The Pittsburgh Steelers found themselves a quality depth linebacker in Avery Williamson. Here’s why he’s so excited to join the team.
It’s not every day the Pittsburgh Steelers make a trade for a linebacker during the prime of his career. Avery Williamson has averaged 104 tackles per season over the past four years as a member of the Tennessee Titans and New York Jets, according to Pro Football Reference. Now, on a moment’s notice, he finds himself on the only undefeated team in the National Football League this year.
As you can imagine, Williamson was quite excited about the change of scenery. When he found out the news, it didn’t take him long to take to social media and let Steelers fans know how pumped he was to be joining the top-ranked team in the NFL.
“We’re gonna get that ring,” Williamson exclaimed via an Instagram live post. “I’m hyped. I’m so hyped, man, I couldn’t even sleep… I can’t wait to be part of this defense.”
Excitement is justified for the newest Steelers linebacker
It’s not often a player moves from an 0-8 team to a 7-0 team. That’s a fifteen game swing in just a matter of hours. Avery Williamson is an established NFL linebacker who is a tackle machine and has an excellent track record for staying healthy. Despite playing over 4,800 defensive snaps since entering the league as a 5th round pick back in 2014, Williamson has missed just one game in his NFL career.
Now being on a significantly more talented defense, Williamson will be able to utilize his skillset and claim some of the recognition he deserves. Coming out of Kentucky, Williamson was an impressive athlete. At 6’1” and 246 pounds, he ran a 4.66 40-yard dash with an impressive 1.59 10-yard split. In addition, he excelled at the broad jump (120”) and bench press (25 reps), while his 4.07 20-yard shuttle was in the 94th percentile of all NFL linebackers, according to Mockdraftable.
While a coverage linebacker would be really nice to help replace the loss of Devin Bush this season, that isn’t exactly Williamson’s specialty. Instead, he is more in the mold of the guys they already have. But adding proven depth is never a bad thing.
Willamson is a fast, physical, downhill linebacker who should fit perfectly on this defense. While he has been a fulltime starter since his rookie season, he may come off the bench for the Steelers – much like Mark Barron did for the team last year.
In return for a proven veteran linebacker, the Steelers were required to simply swap their 5th round draft choice in 2022 for New York’s 7th round draft choice in 2022. With the Jets going nowhere fast, this is a trade that could prove to work out in the best interest of both teams.
When it’s all said and done, Avery Williamson may not be the flashiest trade the Steelers have ever made, but his reliability and experience will be a welcome addition to what is already one of the league’s best and most aggressive defenses.