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Steelers Add Much Needed Depth At Defensive Tackle

defensive tackles Matt Wickham via Flickr.com

NFL

Steelers Need Bodies At Defensive Tackle

Although the young defense of the Pittsburgh Steelers improved over the course of the 2016-17 season, there are still holes to fill.  The Steelers have not had a very productive true defensive tackle since the Casey Hampton days.  This past season, the Steelers rostered only two defensive tackles: Javon Hargrave and Daniel McCullers.

Hargrave, a third round draft pick from South Carolina State, had a tremendous rookie campaign for the Steelers.  He was able to accumulate 27 tackles and 2 sacks in 15 games for Pittsburgh.

In his third year,  McCullers played in 16 games and finished with 17 tackles and 1 sack.  Although these two were productive for the Steelers this season, the team still lacked depth, and were forced to move defensive ends, such as L.T. Walton inside on occasion.

Philon, Hooks Rejoin Steelers

The team signed defensive tackles Roy Philon and Lavon Hooks from free agency on Monday afternoon.  Philon, a 6’3″, 291 pound defensive tackle from Louisville is familiar with the Steelers‘ system.  Philon was signed by the Steelers in 2014 but was cut during training camp due to an injury.  He has also spent time with the Detroit Lions.  At Louisville, Philon accumulated 117 tackles and 8 sacks over four seasons for the Cardinals.

Hooks, a 6’3″, 320 pound defensive tackle from Mississippi also has spent time with the Steelers.  After being released by the Green Bay Packers in 2015, the Steelers signed Hooks to their roster.  Hooks played with the Steelers in the preseason before being cut.

The Northeast Mississippi Community College transfer accumulated 27 tackles and 3 sacks in two seasons for the Rebels.  Hopefully the knowledge of the defensive system for the Steelers will serve as a smooth transition for both of these players.

While these could be two useful additions to the defense, I believe that there is still work to be done at this position.  The Steelers will look to select a defensive tackle in the draft or pick up a veteran in free agency.