The Steelers traded up to get their man. They were in need of a nose tackle to replace Casey Hampton, and it looked like the one that they had their eyes on might not last until their pick. So they moved up 10 spots and selected Alameda Ta’amu, a defensive tackle from Washington.
Ta’amu is a prototype nose tackle. He’s 6’3″, and weighs 348 lbs. That’s right, 348 lbs.!
Ta’amu was rated by many experts as the 2nd best 3-4 nose tackle in this years draft behind Dontari Poe.
At 348, you can probably guess that Ta’amu is pretty difficult to move. Because of that, he’s a great run stopper, which is exactly what you want in a nose tackle. While he’s not an amazing athlete, he’s surprisingly athletic for his size.
He’s not going to get a lot of sacks, and don’t expect him to chase down Ray Rice, but he’ll hold his ground and free up the linebackers to do their jobs.
Because of his size, Ta’amu was able to rely primarily on a simple bull rush in college. But he’s going to need more than that in the NFL. So he’ll have to spend time with the coaches learning a few additional moves.
He’s also going to have to spend time with a strength and conditioning coach, with emphasis on conditioning. As a nose tackle, he needs to be big, but Ta’amu’s weight has been close to 400 lbs. at times. That’s too big. So he’ll need to work hard to maintain the necessary girth, without ballooning to a size that reduces his speed and endurance.
Ta’amu played all 4 years at Washington. He started 5 games as a freshman, and then became a permanent starter as a sophomore. He had 7 tackles for a loss during his senior year, and even managed to get 3.5 sacks.
Welcome to the Steelers, big fella. We most definitely need you.