Pittsburgh Steelers 2013 Breakout Candidate: Jason Worilds

Ron Chenoy – USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers have built their team around great linebackers throughout the years. Jason Worilds, heading into his fourth year in the NFL, is looking to take the next step towards becoming one of them.

The first three years in the league have been a mixed bag for the outside linebacker, who the Steelers took in the second round out of Virginia Tech.

Sometimes it’s been injuries, but mostly it’s been the talent on the Pittsburgh linebacker depth chart that has kept him on the sidelines. He’s gotten a few starts through the years due to injuries above him, but 2013 will be the first time he gets a chance to show what he can do as the full-time starter.

And that chance comes because the team decided to release long-time defensive leader James Harrison this year, sending a clear signal that they think Worilds has what it takes to be the starter on the opposite side of Lamar Woodley.

A talented pass rusher, Worilds fits the mold of a Steelers linebacker. His results have been promising in limited time, racking up a total of 10 sacks in his first three years.

It can take young defenders a few years to get their bearings in complex defenses like the one Pittsburgh plays. The first three years in the league have been a learning process for Worilds, and 2013 will be the year he shows how far he’s come.

The Steelers are always a team that expects to be in contention late in the season, and most of the time that’s because of their defense. Letting Harrison go was a risky move, but it cleared the way for Worilds to show what he can do now that he’s been in the league for a few years.

Look for Worilds to rise to the occasion and have a breakout year in 2013.

Ben Sullivan is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bensullivan52, “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.


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