4 former rivals Pittsburgh Steelers must consider signing in 2021

Defensive end Olivier Vernon #54 of the Cleveland Browns. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Defensive end Olivier Vernon #54 of the Cleveland Browns. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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Bud Dupree #48 and T.J. Watt #90 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

EDGE Jabaal Sheard

It’s no secret that edge rusher is a significant need for the Steelers. The team should be fine in the starting lineup with T.J. Watt serving as one of the league’s best players, and Alex Highsmith serving as one of the league’s most underrated players. However, with Bud Dupree leaving in Free Agency, the Steelers have very little depth at the position, and as the position group sits currently, the team would be in significant trouble if one of their two starters were to get hurt for an extended period of time.

The team did select Quincy Roche in the sixth round, and while he does possess significant upside, the team could use an established veteran on the roster to take rotational snaps and step in if someone were to get hurt this year. The only other outside linebacker on the roster is Cassius Marsh, and while he is a solid special teams player, the team shouldn’t rely on him for any defensive snaps.

Enter Jabaal Sheard, who despite having a down year last year, has established himself as a more than capable pass rusher during his NFL career. At 32 years old, Sheard’s days as a clear-cut starter are over, however, he still has plenty left in the tank to serve as a rotational pass rusher, and start a few games if needed.

Per Pro Football Reference, he has 53 sacks in his 10-year career, has playoff experience, and could serve as a mentor to younger pass rushers such as Highsmith and Roche. Sheard has spent most of his career as a Steelers rival, playing four years with Cleveland, and two with New England, but would be a welcome addition to this year’s roster.