I have over the course of the past several seasons turned to a series of articles around this time of year in which I looked to explore the issues and questions facing the Pittsburgh Steelers during the upcoming season and trying to identify the range of possibilities in which any given scenario can end.
I started out with a dual series called The Optimist’s/Pessimist’s Take and switched last season to the Devil’s Advocate series. In an attempt to find a more streamlined solution with a title more suited to the actual endeavor, we are introducing a simple Buy Or Sell segment exploring whether the position statement is likely to be worth investing in as an idea.
The range of topics will be wide, from the specific to the general, exploring broad long-term possibilities to the immediate future of particular players. I will make an argument for why a concept should be bought into as well as one that can be sold, and you can share your thoughts on which is the more compelling case while offering your own.
Topic Statement: Daniel McCullers and Joshua Frazier can both make the 53-man roster without injuries involved.
Clarification: The odd man out in this scenario, unless they carry seven defensive linemen, would most likely be L.T. Walton, who was a rotational defensive end and backup nose tackle last season.
I wouldn’t be placing any bets on the Steelers carrying seven defensive linemen, though they have done it in the past. I believe Alameda Ta’amu as their seventh lineman when he was first drafted, but of course we all know how that ended up working out.
Daniel McCullers hardly played last season, with L.T. Walton taking most of whatever nose tackle snaps Javon Hargrave did not, but he has a new position coach in Karl Dunbar who may see more potential in him. He also knows he’s on his last life.
Given that Dunbar knows Joshua Frazier already, the assumption has to be that the position coach fully believes his player has the skill set to make the team. Being the teacher’s pet doesn’t hurt his chances either. If either one of them shows off at least some level of competence in handling defensive tackle duties in the nickel, or especially versatility to play end. This scenario could play out. The Steelers talked about McCullers and his potential to be position-flexible—he is 6’7”—when he was drafted. And hey, he’s got that spin move, you know.
Still, I’m betting most will find this a relatively easy sell. The most realistic chance they might actually have of both making the roster is if Hargrave shows up at defensive end, which would give them four with Tyson Alualu.
I do think they wouldn’t mind having some bigger bodies on the field, as they have gotten smaller over recent years, but even still, while it’s not an impossibility that this scenario could play out, it has to be considered on the outer edges of probability.