When the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Tennessee defensive lineman Daniel McCullers on the fifth round of the NFL Draft, they did it for one reason — his immense size.
McCullers, who stands 6’7″ and weighs 352 lbs, will head to Pittsburgh after a two year a career as a Vol that had it’s ups and downs.
The North Carolina native had trouble playing low to the ground, which resulted in him being easier to block than a man of his size should be.
Of course there’s still an enormous amount of potential in McCullers, which is exactly why he was selected by the Steelers. He had a great week at the senior bowl, which helped to erase some of the doubts that his roller coaster career at Tennessee created.
The Steelers, according to the Post-Gazette, believe if McCullers can play at a lower weight, then he’ll be more effective in Pittsburgh.
McCullers wore No. 98 jersey at Tennessee, the same number as another enormous former Volunteers defensive lineman — John Henderson, who was 6 feet 7, 328 pounds and played 10 years in the NFL.
Ideally, the Steelers would like McCullers to play more at that weight, especially if they would use him at defensive end in addition to playing inside.
“I wouldn’t say [he's] too big; he’s probably not quick enough to be outside right now,” Mitchell said. “This guy is 6-6, which we like. You get a 6-6 guy, you probably want him 315 to 325 pounds at the max. You don’t want a guy where he can’t get up field and where he can’t get off blockers.”
Mitchell added, “358 to 360, that’s a little heavy for us. He’s a big guy though. When you see him on tape and compare him to the guys he played against, you’re like seeing two guys at one position. He’s a big guy, he can run and they have a tough time moving him from the point of attack.”
McCullers was in much better shape as a senior at Tennessee than he was during his junior season. That is thanks to a much more strenuous strength and conditioning program.
The NFL will present an even more physically demanding strength and conditioning program that should help McCullers improve tremendously.
If the former Vol can get his weight to a more manageable place and learn to play a little lower to the ground, then he could be a huge asset in the Steelers’ 3-4 defensive front.
Pittsburgh already knows they got the biggest player in the draft, now they’re hoping they got the biggest steal of the draft.