The Steelers may look to move hulking defensive end Ziggy Hood to nose tackle, according to Gerry Dulac.
Pittsburgh is almost certain to release the aging Casey Hampton and will need a viable replacement inside.
According to Pro Football Focus, Hood was one of the worst 3-4 defensive ends in the league last year, but he graded out positively as a run defender. The lineman’s issues came in pass-rushing, which he won’t be asked to do if he’s move to nose tackle.
There aren’t too many great options available at nose tackle around the league or in the draft, so it makes sense that Pittsburgh is attempting to rebuild from within.
Alameda Ta’amu, one of Pittsburgh’s draft picks from last season, has gotten into trouble with the law and isn’t reliable enough to be given the starting job. At the least, Hood can make the training camp battle interesting at the position.
That said, though his 6-foot-3, 300 pound frame gives him prototypical size for a five-technique (3-4 defensive end), he’d be an undersized nose tackle who’d struggle to control two gaps.
The Steelers are getting older on defense and the fact that they’re attempting to fit square pegs into round holes, to use a colloquialism, just shows that panic is beginning to set in for a deteriorating Pittsburgh team that missed out on the playoffs this last season and stands to lose Rashard Mendenhall, Mike Wallace and a host of other talented players this offseason.