Lawrence Timmons was drafted to be Joey Porter's successor as the Pittsburgh Steelers' right outside linebacker. As far as succeeding Porter as an onfield agitator, trash talker and locker room quote machine, he has some work to do.
Timmons' quiet but determined approach to playing made an impression on Steelers director of football operations Kevin Colbert, no doubt given Florida State's reputation of turning out players who love to talk as much as they like to play. And how Porter often talked his way into headlines, even when he wasn't trying to do so.
Timmons became only the third linebacker drafted by the Steelers on the first round when they took him No. 15 Saturday. The others were Huey Richardson in 1991, one of the worst picks in club history, and Robin Cole in 1976.
With the Steelers precariously thin at outside linebacker, where only Clark Haggans has been a full-time starter, they added another on the second round in Lombardi Award winner LaMarr Woodley of Michigan. He had 12 sacks last season and 25 in his career while shuffling between defensive end and linebacker and was strong against the run.
Some juniors, especially those as young as the 20-year-old Timmons, talk more like teenagers than NFL players, according to Colbert. Timmons, however, "is very serious and very, very quiet," Colbert said.
"He's got a long way to go," Colbert said when asked about how Timmons compares to Porter as a talker. "He might be different on the field — I've never been that close to him in game situations — but, just meeting the kid, that was the one thing that struck me. He's very serious and very quiet."
What struck new coach Mike Tomlin was ... well, how Timmons struck people.
"Ultimately, he has what we call the RH factor — he's a runner and a hitter," Tomlin said. "He's a Pittsburgh Steeler."
The 6-foot-1, 234-pound Timmons almost was a Florida State Seminole for another season. He started only one season there — he played behind 2006 first-round pick Ernie Sims of the Lions the previous two seasons — and weighed whether returning for his senior season would help his career.
Tomlin, not happy when it was suggested that Timmons is too inexperienced and wasn't productive enough to go in the middle of the first round, pointed to Timmons' junior-season statistics.
"He's a linebacker that scored three touchdowns (on an interception, fumble return and blocked punt return), blocked two kicks and had five sacks," Tomlin said. "He's a productive football player who can make plays in a lot of ways."
And in a lot of defenses?
Tomlin insisted that Timmons was drafted to be a 3-4 outside linebacker — a position that demands a strong pass rusher, as Porter was for most of his Steelers career. The Steelers didn't bring Porter back for the final year of his contract, allowing Porter to sign with Miami and Timmons to compete with backup James Harrison to replace Porter.
Going into the draft, Timmons seemed to be a better fit for a 4-3 scheme, possibly on the inside because of his size. Timmons said he can play both defenses.
"For an outside linebacker, sure, ideally you want them 6-3, 260 pounds and running a 4.5 (in the 40-yard dash)," Colbert said. "His measureables are almost identical to Greg Lloyd's. You can say that Greg was a sixth-round pick (in 1987), but should he have been a sixth-round pick for as good as he was• ... His versatility, and the fact he has played on the line, behind the line, with his hand down — he has really done it all."
Timmons is represented by Drew Rosenhaus, known for being an especially difficult negotiator. Colbert said the Steelers never weigh agents when making a pick.
Timmons didn't say much in his first interview as a Steelers player, but showed some individuality in college with his No. 83 — a wide receiver's number, and one he can't wear as an NFL linebacker.
"It's a unique number," he said. "I like to be original. I like to be different."
Timmons also has a Pittsburgh connection. His father, Lindsley, was a scholarship basketball player at Duquesne under coach John Cinicola and lettered in 1976.
Asked what his father told him about his new home, Timmons said, "He said it's a beautiful city — and it gets cold up there."
Woodley grew up a Steelers fan in Saginaw, Mich., and likes that Michigan played some schemes similar to those used by the Steelers. As a youngster, he wore No. 36 in honor of former Steelers running back Jerome Bettis, a Detroit native.
"I decided to call myself 'The Bus' and, ever since then, I've been rolling," he said.
We’re a 3-4 team. He’s a right outside linebacker,” Tomlin said with a glare.I guess Tomlin was wrong on both counts, Timmons is not a OLB. He proved to be too weak to handle the OT's. and he did not help the Steelers that year. He has proven to be a good ILB when he wants to be or he knows his contract will be modified.
Yes, his glow had turned into a glare as reporters scrutinized a player with only one year of starting experience. Tomlin is adamant that Timmons was not drafted as a future piece in his 4-3 Tampa Two defense. Tomlin swears that Timmons will help the Steelers this year.
all I really have to know is this. Lawrence Timmons was the best LB the Steelers had in 2012. They drafted a 20 year old kid without a lot of miles on him, upside. Now only 26, enterring the prime of his career, it makes a lot of sense on what Colbert and Tomlin did. IN that draft, pre-CBS I was really hoping Darelle Revis was their pick. Revis is an all pro CB, but he is a selfish player who puts $ before team. He now wants 16M coming off a major knee injury, he's a perfect fit for Rex and the Jets, that's a match made in he11 and I'm loving it. Colbert also shipped Holmes to the Jets for a 5th rounder, now he is refusing a paycut and holding the Jets cap hostage.
What us draftnuts miss is the interviews, I think Colber and Tomlin look at two things at the Combine and Pro Days. Interview, who is the kid, and then Medical. The drills, the sprints, lifts, are all part of the process, but it's talking to the player finding out if he fits the Steeler mold both physically and mentally.
The perfect player who would compliment Timmons in this draft is Alec Ogletree from a read and hit perspective However his off the field crap is not a fit.
Tomlin said with a glare.Tomlin can glare? Never seen it must be like bigfoot.
The thing is Timmons has been working as an ILB from almost day one. He hasn't been working on being a pass-rusher and hasn't trained to be a pass rusher.The story says he was drafted to replace Porter so yes he was supposed to be an OLB. as far as him gaining weight to 260 that would take away his only skill (speed). We saw what happen to him the year before last when he bulked up a bit. Na just keep him thin,maybe even a little thinner.
Imagine asking Troy to go play CB right now. There's no way he could do itHe probably couldnt do it then. He wasnt drafted to be a CB. He was a hard hitting great tackling SS.
Maybe he will prove me wrong next year.