Stephon Tuitt suffered from honestly just some bad luck with his draft stock. In his sophomore season he was a key part of the Irish defense that made it to the national title game, racking up 13 tackles for loss and 12 sacks.
Following that season Tuitt looked sure to be a first round pick, however he had hernia surgery in the off-season. While recovering from surgery Tuitt put on weight, and looked slower in 2013.
Stephon did come on late in the year, and started to look like the player that played so well in the previous year.
Tuitt obviously didn’t sit on the couch after his college career ended, dropping to 304 pounds. His listed weight in school was 322 pounds.
I’m confident in saying that his junior season was just a stroke of bad luck, and I see him being a steal for the Steelers in the second round.
Tuitt’s measurables are nearly identical to former Steelers great Aaron Smith at 6’5″ 304 pounds. He also has a huge wingspan with some of the longest arms at the combine, which many will tell you is extremely important for a defensive lineman.
Tuitt does a great job of keeping blockers at bay with those arms, and then ripping away and making a play on the ball in the run game.
He shows flashes of pass rush ability with some solid swim and bull rush moves, but doesn’t have the quickest first step, or ability to bend on the edge. So I’m skeptical of him being a Heyward like pass rusher, at least early on.
However, I think that Tuitt can more than hold his own against the run game, and could see him creating more havok in the backfield with some coaching.
I’d like to say that I see Tuitt coming in and anchoring the line across from Cam Heyward September 7th against Cleveland, but that might be a little optimistic.
Historically that position is one that really requires a lot of coaching to get up to speed. Many were calling Cam Heyward a bust until he had a breakout season two years ago.
I do think that we’ll at least see Tuitt get a solid amount of snaps in a rotation situation.