The journey toward the Super Bowl is now well under way with the Pittsburgh Steelers back practicing at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, still informally referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility. With the regular season standing in their way on the path to a Lombardi, there will be questions for them to answer along the way.
We have asked and answered a lot of questions during the preseason and through training camp, but much of the answer-seeking ends in the regular season, and teams simply have to make do with what they have available to them. Still, there will always be questions for us.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the regular season and beyond as they develop, looking for the answers as we evaluate the makeup of the Steelers on their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.
Question: Will Daniel McCullers spend the entire season on the Steelers’ 53-man roster?
This is an impossible question to answer for obvious reasons, not the least of which being the very fact that the Steelers are by necessity not done making roster moves. Prior to kickoff on Sunday, the team has to take Le’Veon Bell off the exempt list in order to be able to play, and when they do, they will have to release or waive somebody from the 53-man roster.
That player could be fourth-year veteran nose tackle Daniel McCullers, whom many expected would not make the roster this year. While he was provided competition for his spot from Johnny Maxey and Lavon Hooks, and many thought they might simply carry five total defensive linemen, he has, for now, stuck around for the fourth consecutive season after originally being drafted in the sixth round in 2014.
The team spent much of this offseason preparing third-year defensive lineman L.T. Walton to take over the backup nose tackle role, and they also brought in a free agent in Tyson Alualu who is capable of manning the position.
This versatility among their top two backups along the defensive line figure to make McCullers a regular presence on the inactive list, which is in contrast to the majority of his career. As the top backup nose tackle, he has spent most of his career dressing, yet playing little.
He did have a role on the field goal defense unit. He has from recollection one blocked kick; it helps to be 6’7”. But Cameron Heyward had blocked two kicks in his career.
It was thought that the Steelers might try to upgrade McCullers’ position off the waiver wire, but reportedly they did not even put in any waiver claims. One has to wonder if they are legitimately content with carrying him for one more season, which is obviously well within the realm of possibility at this point.