Replacing Javon Hargrave: Ranking the best defensive tackle options for Steelers
The best of the rest
- Al Woods, Seattle Seahawks
- Justin Ellis, Baltimore Ravens
- Dan McCullers, Pittsburgh Steelers
- Bravvion Roy, Baylor
- Benito Jones, Ole Miss
These guys are the last resort; guys brought in who would compete with McCullers (or in this case is McCullers) and are far from guaranteed a roster spot. Al Woods would be a returning Steeler after playing with the team from 2012-2013. While his age is a concern, his likely minimal contract, and former player tag would make him a realistic option to return.
Justin Ellis has been a steady presence as a run stuffer, and like other free agents had Steeler interests back when he was drafted. Bravvion Roy and Benito Jones are both promising prospects but are long shots to contribute year one. They could serve as depth guys behind a free agent or McCullers (I shudder to think).
Speaking of, that brings us to the infamous mountain of a man. McCullers has found a niche role: a mediocre backup who can be improved upon but doesn’t need to be. Fans need to be realistic; McCullers will have an expanded role with the team next year unless one of the top options or tier two free agents are brought in. Considering the position and usage, if the worst-case scenario happens and McCullers is the penciled-in starter, the team will have plenty of ways to scheme the defense to minimize the weakness at the position.
I would expect a minimum free agent signing like Woods or Ellis as well as a draft pick from the second or third list. That way, three realistic guys enter training camp and the top two end up earning their roster spots.