker, Williams needs to show that he can perform better against the run.
On the outside, Jason Worilds will start at left outside linebacker, and Jarvis Jones will start at right. Neither has shown to be elite pass-rushers, but they should be improved entering 2014 now that they have settled into their positions.
The depth is virtually nonexistent, per Ourlads' NFL Scouting Services, and the Steelers could use another pass-rusher at outside linebacker and improved talent at inside linebacker.
There are not too many inside linebackers who figure to fit the Steelers' scheme and provide an upgrade in talent outside of C.J. Mosley, Chris Borland and Shayne Skov. That may mean another year with Williams as the starter.
Outside linebacker is another story, as there are numerous edge-rushers who would provide quality options. Scott Crichton would be an ideal selection in the second round, while Demarcus Lawrence and Marcus Smith would be solid options as well.
There are numerous developmental options later in the draft, including Jordan Zumwalt, Prince Shembo and Shaquil Barrett.
As nice as it would be to upgrade at inside linebacker, there are few options, and the Steelers should not force the issue. The same cannot be said for outside linebacker. You can never have enough good pass-rushers, and the Steelers could use an upgrade behind their starters.
Even if it means investing a second-round pick in an outside linebacker, Pittsburgh must upgrade its depth here.