The Pittsburgh Steelers have signed former Chargers DT Cam Thomas to a two-year deal. Terms not released as of this post. Thomas, 27, was selected in the fifth round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Chargers. Thomas, aka Baby Zilla, appeared in all 16 games for San Diego last season and totaled 23 tackles and an interception. He started 10 of the 16 regular season games he appeared in during the 2013 season. Thomas was originally drafted by the Chargers in the fifth-round of the 2010 NFL Draft out of North Carolina. Cam Thomas weighs about 330 lbs.
Cam Thomas has played well at times during his short NFL career, but found himself on the back end of a rotation behind Sean Lissemore last season. He needs to be more consistent with his pad level, hand placement, ability to anchor the middle, motivation, and effort. According to the Chargers camp, Thomas lost his starting job for a reason. The scouting report on him reveals that he comes off the ball too high too often and gets himself overextended. The Chargers run defense up the middle last season was pretty anemic. They finished 26th overall in the NFL against the run. Cam Thomas was supposed to remedy this situation, but couldn’t get the job done and relegated to the bench. Let’s hope the change of scenery and in a different system will benefit him.
Thomas is likely to replace former Steelers defensive lineman Al Woods. Also, his arrival in Steel Country likely means that the Steelers aren't happy with the progress of backup nose tackle Hebron Fangupo. With this move, the Steelers may move NT/DT Steve McClendon to play more DE than NT or just backup McClendon. I see it playing out as a move to increase depth. Thomas will most likely come in as a backup. In the 3-4 defense, the primary job of the nose tackle is to eat up blockers and free up roaming linebackers to make plays. In a 4-3 defense, the primary responsibility of the nose tackle is to also rush the passer. Different players fit different styles and a failure in one scheme could be a success in another scheme.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, the Steelers are expected to visit with defensive lineman/tackle Alex Carrington formerly of the Bills who has garnered strong interest from many other teams as well. I would envision Carrington being more in the mix for a starting job than Cam Thomas. Carrington could also compete to start at defensive end. He will be more expensive and will demand a longer contract so it may take some time to negotiate a deal.