Steelers Nose Tackle: Is 2015 The Year Of McCullers?


The Steelers have never been mocked to draft a specific nose tackle this year. At least not on the bigger mock sites and here at Still Curtain. There are bigger fish to fry, even in the latter rounds.

While depth on the defensive line has always been discussed, the discussion mainly focuses on the ends. Very little is discussed about the middle – the NT position in this 3-4 defense.

Many, including myself, put their faith in veteran Steve McLendon. He’s been holding down the position since the Steelers decided to part ways with Casey Hampton.

Then there’s this McCullers guy. Daniel McCullers is a behemoth of a man – 6’7″ 348 lbs. – and I wondered shortly after he was drafted if he would be the Steelers ‘diamond in the rough’ for 2014.

McCullers had limited snaps as all rookies in Dick LeBeau‘s defense had. The 22 year old showed a heap of promise in the way he was able to man handle certain centers and guards in the league.

Now with Keith Butler at the  helm, one would have to conclude with the assumption that guys like McCullers will get more time. The days of rotting on the bench to learn an overly complicated system are over.

So is this the year of McCullers?

After reading what Steelers talking head, Bob Labriola, had to say about McCullers, I’m starting to believe that there’s a good chance it will.

In his Asked and Answered segment on, Labriola had this to say about a question regarding the NT position:

"I think you and all Steelers fans are going to be impressed when they get their first look at the 2015 version of Daniel McCullers. Let’s just say he hasn’t been spending a lot of time so far this offseason sprawled on a couch eating cookies."

Don’t let the cookies fool you. He’s hungry. Just in a very different way from food.

I like that idea. A lot.

My biggest hope out of Labriola’s response is that he’s not talking about McCullers working out and beefing up (as if that’s possible with this kid). I hope he’s talking about McCullers making huge strides with his technique – something that suffered a bit and was exposed at times.

Steelers Nation won’t know much until training camp this summer. But for now, I’ll just sit back, close my eyes, and picture a Steelers blitz that consists of Cameron Heyward, Daniel McCullers, Stephon Tuitt pushing back the line and taking up double teams while Jarvis Jones sprints from the outside and Ryan Shazier has a clear shot on a stunt to a quickly flushed out and scrambling Joe Flacco.


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