2020 Offseason Questions: Will Tyson Alualu Move Inside To Nose Tackle?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the offseason, following a year in which they had high hopes for Super Bowl success, but ultimately fell short of even reaching the postseason at 8-8. It was a tumultuous season, both on the field and within the roster, and the months to follow figure to have some drama as well, especially in light of the team’s failure to improve upon the year before.

The team made some bold moves over the course of the past year, and some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago, or even at the start of the regular season. Whether due to injuries or otherwise, a lot has transpired, and we’re left to wonder how much more will change prior to September.

How will Ben Roethlisberger’s rehab progress as he winds toward recovery from an elbow injury that cost him almost the entire season? What about some of the key young players, some of whom have already impressed, others still needing quite a bit of growth? Will there be changes to the coaching staff? The front office? Who will they not retain in free agency, and whom might they bring in?

These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.

Question: Will Tyson Alualu move inside to play nose tackle this season?

Mike Tomlin spoke about the nose tackle position yesterday, as I’m sure you’ve probably already seen by now. While he acknowledged that the team might be open to looking at free agency, he did mention Tyson Alualu as a player on the roster who might be asked to play inside.

When the Steelers originally signed him in 2017 as an unrestricted free agent, they did speak of him as a player who would be capable of playing up and down the line, though he was a 4-3 defensive tackle for most of his career while he was with the Jacksonville Jaguars as a 2010 first-round draft pick.

Since coming to Pittsburgh, he hasn’t played any snaps as a 3-4 nose tackle, though he has aligned at ‘tackle’ plenty in their nickel alignment. For significant portions of 2017 and 2019, he was a starting defensive end thanks to Stephon Tuitt’s injuries.

With the loss of Javon Hargrave in free agency, the only true nose tackle on the roster is Daniel McCullers, though 2020 seventh-round pick Carlos Davis will also be viewed as a nose. Given the likelihood of his limitations as a rookie, it would be surprising if another body were not asked to demonstrate inside capability this offseason, with the other in-house candidates being Chris Wormley and Isaiah Buggs.

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