Not only is Casey Hampton recovering from ACL surgery, but he is also in the final year of his contract, the Steelers' key backup Chris Hoke has retired and Steve McLendon (the only other NT on the roster) has proven that he is a good backup, but that is about as far as it goes.
Unless the Steelers plan on waiting until 2013 to address the position and have whichever player they select come in without the benefit of being able to learn from Hampton, the Steelers need to make the early investment this year.
Steelers.com lists Casey Hampton at 6'1", 325 pounds. I am not sure if they are looking at that minus his arms, but most believe that Hampton is closer to the 350-pound mark. Not that there is a problem with that, because playing the nose tackle position in the NFL requires not only strength but size to go along with it.
Ta'amu has both. At 6'3", 348 pounds, Ta'amu fits the mold of a 3-4 NT. If you look at his other measurables, you will see that he benched 225 pounds at the combine 35 times, which puts him right up with the other available NTs in this draft, with the exception of Poe, who pushed a freakish 44.
He also has the long arms, big hands and power.
Ta'amu is projected by some boards to be a second- or third-round pick, which fits in perfectly for the Steelers. To have the ability to wait until the third round to grab a potential starter is all that Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin could ask for.