Steelers NT Daniel McCullers having 'run to the ball' beaten into his head

Joe Sargent

After a day of the Steelers' rookie minicamp, nose tackle Daniel McCullers has been receiving a message, and expects to continue receiving it - Run to the ball.

Daniel McCullers may weigh 355 pounds but he's not above the Steelers' Run-and-Hit defense.

He has to run to the ball, like everyone else.

"Show that I can run to the ball, that I do have speed and that I will use it," McCullers said, as quoted by Tribune-Review reporter Mark Kaboly. "Run to the ball. That's what they've wanted me to do from the moment they brought me here."

Every defensive coach in the country yells at his players to run to the ball. That's how turnovers happen. That's how fumbles are recovered. That's how a team in a Sahara-like drought in terms of takeaways will bust out.

McCullers can contribute to that in short spaces. Kaboly noted the sixth-round draft pick moved well in the Steelers' rookie practice Friday. He's still a long shot to make the roster, but considering he moves well for his size, he'll catch the attention of other teams should the Steelers choose to cut him.

That, and his level of effort in running to the ball, may be enough to get him to stick.

"Level" is a word you'll hear associated with The Tennessee Shade Tree often throughout training camp. Level, as in, "pad level." He plays too high and doesn't utilize his strength to his fullest. It's a common issue with younger players, and it's also a critical component to the success of any defensive lineman.

Running to the ball will help, too.

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