Steelers sixth round pick Daniel McCullers says Casey Hampton 'one of the best nose tackles there was' against the run

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

He jokingly referred to himself as "The Biggest Snack," a tribute to Hampton's nickname "Big Snack." McCullers, at 6-foot-7, 352 pounds, is considerably bigger than even Hampton was, and looks to begin his career in the same place Hampton did.

PITTSBURGH -- For those waiting for the Pittsburgh Steelers to pick a nose tackle to beef up their defensive line, that time has come.

The Steelers selected 6-foot-7, 352-pound Daniel McCullers from Tennessee. And the "Shade Tree,'' as McCullers is known, legitimately could call "Big Snack'' Casey Hampton tiny. However, McCullers likely won't play too much early on, like former No. 1 pick and several-time Pro Bowler Hampton.

"Casey Hampton, he's one of my favorite players, growing up and watching him,'' McCullers said. "He was one of the best nose tackles there was, stopping the run. I guess, maybe, I'm the Biggest Snack, I guess. (But) growing up, I was always a big guy, a big kid.

"And once I hit my freshman year in high school that's when I started to hit my growth spurts. And I guess I had about four of them. (But) I would say that in the running game, we both do a pretty good job stopping the run. That's what we're both good at, so I hope I could do it as good as he did. And I'm going to keep working to be one of the best.''

McCullers, who said he wears a size 54 jacket and size 18 shoe, weighed 420 pounds at most as a senior in high school. And he believed that his main weakness was staying low to gain leverage against an offensive lineman. But "when I do that I can be a great player.''

McCullers could be another project for Steelers defensive line coach John Mitchell, who was just glad to get another guy for his meeting room.

"I haven't come in here (the media room) this many times in the past 2-3 years,'' Mitchell said. "Daniel's a big kid from Tennessee. He didn't qualify coming out of high school, so he went to Georgia Military College right there. But he's a big guy, and he's going to give us some flexibility.

"(And) I think we're going to start him inside, because the bigger you guys you can get inside the tougher you can make it to run the ball. So, the other guy that we got, Stephon (Tuitt), and Daniel and the guys we've got coming back, I feel pretty good tight now, at this point, about our defensive line.''

McCullers added that he has only played nose tackle and the 3-technique spot, but never defensive end.

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