There were a lot of people that were surprised that former Notre Dame defensive end standout Stephon Tuitt was available for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the second round of the NFL Draft this past May, but nonetheless that was the case. And all of those teams that passed on him could have passed on someone that is ready to start right now, apparently.
According to a recent report from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Tuitt is about ready to join fellow rookie Ryan Shazier in the Steelers’ defensive starting lineup by the time the season begins.
Both are already on the fast track in the Steelers defense. Shazier was handed the starting job on the first day of offseason training activities. After two weeks of training camp, Tuitt is ready to be given a similar nod at left end.
Given his performance at Notre Dame the past few seasons, this really might not surprise some.
Even veteran safety Mike Mitchell, who has seen Tuitt up close and personal the past few months, agrees that he will be playing with the rookie in no time at all.
“It’s just a matter of time,” Mitchell said. “He has all the tools. He needs to play. Like all rookies, they got to play.
“You can simulate a game in practice all you want, but the game is a lot faster, and things are going to happen. This game is a lot faster than he saw at Notre Dame. He has all the tools. And he hasn’t gone against other good athletes. It won’t be the 3s and 4s he’s going against. He can gauge his own ability that way.”
Again, there might be a lot of teams that passed on the 6-7 monster in the draft that could end up having some regrets down the road.