It’s like Christmas came early for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Pro Bowler Joe Schobert is coming to the Steel City from the Jacksonville Jaguars.
All the Steelers paid was a sixth-round selection in the 2022 NFL Draft to acquire a high-value player.
Even Schobert himself was caught off guard by his transfer.
He does have a point after playing all 16 games for the Jaguars last season and tallying 141 total tackles.
Add to that his 2.5 sacks and three interceptions, and Pittsburgh definitely got a bargain.
It’s confusing why the Jaguars released a player who can contribute in various ways on the field.
However, it can all boil down to saving some money on their salary cap.
Whatever the reason, the Steelers will be reaping the benefits because the rewards outweigh the risks, if there are any.
A Well-Rounded Linebacker
Schobert gets a vote of confidence from Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.
After all, the inside linebacker suited up for division rival Cleveland Browns.
The former Wisconsin Badger spent his first four NFL seasons with the AFC North squad.
He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2017 wherein he had a career-high 144 tackles to go with three sacks, three forced fumbles, and an interception.
His production stayed within those numbers for the next two years.
Despite that, the Browns didn’t re-sign him for the 2020 season.
Somebody is going to have to tackle Nick Chubb eight yards down the field and it might as well be Joe Schobert.
— Ben Axelrod (@BenAxelrod) August 13, 2021
That gave the Jaguars an opening to acquire him on a five-year, $53.75 million deal.
The contract also includes a $12.5 million signing bonus and $21.5 million in guaranteed money.
Schobert showed that Jacksonville made the right move.
He led the Jaguars in tackles twice and also made a defensive touchdown off an interception.
His ability to create plays anywhere on the field makes Tomlin sing high praises for his new linebacker.
Aside from being an agile sideline-to-sideline tackler, Schobert can also shoot the gaps to neutralize the opposing team’s run game.
He also has enough speed to cover intermediate routes or take the ball away.
His skill set will be a big boost to a defensive unit that is one of the NFL’s best.
Last season, the Steelers ranked 13th in rushing yards allowed per game (112.4) and second in passing yards allowed (198.4).
However, they ranked 21st in opponent yards per completion at 10.6.
In other words, they have the capability to neutralize their opponents but give up their advantage by allowing occasional big plays.
If not for those slip-ups, they might be giving less than the 21.2 points per game that opponents make against them.
With Schobert lining up at the middle of the field, the Steelers have someone who can adjust on the fly but still provide the right coverage.
A High-Level Shot Caller
It’s highly possible that Schobert will get a green dot on his helmet even if he is a newcomer to Pittsburgh.
Therefore, he will be calling the plays for the defense every time he’s in the game.
Having a high IQ player dictating their coverage is a luxury that the Steelers will enjoy in 2021.
The Steelers converted $7.925M of DL Stephon Tuitt’s 2021 base salary into a signing bonus, creating $6.34M in 2021 cap space.
Even after the trade for Joe Schobert, Pittsburgh has good cap flexibility to operate throughout the season.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) August 16, 2021
Luckily, the learning curve isn’t too difficult for him either.
In an ESPN article, Schobert admitted that the Steelers defensive scheme under coordinator Keith Butler is identical to what Ray Horton ran in his rookie year in Cleveland.
He still is adjusting to the jargon, though.
But once he has that figured out, he will navigate this defense efficiently.NEXT: Steelers Fans Will Be Hearing Dwayne Haskins Praise All Preseason