Now that the 2020 offseason has begun, following a second consecutive season in which they failed to even reach the playoffs, it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen happen over the course of the past season, and with notice to anything that happens going forward.
A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasonings. In some cases it will be based on more long-term trends, such as an accumulation of offseason activity. In other instances it will be a direct response to something that just happened. So we can see a player more than once over the course of the summer as we move forward.
Player: DL Tyson Alualu
Stock Value: Up
Not that there was really any question about his place on the team—I would have found it very surprising if later this year he ended up not making the roster in favor of the other six defensive linemen of note—but the fact that the Steelers have mentioned him multiple times as a lead candidate to move inside to nose tackle is pretty much further assurance that the aging veteran’s place on the team is safe for 2020.
As it currently stands, the Steelers have Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt in the starting lineup, with Daniel McCullers the veteran nose tackle, followed by Alualu, Chris Wormley, and Isaiah Buggs, to which was added rookie seventh-round tackle Carlos Davis via the draft.
At least to me, it would seem to be asking a lot to expect McCullers and Davis bear the entire weight of the nose tackle position this season. At the very least, even assuming that both of them are on the 53-man roster, they would want another veteran that is capable of playing there and absorbing some snaps as necessary.
As I have previously stated, I do believe that pretty much everyone is going to be in the conversation as a potential candidate to play some snaps at nose tackle. But Alualu has been the guy who has been on the top of people’s tongues, and there is some weight to that.
It helps that he has a length resume, including three years in the system, and his run defense has always been at par or better. Wormley has three years in the league, but not in Pittsburgh, and not at nose tackle. Buggs was very limited in his playing time last year.
Alualu playing nose tackle would only mean an expanded role, as well, I think. He would still play defensive end, though they may try to lean more on Wormley as the third end in a rotation, given that they’ll want to see more of him for posterity, but even that can’t be said for certain.