As the Pittsburgh Steelers prepare for camp, there has been very little news coming out of the team facilities. In many ways, it has become too quiet, and fans are becoming antsy as they count down the days until the team reports to Latrobe.NFL Lockout.
In this group there are some players that the Steelers will be counting on to play big minutes in offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert, defensive end Cameron Heyward and defensive backs Curtis Brown and Cortez Allen. One player that is seemingly flying under the RADAR could be outside linebacker Chris Carter.
Carter was an interesting prospect as a rookie, who suffered through some nagging hamstring injuries in 2011 and never truly made a mark. However, the 6-1, 246 pound fifth round selection from Fresno State has solid athleticism and is an explosive edge rusher that could play a huge role keeping both LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison fresh throughout the season.
Out of all the second year players, this offseason may benefit him more than others as he continues his transition from college defensive end to professional outside linebacker. Blessed with a non-stop motor, he has enough size and speed to be a valuable asset in pursuit. Of course, he is not the biggest linebacker, and he may have some issues setting the edge against larger offensive linemen, but that flaw can be corrected with some added technique work.
His development could also key to the long-term stability of the linebacker corps. With Harrison’s age rising, the team needs to develop an answer and top back up Jason Worilds has not necessarily set the world on fire, giving Carter a chance he must seize during training camp. Will he do it? Only time will tell.
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