NFL News : Steelers' OLB problem could be solved in-house with rising stud

Steelers' OLB problem could be solved in-house with rising stud

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Remember this name: Farrington Huguenin.

That's what TribLive's Chris Adamski is arguing now that the Pittsburgh Steelers are officially dealing with a mini-crisis at the outside linebacker position. 

Now, as they plan for the 2018 season, they're down to just two with NFL experience who are under contract, and one of those has an option due on his contract that the Steelers must decide on.

So after T.J. Watt — who just completed his rookie season — and Bud Dupree — who is entering his fourth season and for whom the Steelers have until May 3 to exercise his 2019 option at somewhere around $9 million — who can the Steelers turn to at what is one of the most important positions on their defense? 

TribLive says the answer is in the 6-foot-4 former teammate of Dupree's at Kentucky spent all season on the Steelers' practice squad. A former 3-4 defensive end in college, 2017 was a year in which Huguenin took on a new position — in mind and in body.

“I definitely learned a lot, and I transformed my whole body,” Huguenin said. “Especially being under (outside linebackers coach Joey Porter), he took the time to work with me. They invested in me. They saw some things that even I didn't think I could do.”

Huguenin weighed as much as 290 pounds in college, and after being signed as an undrafted free agent by the Miami Dolphins in 2016, he dropped to 270.

But the Steelers scooped him up days after their loss in last year's AFC championship and immediately told him they were moving him to outside linebacker.

“I dropped like 20 pounds as soon as I walked in the door,” Huguenin said last week.

“He's been doing good,” Dupree said. “He's dropped a lot of weight since he came here and gotten way better in space. He's gotten better on his feet. He was a down 3-4 inside guy, so coach (Mike) Tomlin and (Porter) did a lot of work with him and he's doing great.”

Huguenin played with two future NFL outside linebackers in college: Dupree and the Baltimore Ravens' Za'Darius Smith. He said he took reps at outside linebacker in college on occasion, “but I can probably count them on two hands.”

“But I was learning from those guys. I was always around it, so I knew kind of what to expect.”

What was a crowded outside linebackers room in December all of a sudden is much smaller. James Harrison was cut in December. Arthur Moats is an unrestricted free agent, and Anthony Chickillo a restricted free agent, noted TribLive.

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Source: TribLive · Photo Credit: Keystone Press Agency