With a contract year coming up, James Harrison having departed and 2013 first-rounder Jarvis Jones joining the linebacking corps, it’s a make-or-break year for Jason Worilds with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Worilds was once hailed as the definite successor to Harrison, especially after Pittsburgh spent a second-rounder (52nd overall) in 2010, as part of the organization’s fairly successful cycle of great linebacking units. The drafting Worilds was the Steelers thinking head, while he was groomed on the bench.
“As a competitor, yeah, that’s going to make anybody upset,” Worilds said, via The Pittsburgh Post Gazette. “That’s in anything you do. Naturally, not being able to come in and put my sword in, so to speak, was frustrating. But it was also an opportunity to get better.”
However, after two years stuck behind Harrison and LaMarr Woodley on the outside backer depth chart Worilds would miss his chance in 2012 when Harrison spent part of the season injured. The 6-2, 255-pound Worilds unfortunately had a wrist injury of his own at the time, and this is still plaguing him in Steelers camp.
“It was tough, a little worse than what we expected,” said Worilds. “Fortunately, I was able to play the whole season.”
Worilds was indeed able to make something of his 435 snaps last season, notching five sacks and a glimmer of hope that he can fend off a 17th overall pick in Jones, which would give the Georgia product some time of his own to groom on the bench. Steelers inside backer Larry Foote believes Worilds has the edge right now.
“It’s going to be difficult (for Jones to start immediately), especially outside,” Foote said, via The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “There is so much technique, (knowing) where you’ve got to line up, inside or outside.”