6 free agents Steelers must sign to replace Tyson Alualu

Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins (97). Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins (97). Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports /
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Brandon Dunn #92 of the Houston Texans (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

Steelers should sign Dunn

If the Steelers want to find a throwback replacement for Alualu at nose tackle, look no farther than Brandon Dunn. The former Texan and Bear offers you almost nothing in terms of pass rush, but he can take up space in the middle of a defense and collapse the interior of the pocket. He holds his own against the run and can regularly take up two blockers on any given play. On the downside, he only has one career sack, so his role would be limited to a two-down run defender only.

That said, it is a role the team could certainly fill given their defensive needs right now. While he would provide the flexibility of Alualu, he could at least help alleviate the loss of him on running downs. A player like Davis could see some time in potential pass-rushing sets to supplement Dunn. What Dunn provides though is a plug-and-play nose tackle that the team could start as soon as he gets a grasp of the playbook.

Give the fact that he just turned 29, Dunn could be a solution at nose tackle beyond just this year. While Alualu has been almost elite since making the switch to nose tackle, he is likely set to retire either this year or next. Dunn could help transition the Steelers to their next nose tackle in the meantime. No, he isn’t an elite pass-rushing threat or a flashy name, but Dunn holds his own against the run and would fill a big need with Alualu now injured.

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While not a typical starter that plays 80 percent or more of the defensive snaps, Alualu’s loss will be felt by the Steelers. While they have some in-house options to replace him, the team may need to seek a free agent to help fill that void. Keep these six names in mind as the team hopes to replace Alualu in the coming weeks.