Defensive Tackle Daniel McCullers has been very impressive this training camp. The big man has gradually been coming along as camp goes on. With his size and intelligence, McCullers will not be expected to be on the sideline for long.
McCullers is not be expected to become the starter at his position, either, this season. Coming into training camp, the concerns on McCullers was his weight and whether he could learn to play at proper pad level. So far Mccullers has not disappointed with his conditioning,and he has shown flashes of his power as well by driving offensive lineman Will Simmons back five yards past the line of scrimmage. At 6’6″, 352 pounds, McCullers commanded double teams in college. In order for McCullers to see significant time on defense he must command double teams in practice and this pre season.
McCullers will likely see extensive playing time this Saturday against the New York Giants. In that game, McCullers will need to show he can rush the passer as it will be a major factor in how much he plays going forward. But the main concern will be identifying and stopping the run. If McCullers can provide 10-15 quality snaps per game in 2014 it will be considered a successful rookie season for him. McCullers’ ability to help stop the run will be crucial for the pass rush overall for the Steelers defense. If McCullers can stop the run, it will allow starting defensive tackle Steve McLendon to be fresher while on the field as well. McCullers’ presence will also allow his fellow rookie teammate Stephon Tuitt to rush the passer more as well.
If McCullers struggles, more pressure will be put on McLendon as we’ll as Cameron Heyward,and Cam Thomas. McCullers has done many things right so far. Add that to his impressive size along with increased experience and proper technique makes McCullers look more and more like a late round steal.
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