Steelers Site Shares First Impressions Of Daniel McCullers

Neither of them were top picks, but perhaps the two players that most seemed, or seem, excited to get a glimpse at on the field are third-round pick Dri Archer and sixth-round pick Daniel McCullers.

If you know who those guys are by now, you know that the interest in seeing them stems from very different reasons. Archer is obviously a burner who stands under 5’8”, while McCullers is a giant at 6’7” and pushing the scales upwards of 360 pounds.

Both of them got the opportunity to showcase some of their physical traits last week during the Pittsburgh Steelers’ rookie minicamp, and the big nose tackle McCullers, from the sounds of it, was particularly a sight to see.

Bob Labriola fixated just on his sheer physical presence, saying that “he is big. He is big, but he is not sloppy. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a guy 360 [pounds] without big rolls of fat around him, and this guy doesn’t have it”.

That’s more or less been the understood line about McCullers. Many nose tackles carry similar weight, and are quite hefty, but I’m not aware of any that are 6’7”. Most of them don’t stand much taller than 6’.

The extra half-foot of height gives his frame a lot more room for weight distribution, so just because he may weigh a certain amount doesn’t mean he can’t show a bit of athleticism.

As Mike Prisuta emphasized, McCullers comes to the Steelers with just an 18 percent body fat, which impressed him:

“That’s just unheard of for a guy that size. And that’s one of the things that intrigues the Steelers about him. 6’7”, 352, and yet he went in the sixth round. That tells you that he has not yet maximized 6’7”, 352, with 18 percent body fat, but what if he does”?

Labriola also talked about the enthusiasm that he saw from McCullers during drills:

“Let’s say he ‘forgot’ a couple of times that you’re not exactly supposed to tackle the running back. When they were doing 11-on-11 or 9-on-7, those kind of drills, you kept hearing the coaches have to yell at these guys ‘let them run’. But you like the enthusiasm”.

Prisuta said earlier that McCullers, having fallen to the sixth round, is clearly not a finished product, but he asked the important question that the Steelers are certainly asking, which is whether or not he can put it all together. Labriola gave a vision of a hypothetical future in which he does just that:

You put a man that large over the center, and he comes off the ball, and if he just starts churning his legs…he gets in on that center, he can just push that guy back right into the backfield unless the other team double teams him, just to stop his progress. He doesn’t have to get in very far, puts up his hands at 6’7”, that’s a pretty big obstruction there. The Steelers were looking for size in the middle of the defensive line—they got some with this guy.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi
Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • Chad H

    Man I hope this guy works out. Big dude commanding a double team with Heyward and Tuitt on both sides. It will be hard to run up the middle with that line.

  • dgh57

    First things first so if this guy gets the technique thing down he’s either going to push the pocket, demand double teams, or swat passes thrown down the middle of the line with his long arms. In that case Fangupo’s days may be numbered!

  • RW

    Nice to speculate, but don’t expect anything substantial to come to fruition for his first two seasons.

  • steeltown



    I love this draft pick; it’s about time the FO started swinging for the fences in the later rounds. If Coach Mitchell can get this behemoth’s initial step to be quicker he could be awesome for us for years to come; plus his kick-blocking opportunities could be game-changers as well. Go Steelers!

  • steeltown

    This is encouraging. Still see him as a PS body for atleast one season.

  • CW

    Run up the middle? Guy that big, if he gets to be an elite nose tackle, it will be hard to run inside between the tackle and guard.

  • Ken

    I don’t think he will be a pass rusher, but that’s not why you draft a nose tackle unless he is the first pick of the draft. If he can occupy space and use his height and size to knock down a couple passes a game then he is going to be a player.


    Quite a find imo…I can’t say I saw him a lot, but I did watch some TN games…At TN he was dlbed a lot and held the point of attack well most of the time. I think we’ve seen the last of Fang…McCullers has the size and is plenty strong…if develops technique quickly at this level I can see him being in the rotation @ NT this year.


    There you go…if he can make the G&C respond to his play, the NT is doing his job….add in his height knocking down passes…with two DE over 6’4″ the DL has great potential if Tuitt and McCullers turn out to be players.


    I’ve heard PS too, but I’ve also heard Cam Thomas is a rotational guy…could McCullers be that guy? It’s possible.

  • Aric Brown

    I think thats the idea… strength and size up front to prevent up the middle and speed and athleticism in the LBers to prevent outside runs

  • Aric Brown

    He wont last on the practice squad… especially if good reports keep coming

  • PA2AK

    While it’s tough to teach or make a habit…they really need to focus on two things with him. Getting off the ball and staying low. Those ARE teachable things though. With his arm length and strength…would be pretty difficult to get inside on him if he gets the technique down. I’ll stay optimistic, but won’t put my house on this house.

  • steeltown

    Well he hasn’t done anything yet. Maybe he excels and impresses during the preseason, maybe not. I hope he does.

  • Toddy Bravo

    He would have to develop the skill of deflecting passes because he showed little to no propensity for it in college. At his height, he had all of 2 PBUs in 24 games at Tennessee. One would think a man of his size would have gotten more than that by accident.

  • steeltown

    I guess its possible. Mitchell said during the post draft interview that he has “flexibility” along the DL

  • charles

    It would be Mclendon who would play outside. Cam Thomas is the Guy Whimper of 2014 though (or was that McCain or was that Moats, …)

  • steeltown

    Not sure that the masses thinking McLendon should be moved outside in the base defense are going to get there wish anytime soon. We have numbers at DE with Heyward, Tuitt, Arnfelt, N.Williams, C.Thomas Josh Mauro, Roy Philon etc…. at NT the numbers are much thinner

  • Chad H

    Inside and up the middle, same thing not sure why up questioned and then stated the same thing. How about I said up the gut? Means the same thing.

  • Richard Clinton

    Many do not remember, but there were questions concerning Big Snack when he was drafted. Some felt that the Steelers blew it on that pick. They did not!!!

  • charles

    Of that list only Heyward has any snaps and Thomas should not be on it. It would be great , of course, if Tuitt and say Arnfeldt broke out with Mckullers showing some promise. Suddennly the Steelers would be very young and very deep on the line on both sides of the ball.

  • Jason White

    I think this might be the most intriguing draft class the Steelers have had in a long time. You have Mt. McCullers, Speedy Gonzalez Ryan Shazier, the Sonic Hedgehog Dri Archer, the flying skyscraper Martavis Bryant and all the others. There is not one that I don’t want to see play.

  • Jeff

    If this guy can learn to play “low”, he could end up being a monster. You can’t teach that size. And 18% body fat? WOW!

  • steeltown

    I watched some highlights from college where he didn’t even have a big belly, he was just BIG in general

  • Ken

    Hopefully he will get the training needed to become better at it… On running downs his job is to get low and clog and on passing downs push then get up right…

  • Matt Manzo

    …and The Throw Back Tough Guy in Zumalt!

  • Matt Manzo

    You’re right! His weight was a concern for many years, too!

  • Bob

    Our new Fullback in short yardage and goal line power packages! HAHAHAHA! Might not get the first down, but SOMEONE is likely taking a few plays off for their defense. 🙂

  • steelster

    McCullers will get beat from a leverage standpoint every time. If he doesn’t improve his quickness he may never make it beyond the practice squad. This guy fell to the end of the 6th round for a reason. Hope he turns out to be great but will be surprised if it happens.

  • tim

    DON’T hold your breath guys he is still a HUGE project IF he is to be on the field for two plays a series. ..


    To me, this is the most important and interesting pick the Steelers made. Not to downplay the importance of Shazier, Tuitt and Bryant or Archer, but let’s face it – our D has NOT been the same since Hampton left.
    Not that I think it was the wrong thing to let him go – he was done – but just saying that we haven’t had that strong presence in the middle since Hampton left.
    And, I’m sorry – I think McClendon is a great player, but he is not a NT, he is a DE (and I think he can be a very, very good one).
    So, let’s see if the Steelers are sincere when Tomlin says that several of the draftees could start (I’m sure McCullers is not ready this year, but I would really like to see him at least split snaps with Thomas and Mc if they keep Mc at NT).
    Our Ds rise back to preeminence depends on getting NT fixed!

  • Matt Manzo

    I just want him to beat out Fangupo. That would be a win in my eyes!

  • Jake Marion

    OK 360 lbs at 18% body fat. That’s 295 lbs of lean mass (muscle, bones organs etc.) and 65 lbs of fat. His strength must be way off the charts.

  • bonairsfavoriteson

    TRY to check out his games against some of the better teams that u of t played last season, he will never be an effective nose tackle with what he showed against those teams, at every snap his first move is vertical and he got blocked easily and sometimes embarrassingly easy. On the other hand, if he was to hit the weight room and work on his upper body and leg drive, and be taught how to use those hands, H e could become a very good defensive end in our defense.

  • Craig Ressler

    I mean,..really?! SMH

  • Smashmouth

    unlike some here i’ll reserve my opinion until he actually has time with the D line coaches i remember the armchair experts opinions of casey hampton when he joined the team

  • Zach

    agreed — the guy is a long-term project, otherwise he would have been a 1st round pick.
    positive: upside
    negative: large amount of work needed to get there; does he have the effort and determination? if he has a kelvin beachum-like work ethic, he will get there.

    also, he’s at least a 3 year project, do we have a roster spot for him? if we put him on the PS someone would easily snag him from us (Arizona, Tennessee, San Diego).

  • Big White

    Practice squad material. You can’t be that physically gifted and be so under the radar for his time at Tennessee. Previous video here at the Depot didn’t show me that much. Tool Tall Jones, Chris Canty, and Charles Haley were all pretty good at getting to the quarterback, but not exactly run stuffers. Not saying that a tall player couldn’t get the job done, but I don’t have very high expectations for McCullers. Wish him the best though.

  • tim

    I was calling for Ellis from LaTech…the traditional 6 foot 2 230 pound NT…was a 4th rd pick….Big Mac could MAYBE be effective in a 4-3 but wait til his first chop block…they gonna cut him ALL DAY LONG… WILL be a problem…

  • Matt Manzo

    Ellis was my choice too, for a later round NT! I would’ve been happy with Beau Allen as well. I’m excited to see if Mcullers can pull it off! Our coaches have a lot of coaching to do with these rookies!

  • tim

    But Snack was prototypical NT in height and the weight was an issue but you CAN diet down….cant chop 6 ” so he can win the leverage battles in the middle and it won’t be quite as far a fall when you are getting chopped blocked war it’s much easier to step over a chopping lineman……save this post..