The Pittsburgh Steelers seem poised to sign a linebacker within the next 24 hours. On Friday the team worked out three veteran ’backers — this according to Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network — all of whom were mid-round selections in the NFL Draft.
Marquel Lee is a Former Raiders 5th-Round Pick
The most accomplished of the three is Marquel Lee, a 2017 5th-round pick of the Raiders out of Wake Forest. Lee won the right to start at middle linebacker as a rookie, and made six starts before an ankle injury forced him to miss time. When he returned from the injury his role was reduced, yet he finished his first season in the league with 25 tackles and two tackles for loss. His sophomore campaign went better, as he made 10 starts and appeared in all 16 games, recording 68 tackles, including three tackles for loss, three quarterback hits and three passes defensed, as per Pro Football Reference.
But Lee, 26, has increasingly been hampered by injuries in recent years, appearing in just five games (with three starts) as a result of ankle and toe issues in 2019. Then he missed the entire 2020 season after undergoing offseason surgery on his right ankle. He returned to action in 2021, but was largely limited to a special teams role.
Finally, in March 2022, Lee signed a contract with the Buffalo Bills but was released in mid-August. Thus far he has appeared in 45 career games with 19 starts.
Dorian O’Daniel Was a 2018 3rd-Round Pick of the Chiefs
Arguably the next most notable name amongst the tryout players is Dorian O’Daniel, 28, a 6-foot-1, 217-pound outside linebacker who played his college football at Clemson and was drafted by the Chiefs No. 100 overall in 2018. He appeared in 58 games during the four years he played in Kansas City, but made just a single start over that time frame. To date, O’Daniel has been credited with 58 total tackles (37 solo), including three tackles for loss, one sack, two quarterback hits and a pair of fumble recoveries.
Joel Iyiegbuniwe is a Former Bears 4th-Round Pick
Last but not least, there’s Joel Iyiegbuniwe (pronounced jo-EL ee-yay-boo-NEE-way), a 6-foot-1 outside linebacker who has spent the first four years of his career with the Bears after Chicago made him a 4th-round pick in the 2018 draft out of Western Kentucky.
He appeared in 58 games for the Bears between 2018-2021, during which time he was credited with 29 tackles (25 solo), with one tackle for loss and one forced fumble. He has played just 49 career snaps on defense, with a total of 1,214 snaps on special teams, according to Pro Football Reference.
2 Ex-Steelers Linebackers Had Tryouts on Friday
In other workout news, former Steelers linebackers Joe Schobert and Ulysees Gilbert III both worked out for potential employers on Friday (as per the NFL’s daily personnel notice), with the former working out for the Seattle Seahawks and the latter getting a look-see from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Schobert has been unemployed since he was released by the Steelers in mid-March of 2022, except for ‘a short stay’ in Denver during training camp in August.
Gilbert was a 6th-round pick of the Steelers in 2019 (Akron) who played in 28 games for Pittsburgh between 2019-21, but was consistently held back by a variety of injuries, including a fractured L-5 vertebra that sidelined him for the second half of his rookie season.