The Steelers chose nose tackle Alameda Ta'amu of Washington on the fourth round of the NFL draft, their first pick of the day.
They traded their sixth-round draft choice to Washington and swapped their picks in the fourth round so they could move up 10 spots to the 14th pick of the round in order to draft Ta'amu, who is 6-3, 348 pounds.
The Steelers went looking in this draft for the eventual replacement for Casey Hampton, who will enter his 12th season in the NFL. Hampton took a paycut this year and had ACL surgery in January.
Ta'Amu was considered by many to be the purest 3-4 nose tackle available in the draft.
"His job is to keep the LB free ... and he did that very well at the University of Washinton," Steelers line coach John Mitchell said. He added that if Ta'amu plays how they think he can, "This guy can play a long time and be a pretty good football player."
Ta'amu said he thought the Steelers were among the teams most interested in drafting him and he's happy they did so. He said he's looking forward to meeting Troy Polamalu.
"He represents lot of the Polynesians out here," Ta'amu said.
He also has watched Hampton's progress through the years.
"He holds his ground," Ta'amu said. "He takes up more than one blocker a play and im trying to do that."
Barring another trade, the Steelers now have a pick left in the fifth round and four in the seventh.
First Published April 28, 2012 10:45 PM