The Pittsburgh Steelers have had their share of riches since their first Super Bowl win in the 1970s, and although there might have been down years, the fact remains to this day — the team knows how to draft talent.
Whether it was Bill Nunn, who orchestrated the Steel Curtain dynasty, or Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin, the Steelers have traditionally been tremendous at drafting talent. With that said, the Steelers have historically shown the ability to get players in the middle rounds who pan out in a big way.
A great example of this would be none other than Stephon Tuitt, who was recently named to the NFL Network’s All-Under-25-Team.
Analysts pored over young players, and Tuitt was the lone representative for the black and gold. See what they had to say about him being selected on this talented All-Star team.
Defensive tackle: Stephon Tuitt, Pittsburgh Steelers
The best player on the Steelers' defense, Tuitt is a difference-maker for defensive coordinator Keith Butler. Besides being a consummate space-eater in the middle, Tuitt is often able to get a push up front, racking up 10.5 sacks in just 28 games over the last two seasons. Also worth noting: Tuitt deflected three passes and forced two fumbles in 2016. An effective run-stopper, he was very good in that category two seasons ago when he recorded 54 tackles.
Tuitt’s rise in the NFL shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone. If you remember the time leading up to the 2014 NFL Draft, most experts and analysts had a first round grade on him, but a foot injury raised serious questions about his durability, and overall effectiveness.
He fell to the second round, and the Steelers were the proud recipients of a player who could have, and probably should have, been taken on Day 1 of the draft process. In the description, they claim Tuitt is the best player on the Steelers’ defense, and you would be hard pressed to find someone better. Without Cam Heyward for the majority of the 2016 season, it was Tuitt who stepped up his game. Statistically, Tuitt might have regressed, but considering he was dealing with double teams on a regular basis, his stat line should read differently.
The Steelers will be looking to lock up Tuitt long-term in the near future, and rightfully so. He and Heyward would make for one of the best defensive line duos in the NFL moving forward, and it was nice to see Tuitt get recognized by the NFL Network by being placed on this prestigious team.