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Top 4 Replacements for Steelers’ DE Stephon Tuitt

Brian Kunst / Zuma Press / Icon Sportswire

Top 4 Replacements for Steelers’ DE Stephon Tuitt

The Pittsburgh Steelers spent the 2021 NFL season without one of the league’s best defensive ends, Stephon Tuitt. The Steelers’ defense felt the loss to say the least. Especially, after NT Tyson Alualu was lost for the season as well due to an ankle injury suffered in Week 2 against the Las Vegas Raiders at Heinz Field.

Steelers Tyson Alualu

USA TODAY

What was once known as one of the strongest and deepest units in the league, the Steelers’ defensive line immediately became the defense’s biggest weakness. The run defense felt the absence of Tuitt the most, going from ranked 11th in 2020 to falling to dead last in 2021. The Steelers just couldn’t find a consistent replacement for Alualu or Tuitt. Alualu will be back this season, but with the news now dropping that Tuitt has retired the team is going to need to find a replacement.

Below are my top four potential replacements for Steelers’ Tuitt:

Carlos Dunlap

Steelers Carlos Dunlap

Seattle Seahawks defensive end Carlos Dunlap celebrates after batting down a pass during last Sunday’s loss to Chicago. (Jennifer Buchanan / The Seattle Times)

Dunlap, 33, is another option to replace Tuitt. He spent last season with the Seattle Seahawks, totaling 35 tackles, 8.5 sacks, 8 tackles for loss, 1 forced fumble, and 14 QB hits. Even though he only started in two games last season, he played a lot of snaps for the Seahawks, appearing in all 17 regular season games. Dunlap is probably a more durable option than Hicks.

 

Everson Griffin

Steelers Everson Griffin

In this Sept. 22, 2019, file photo, Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen (97) celebrates after a sack during the first half of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders in Minneapolis. Minnesota’s four-time Pro Bowl pick has 74 1/2 career sacks, including 26 1/2 the past three seasons, but he exercised his option to void the remaining three years on his contract. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn, File)

Griffin, 34, is another player on the back 9 of his career, but would be capable of producing to help fill the void if Tuitt doesn’t make his return. Griffin spent last season with the Minnesota Vikings, as he did the first 10 years of his NFL career, before splitting 2020 between the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions. Griffin finished 2021 with 5 sacks, 15 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, and 10 QB hits in 9 game appearances. Like Dunlap and Hicks, Griffin would also bring a tough, hard-nosed veteran presence to the locker room.

 

DeMarvin Leal

Steelers' DeMarvin Leal

Steelers’ DeMarvin Leal takes the ball away versus Auburn (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

The Steelers took Leal with their 2022 3rd round selection. The selection screamed insurance policy pick due to Tuitt becoming an unrestricted free agent after the 2022 NFL season. If Tuitt doesn’t return, Leal may come onto the scene a little earlier than Steelers’ brass foresaw when they made the decision to draft the Texas A&M Aggie. There’s a lot to be excited about with this kid and he has the tangibles to become a havoc-wreaking defender in the NFL. Steelers’ DC Teryl Austin called the pick a “No Brainer.”

Isaiahh Loudermilk

Twitter: @JSKO_PHOTO

The Steelers felt very strongly about Loudermilk in the 2021 NFL Draft. They even traded a 2022 4th round pick to move up in the 5th round of the 2021 NFL Draft to select him. Loudermilk appeared in 15 games during his rookie campaign, totaling 1 sack, 23 tackles, and 3 passes batted down. With a year in the Steelers’ program, Loudermilk may see a lot more time on the field next season, especially if Tuitt doesn’t return. He is my dark-horse to replace Tuitt, if that is indeed the case.

 

What do you think of these potential replacements for Stephon Tuitt IF he doesn’t return this season? Sound off in the comment section below, or on FacebookTwitter, and/or Instagram!

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