Daniel McCullers NFL Draft 2014: Highlights, Scouting Report for Steelers DT

Ryan LownesFeatured ColumnistMarch 19, 2014

Tennessee defensive lineman Daniel McCullers takes up his position during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Missouri Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

Daniel McCullers, DT, Tennessee (HT: 6’7”, WT: 352 lbs)

Pittsburgh Steelers

Sixth Round: 215th Pick 

NFL Comparison: Paul Soliai, DT, Atlanta Falcons

Combine Weigh-in
HeightWeightArmHand
607035236 5/8"11"
nfl.com
Combine Workout
40-yd dash10-yd splitVertBroad3-ConeBench
DNPDNP20'5"8'1"DNP27
nfl.com

Positives

  • Absolutely massive at 6’7”, 352 pounds with a thick lower body and incredible length
  • Is able to occupy gaps, can sit down in the hole and take on two-gapping responsibility
  • Fares well against the double-teams and is tough to push around due to his sheer size. His ability to hold up at the point of attack allows his teammates to roam and make plays
  • Has vines for arms and an enormous wingspan. Arms measured 36 5/8” at the NFL Scouting Combine, good for second longest at the event
  • Very strong, can easily overpower one blocker. Flashes a powerful punch to joint interior linemen and walk them backward
  • Can make tackles while being blocked. Appears to have his own gravitational field, engulfing ball-carriers that run into him in the middle
  • Anticipates the snap fairly well, gets off of the ball relatively quickly for his size; he does, however, have lapses
  • Lined up at several spots along the interior, operating as a 1-, 2- and 3-tech along with playing directly over center
  • Played only two years at Tennessee but was relatively productive for a run-stuffing nose tackle
  • Earned a starting job in camp during his first year with the Vols and played in every game, starting 19

Negatives

  • Does not change direction well, is heavy and plays high
  • Not a finisher, lacks the flexibility to break down and make tackles at times. Occasionally drops his eyes and lunges
  • Extremely sluggish in his movement without the speed to close the gap or recover
  • Could be too tall, is unable to keep his pad level low and sacrifices some leverage. Can be easily chop-blocked
  • Poor awareness, is unable to locate the ball consistently and often late to react
  • Unable to split blockers and shoot gaps, lacks the quickness or explosiveness needed to make a significant impact in the backfield
  • Does not utilize his considerable length to shed blocks quickly; use of hands is very unrefined at this point
  • Very limited range in pursuit and unable to make plays at the sideline or downfield
  • Plays with inconsistent leverage and must be quicker with his hands to keep opponents from getting into his body
  • Lacks counter moves
  • Will not offer teams much as a pass-rusher and projects as a rotational defender that should be taken off of the field in an obvious passing situation
  • Has a high center of gravity and spends too much time on the ground for a man his size
  • May be too nice, lacking the mean temperament and physicality some coaches will prefer inside

 

 

Collegiate Statistics
YearTeamTacklesTFLSacksFFPD
2010Georgia Military College274.00.010
2011Georgia Military College379.02.000
2012Tennessee395.51.011
2013Tennessee334.50.501
http://www.utsports.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/daniel_mccullers_809005.html

 

Personal Notes

  • Transferred to Tennessee as a junior from Georgia Military College
  • Arts & Sciences major

 

Ratings Chart

nces.ed.gov

 

Overall

One of the largest defensive line prospects in recent memory, Daniel McCullers has a combination of size and strength that can give blockers fits. While that size can be an advantage, his height can hinder him in terms of leverage and ability to change direction. His lack of agility and speed likely limit him in terms of fit at the next level, but he may appeal to 3-4 teams as a nose tackle or could fit into a 4-3 rotation as a gap-occupying 1-tech.

 

Draft Projection: 5th Round