The Pittsburgh Steelers are hosting a gigantic defensive lineman on a pre-draft visit to the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on Wednesday, as Baylor nose tackle Siaki Ika is in town for a pre-draft visit, according to his Instagram story.
Ika is 6-foot-3, 335-pound powerhouse that showed the ability to be a true run-stuffing nose tackle in his four collegiate seasons. Ika spent two years at LSU before transferring to Baylor in 2021.
With the Bears, he had eight tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks over 24 games. But the nose tackle position has always been more about size and strength than statistics.
A poor showing at the 2023 NFL Combine has had Ika moving down draft boards, as his poor 40-yard dash time of 5.39 seconds and agility drills essentially pigeonholed him as a pure nose tackle. Longtime Steelers fans that can remember Casey Hampton know that running is not exactly part of the job description.
That might be an issue for some teams, but isn’t for the Steelers, who have been looking to replace Tyson Alaulu at that position this offseason. The club already signed free agent Breiden Fehoko, but Ika could be an investment in the future of the position, as well.
Ika had to pull out of the Senior Bowl late, and he did not speak to the media at the combine, so it’s unclear if they met with him there. But by bringing Ika to Pittsburgh, the Steelers are certainly showing interest in the big nose tackle.
With his fall down draft boards, Ika is currently slate to likely go somewhere between the Steelers’ third and fourth picks of the 2023 NFL Draft, with a consensus draft position of 61st according to NFL Mock Draft Database.
The Steelers other defensive line targets in that area of the draft board are Wisconsin’s Keanu Benton and Florida’s Gervon Dexter.