4 in-house options the Steelers can use to replace DE Stephon Tuitt

Stephon Tuitt Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Stephon Tuitt Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /
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Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end DeMarvin Leal (98) Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Steelers replacement #2

The newest name on this list, DeMarvin Leal getting selected in the third round seemed to point to the fact that Tuitt wasn’t returning this year. While some argued that he was simply too good of a value to pass on, Leal’s ability to get after the quarterback seemed to make him a good insurance policy in case Tuitt departed.

While I want to give the rookie the nod as the most likely to replace Tuitt, I think he needs to work on his run defense before he can be labeled as the next starter for this unit. While his ability to sack the quarterback is impressive and should allow him to see the field sooner than later, his inability to stop the run will also limit him early on.

All of this said I do think that Leal can see the field early in his career, but he can’t be penciled in to take on Tuitt’s entire job. His run defense will be a liability early on until his weight gets better and his technique improves. He may start taking on some of Tuitt’s responsibilities midway through the season, but for now, I expect Leal to not quite be who they want replacing him full-time.