Former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman and current radio color man Craig Wolfley has been busy taking in the OTA practices and during his most recent podcast, he had an interesting piece of information concerning starting nose tackle Steve McLendon.
“I didn’t realize it, his weight dropped,” said Wolfley of the 2013 version of McLendon. “He was down to 308. He’s up to 325, 330 right now. He looks like he’s ready to compete in the Worlds Strongest Man. I kid you not, they ran an out pattern, threw one 11-on-11, he ran from the trenches, about 40 yards down field. Blew my me on the sidelines. My first thought was, now I know what’s like to run with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain. I mean he was massive.”
In the Week 12 win over the Cleveland Browns last season, McLendon suffered an ankle injury and it resulted in him missing not only the Week 13 game against the Baltimore Ravens, but the Week 15 game against the Cincinnati Bengals as well. Wolfley believes that injury really affected McLendon’s play the remainder of the season.
“I hope his ankles stay strong, because that’s what was really bothering him last year,” he said.
After he injured his ankle against the Browns, McLendon only played 45 snaps on defense in the three games that he suited up for to close out the 2013 season. 24 of those 45 plays were runs by the opposing offense that resulted in a 4.75 yards per carry average. However, it should be noted that one of those runs was a 45 yard scamper off left tackle by Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill. McLendon, as you can see in the animated gif below, was the left defensive tackle on that play.
With his weight now back up and his ankle presumably now fully healed, Wolfley is liking what he has seen so far out of the former undrafted free agent out of Troy.
“He is a guy I think he can have a big year,” he said.