Steelers Take Michigan DE Woodley in 2nd Round

By Grupp, John | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, April 29, 2007 | Go to article overview
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Steelers Take Michigan DE Woodley in 2nd Round


Grupp, John, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Michigan first-team All-American defensive end LaMarr Woodley used to pretend he was Jerome Bettis while growing up outside Detroit.

"When I was in junior high, I was a big guy playing fullback," Woodley said. "I put on number 36 and called myself the Bus. Ever since then, I've been rolling."

Woodley's next job is trying to be another Joey Porter or Jason Gildon.

The 6-foot-2, 266-pound Woodley joined the team he grew up rooting for, when the Steelers selected the Saginaw, Mich., native with their second-round pick, 46th overall.

Woodley will attempt to make the transition to outside linebacker in the Steelers' 3-4 scheme, following similar -- and successful -- switches by Clark Haggans, Gildon and Porter.

"No big deal at all," Woodley said. "I've got linebacker blood in me."

Woodley is familiar with the position. He played outside linebacker as a sophomore and junior at Michigan, before returning to defensive end this past season. He was among the top pass rushers in the nation with 12 sacks, and he teamed with fellow second- rounder Alan Branch to help the Wolverines lead the nation in rushing defense.

As a rookie, Woodley is expected to provide depth behind starting outside linebackers James Harrison and Haggans, rush the passer on third down and play special teams.

"LaMarr Woodley is going to help us quite a bit," Steelers linebackers coach Keith Butler said. "We feel real good about it. We need to have somebody who we can bring in on third down who can spell Clark and James Harrison."

Woodley, 22, is one of the most decorated defensive linemen in Michigan history.

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