When Around The League projected the starting lineups for every NFL team in May, first-round linebacker Ryan Shazier was tentatively inserted as the first defensive rookie to start for the Pittsburgh Steelers since Kendrell Bell in 2001.
"I don't want to overload their plate, but I would say they're ahead of schedule," LeBeau said, via the team's official website. "I think Ryan's going to start, and I could see Tuitt playing an awful lot of snaps."
LeBeau cited "exceptional athletic ability" as the reason why Shazier will become the rare player to adjust on the fly to the exotic blitzes and pressures featured in Pittsburgh.
"He's an exceptional athlete for his size, and he can run," LeBeau added. "Even though I knew he could run, when I see him in person I'm surprised at his endurance and his speed and quickness."
If you're keeping score at home, that's two "exceptional" athletes added to a defense that fell out of the top 10 last season for the first time in the 21st century.