Last year, the Pittsburgh Steelers added a big part of their future when they selected running back Le’Veon Bell in the second round.
This year, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert and his staff hoped to do the same when they selected Notre Dame defensive end Stephon Tuitt with the No. 46 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
While the Steelers still need to address their needs at wide receiver and cornerback, depth at defensive end is also a huge need, which makes the selection of linebacker Ryan Shazier in the first round yesterday even more surprising.
Tuitt is big at 6’5″ and had a slow start to the 2013 season, but really came on late in the season, making him a late first round possibility who ultimately fell to the Steelers in the middle of the second round. He can provide an interior pass rush and play multiple techniques, which figures to be appealing.
He has the impressive combination of length, power and surprising quickness and is a player with tremendous upside.
He totaled 21.5 career sacks in three seasons at Notre Dame and is a good value pick at this point in the draft.
Here’s a look at some film.
While I like Tuitt and think he will be a good fit in the Steelers 3-4 scheme, very few times do defensive ends come in and make an immediate impact. We saw Ziggy Hood take a while to produce and even Cameron Heyward took two and a half years before making an impact.
The Steelers have had mixed results in the second round since Mike Tomlin arrived in 2007, missing on picks such as Limas Sweed (2008) and quite possibly Mike Adams (2012), while having success with picks such as LaMarr Woodley (2007), Jason Worilds (2010) and Marcus Gilbert (2011).
Only time will tell which category Tuitt will fall into.
You have to figure that the Steelers will target a wide receiver or cornerback when they are back on the clock tonight in the third round with the No. 97 overall pick.