Originally posted on Bleed Black & Gold  |  Last updated 3/28/12

The Steelers have made very little noise in the free agent market.  What rumors there have been were faint if even a flutter.  Much of the dust has settled in now and the big names have come off the board.  This is when the Steelers normally make their dip into the free agent market and get some role players.

One guy who I think would be a great target would be Larry Grant.  He is a 6’1 and 250 inside linebacker.  Grant was a back up for the 49ers last season.  He saw limited action in the first 12 games.  He did most of his work on special teams.  Grant is a restricted free agent for the San Francisco 49ers.

In week 13 though Patrick Willis went down with a hamstring injury.  Grant got his chance to play and did he ever play well.  In first game he came off the bench and had 6 tackles.  Five of them being solo tackles.  He also had a sack in that game.

Grant got to start the next 3 games as Patrick Willis healed from the injury.  Grant made the most of that time.  In those 3 starts he recorded 28 tackles.  He also had 5 pass break ups and a sack.  Grant also forced a fumble in his final start. Grant made plays from sideline to sideline.  His ability to cover the pass was also much better than expected.

Grant’s totals during his time on the field are stats to take notice of.  In his four games of solid action he averaged 8.5 tackles a game.  For a full season that is 136 tackles.  That is what a middle linebacker is supposed to do.  The Steelers highest tackler last season was Ryan Clark with 100.  Clark should not be making the most tackles on this team.  That is the middle linebackers job.  If Grant can play a whole season this way he would make a big impact for the Steelers.

Seeing Grant in action against the Steelers was what first caught my attention.  In the game he has 4 pass break ups.  He seemed to be everywhere on the field in the game.  It was as if every time we were about to make a play Grant was there to blow it up.  He covered Heath Miller like a blanket and did not give the Steelers any of the underneath routes that they love to use so much.  Grant took away that part of the field.

Grant was taken in the 7th round of the 2008 NFL Draft.  He is currently under the lowest tender for the 49ers which would cost the Steelers their 7th round pick.  The team has four 7th round picks right now thanks to receiving 3 compensatory picks for lost free agents.  Grant would be worth the 7th round pick as he already has NFL tape that the Steelers can look into and make a decision.  He is more of a proven commodity and should be relatively cheap.  He may be one of those pick ups that fits under the Steelers salary cap.

Larry Grant>7th round pick

There is minimal risk to this move.  It could be a big splash if it works out.  It could also give the Steelers more flexibility in the draft.  That is something the team could really use.

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