Film Room: L.T. Walton On The Nose

When the Pittsburgh Steelers first drafted L.T. Walton in the sixth round of the 2015 NFL Draft, I don’t know that he would have fit the bill for what they were looking for at the time at the nose tackle position. Two years on, however, it is clear that he is a better fit.

While it may not be a move on a full-time basis—as a reserve, he will naturally be expected to be flexible—the defensive lineman has shown that he can handle the nose tackle position, increasing his value in doing so. He got some extended snaps on Sunday against the Falcons from which we can evaluate his progress.

The first play here comes midway through the second quarter with the Steelers showing their 4-3 over front, Walton as the tilted nose. He did a nice job on his play of getting initial push against the center, which forced the runner to reroute and slow down. He ended up getting spun around, but the initial pressure helped produce this play.

On an early run in the third quarter, the Falcons tried to execute out of a zone scheme, but quick pressure and penetration blew up the whole thing. As the center dropped back, Walton was already on him and forced him to occupy the defensive tackle. The running back tried to cut back, but they then the defense had run up on him and he was tackled after a two-yard gain and set up a third and 14.

Later on the in the quarter, he got to play as a true nose tackle in your standard 3-4 defensive front, and he looked like it—that is, more like Chris Hoke than Casey Hampton. Altanta tried to sweep right but Walton stayed with the center laterally while gaining penetration. The whole defense played it very well, and he and Johnny Maxey made the tackle together for no gain.

His single-most impressive rep of the evening came later in the third quarter, this time out of the nickel front. As the center tried to turn and work to his left, Walton buried him back into the backfield, angling the lineman against his running back and using him as a guide point to scrape away and make the tackle for no gain on second and seven.

A lot of people wondered if Walton would even make the 53-man roster during his rookie season, but as he enters year three, he figures to serve as critical depth. While he may not be the top reserve—that would be Tyson Alualu—he still figures to get a regular helmet on game day and some playing time to go along with it.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • Nathanael Dory

    That tape makes Big Dan so boring lol

  • Jason Vancil

    He popped for me too when I watched the game again. It’s nice to have quality depth on the DLine.

  • NickSteelerFan

    Love it! Wouldn’t mind seeing Alualu see some tilted NT snaps with Walton as the DE. It’s nice finally having very stout/versitle/capable backups

  • Mark

    That tape spells GOODBYE for Big Dan!! I didn’t think LT could play NT. Kudos to LT. We only need 5 or 6 DL at the most.

  • VaDave

    LT plays the stretch better than most of our defensive linemen since Aaron Smith. And that is interesting as he spent most of his rookie year off his feet and eating dirt. Kudos not only for LT, but coach Mitchell as well

  • Matthew Marczi

    Man, Cam Thomas was so bad at that…

  • VaDave

    Are we on Family Feud? Lol? Ok, here a stab, Cam Thomas was so bad, that soft ice cream could drop anchor on him….

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    He’s stronger than I ever thought he would be but he still gets turned off of square too much for my liking.

  • Rotten Sircus

    This means Big Dan McCullers is the odd man out ….”UT OH” !!!

  • Steve

    In the 1st Gif is Heyward #97 really being pushed back and turned around? Also in the 1st Gif #56 Chickalo really comes in quick and knocks the blocker.