The Pittsburgh Steelers continued to stun fans and make draft picks based on need and not necessarily the best player available. In the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft, the Steelers selected DT Stephon Tuitt out of the University of Notre Dame. Get to know the newly-acquired defensive linemen.
Weight: 304 pounds
Strengths: Tuitt has shown the ability to an unbelievably dominant player in the interior of the defensive line throughout his time at Notre Dame. He will immediately impact a very porous defensive line in Pittsburgh that allowed over 100 yards rushing per game on average in 2013.
Not just a run-stopper, Tuitt has the speed and quickness to get to the quarterback. That was evident as he was credited with 12 sacks in his sophomore year and 21.5 sacks over his time at Notre Dame. He has the attitude to back up the physical prowess and is expected to be in the starting lineup this season for the Steelers.
Weaknesses: Tuitt had a rough junior campaign as he was out of shape due to hernia surgery, and was unable to participate in any running events at this year’s combine due to a hairline fracture in his foot. This brings up durability issues, but his previous track record with injuries doesn’t dictate it to be a career-long issue. He might not be as dominant as people expect early on as the NFL will provide linemen who will be just as big and fast as Tuitt.
Overall: Steelers fans were disappointed again with the team’s direction, but they shouldn’t be. Defensive line is a glaring weakness on this roster, and after the departure of former first-round pick Ziggy Hood and teammate Al Woods, the team was going to have to address the position in the draft. Tuitt will now accompany Cam Heyward on the line and hopefully help resuscitate a porous rush defense in the Steelers’ 3-4 scheme.