What is the Steelers plan for former Ravens DL Chris Wormley?

The Pittsburgh Steelers made an unusual trade with their division rival, Baltimore Ravens. Here’s how they could use Chris Wormly this season.

Chris Wormley was a guy the Steelers had an interest in coming out of the 2017 NFL Draft. Though he was an older prospect, he fit the bill of what Pittsburgh typically looks for in their 5-techniques. At 6’5” and 300 pounds with 34 1/8” arms, Wormley was long, strong, and athletic.

When the chance arose for Pittsburgh to make a move for him this offseason, they executed it – at the cost of simple day-three pick swap next season. It was the first time the Steelers have traded with the Baltimore Ravens since 1998, according to NBC Sports.

While the trade for the athletic defensive lineman comes with little risk on the part of Pittsburgh, it makes us wonder how the Steelers intend to use him.

Wormley’s size, length, and athletic makeup suggest that he is best suited as a 5-technique in a base 3-4 defense or a 1-technique in Pittsburgh’s sub-packages. This is essentially the same role that all three of Cam Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, and Tyson Alualu already play.

Wormley is not a penetrating 3-technique like Javon Hargrave, who they lost in free agency. Though his 6’5” height isn’t ideal for the position, Wormley has played some nose tackle in the past and lined up there occasionally for the Ravens in 2018.

The Steelers seriously needed some depth on the defensive line after the loss of Hargrave, but it’s interesting that they chose to trade for a player who is more of a backup to Heward and Tuitt than a true nose tackle.

Despite his athleticism, Wormley hasn’t been an overly productive player for Baltimore in his first three seasons. Over the course of his first 39 games in the league, Wormley has collected just 54 tackles, 4 tackles for a loss, 9 quarterback hits, and 2.5 sacks.

Still, Wormley is a player with coveted length and upside due to his extreme athletic testing. Perhaps Pittsburgh will find a different use for him in 2020 to jumpstart his career.

Over the past two seasons, the former Ravens defensive lineman has earned respectable overall grades of 68.6 and 65.6, according to Pro Football Focus.

Next: A career retrospective of former Steelers guard Ramon Foster

Even with the addition of Wormley, the Steelers could still be in the market for a defensive lineman more in the mold of Javon Hargrave – a player who can lineup at 0-tech or 3-tech for the Steelers. Still, with a team in need of depth at the position, it’s hard to beat the bargain of adding a player like Chris Wormley.

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