In 2012 they traded up to get one of the few ‘pure nose tackles’ remaining in the draft and they just extended nose tackle Steve McLendon for 3 more years.
- Those moves must mean the Steelers are set on defensive line and need to worry about that in the upcoming draft. Right?
In spite of (or perhaps perversely because of) their heavy investment of first round picks in defensive lineman in recent years defensive line remains a serious need area for the Steelers in the 2013 NFL Draft.
The unit is led by Brett Keisel who defied father time and played well last year, particularly in the later half of the season. But Keisel is an unrestricted free agent. More importantly he’s 34.
Should Keisel play at the level he played at in 2013 the Steelers could bring back. But if the Steelers do that and if Keisel oes return in 2014 in anything more than a Jerome Bettis ’04-’05 elder statesman type role then what will that say about the men drafted to replace him?
- Unfortunately that Ziggy Hood has been seldom seen in the two years since.
- But no worries, there’s always Cameron Heyward.
Heyward who, on a snap for snap basis, out performed Hood yet cannot seem to wrest the starting job from him. It is too early to for the Steelers give up on Heyward, but not too early for them to hedge their bets, especially with Ziggy Hood looking destined to be no more than an average starter.
- Those two realities in and of themselves mean the first round would not be too soon for the Steelers to think about drafting a lineman.
Behind Hood, Hewyard, McLendon, and Keisel the Steelers have:
- Alameda Ta’Amu, last year’s 4th round pick who looked lost in camp and is currently on probation
- Al Woods whose has benches as a practice squad player and back up for parts of three seasons
- Hebron Fangupo, who? Yeah, we asked the same question