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Weight: 348 pounds
The Steelers don't get a nose tackle in the first two rounds, and that's arguably their most dire need, especially if Casey Hampton isn't ready for the start of the season after his ACL surgery.
Therefore the Steelers can't risk missing out on the second-best pure nose tackle in the draft. To ensure the Steelers get Ta'amu before he's off the board, they need to trade up in the third round.
I'm predicting a trade with the Dolphins because Miami currently possesses the 72nd and 73rd picks in the draft, so they're in a prime position to give up one and get some later picks.
The Steelers likely would have to give up their third-round pick (No. 86) as well as their fourth-round pick (No. 119) and their original seventh-round pick (No. 231).
Picking Ta'amu in the second round would have been a reach for the Steelers, and they'd have to pay second-round money to a player with third-round value. CBSSports.com ranks him 85th on its board.
Part of the reason the Steelers have been so successful in the draft is that they don't reach. If there's a player they really want who has third-round value, they don't panic and take him in the second round.
It could be seen as a panic move to give up picks to trade up in the third round, but this way the Steelers address their three major needs in the first two days of the draft.
Poe would have been a risky pick in the first round, but Ta'amu is no slam dunk, either.
Here's what CBSSports.com says:
"It's almost as if he's a pass rushing three-technique stuck in a zero-technique's body, struggling to make much of an impact."
A "three-technique" is a defensive lineman who lines up on the guard's outside shoulder, while a "zero-technique" is a classic nose tackle who lines up directly over the center.
Ta'amu has struggled with his weight, reaching 390 pounds at one point, but he seems to have straightened out his act in that department.
Here's what Pro Football Weekly says:
"He's a strong, inside player. He was lazy early (in his career), but he has really shaped up. It means more to him."
There are no can't-miss nose tackles in this draft. But with Casey Hampton turning 35 and coming off ACL surgery, the Steelers can't wait until next year to pick one.
My previous third-round picks:
Dwight Jones, WR, North Carolina (1/27)
My previous fourth-round picks:
James-Michael Johnson, ILB, Nevada (1/27)
Senio Kelemete, OG, Washingon (3/30)