The calendar has now flipped over to July and that means the Pittsburgh Steelers annual training camp will be getting underway in Latrobe later this month. As usual, we have several series planned to get you ready for this year’s training camp and mine will center around preview profiles of 50 players over the course of the next 25 days. Most of these profiles will be on players who were under contract with the team in 2016.
Up twenty-eighth in this series is a 2017 preview profile of defensive tackle Daniel McCullers.
Intro: McCullers certainly didn’t see a lot of playing time in 2016, but with that said, it was an increase over 2015 and probably mostly related to defensive line injuries. He recorded 17 total tackles during the regular season and that included a sack in the finale. It should also be noted that he blocked one field goal attempt last season.
Current Strengths: McCullers’ overall size is his greatest strength and it makes him tough to move inside at times. His best play last season came against the run, where he recorded 16 total tackles. His long arms, when used correctly, are an asset to him.
Current Weaknesses: McCullers’ lack of proper leverage, technique and overall ferocity hurts him tremendously. When he does get a great deal of push as a pass rusher, he struggles to get unhinged quickly enough to impact the quarterback a lot of times. He’s a straight-line player for the most part. His play-to-play consistency just hasn’t evolved as many hoped it would.
2017 Outlook: McCullers enters his fourth training camp with the Steelers with a lot of questions about him. The Steelers really dont have much behind him on the defensive tackle depth chart, however, so it will be interesting to see if the gentle giant can make the 53-man roster once again as the backup to Javon Hargrave. Should he stick, it’s doubtful he’ll see as much playing time as he did in 2016 and especially if the overall health of other defensive linemen holds up.
2017 Base Salary: $690,000
2017 Salary Cap Charge: $709,670
2017 Health Status: No known ailments exiting offseason program
2016 Health Status: Zero games missed last season due to injury
2016 Regular Season Snaps Played: 182 of 1,046
2016 Stat That Matters: 16 of 17 total tackles against run