New Faces 2020: DE Chris Wormley

There isn’t much else to do while we sit here and wait for news about whether or not there will even be training camp, so it seems as good a time as any to bring back this series, in which we look to introduce some of the new players that the Pittsburgh Steelers have added to the mix since the end of the 2019 season.

The team added some notable pieces in free agency, which was important, because they didn’t have much to work with in terms of draft capital due to previous trades. They also made liberal use of the XFL’s closure, signing about as many players from there as the rest of the league combined. Even while claiming that they didn’t have a lot of roster room, they still signed a good number of rookie college free agents as well, enough that they had to release three players just to make room for them.

Though he was not a free agent acquisition, Chris Wormley does feel that way a bit. A three-year veteran who was acquired in March via trade, the Steelers sending the Baltimore Ravens a fifth-round pick, he is a new face who can add depth and experience to the defensive line.

Originally a third-round pick out of Michigan, Wormley comes to the Steelers having already been a big fan of Mike Tomlin, having had the opportunity to meet him in college multiple times, and thus by extension a fan of the team as well.

Although the move was made in conjunction with the team losing Javon Hargrave in free agency, he is not expected to serve in replacing him, at least as the nose tackle. Tomlin has spoken about Tyson Alualu playing nose tackle, which could possibly mean that Wormley will, or can, be the top reserve.

Alualu has been the top backup defensive end for the Steelers for the past three years, and thanks to injury, he has started a number of games. But he is in his 11th season and is 33 years old, so Wormley, even though he is under the final year of his contract, could potentially be auditioning for a long-term role himself.

During his first three seasons, all with the Ravens, Wormley has played in 39 games, starting 15, including 13 over the past two seasons. He has recorded 2.5 sacks in his career, with 54 tackles, including a career-high 33 last year.

The former Wolverine very much fits the profile of a prototypical 3-4 Steelers five-tech defensive end. That is especially important because of this limited offseason, as it should make it easier for him to transition into Pittsburgh’s defense.

He’s not going to be the type of player who generates splash plays, but he could be a solid, steady presence the way Alualu has been the past three years, while somebody like Isaiah Buggs can potentially emerge to offer more pass rush off the bench.

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