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Saturday, April 28, 2012
Meet the Steelers' future starting nose tackle

By Jamison Hensley

There have been times in this draft where targeted players have fallen into the Pittsburgh Steelers' laps. This time, the Steelers went after one.

Trading up in the fourth round, the Steelers grabbed Washington nose tackle Alameda Ta'amu with the 109th overall pick. This addresses a major need because it's unsure whether five-time Pro Bowl performer Casey Hampton (ACL surgery in January) will be ready to start the season. Hampton, 34, is also entering the final year of his contract.

If Ta'amu isn't pressed into the starting lineup this year, the expectation would be for him to be the starter in 2013. The 6-foot-2, 336-pound lineman is all strength and power. He won't contribute on third downs, but he is the exact space-filler in the middle that the Steelers need to stop the run.

Getting Ta'amu continues a strong draft for the Steelers. Some had Ta'amu with a second-round grade.