Updated 3:00 p.m.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have signed their fourth-round draft pick from the 2012 NFL Draft, nose tackle Alameda Taâamu and running back Chris Rainey, the team’s fifth-round draft pick. Both players signed four year deals.
Taâamu (6-2, 348), who was the 109th overall pick, played collegiately at the University of Washington. He started 42-of-50 games at left defensive tackle, producing 109 tackles (57 solo) with 7.5 sacks and 16.5 tackles for loss. He was named All-Pac 12 Conference honorable mention in each of his last two seasons and was the teamâs Defensive Lineman of the Year in 2010 after recording a career-high 39 tackles.
Ta’amu is viewed as a potential long-term replacement for NT Casey Hampton but is not likely to have a big impact in year 1.
Rainey (5-8, 178), who was the 159th overall pick, played collegiately at the University of Florida. He started 19-of-52 games for the Gators, six as a slot receiver and 13 at tailback. He finished his career ranked ninth in school history with 2,464 yards rushing on 396 carries (6.2 avg.). Rainey scored 21 touchdowns multiple ways:
13 rushing, six receiving and two on punt returns. He set the Southeastern Conference career-record with six blocked punts. Rainey became the first Florida player to record a rushing, receiving and return touchdown in the same game, accomplishing the feat versus Florida Atlantic in the 2011 season opener.
Rainey will compete for a top-4 spot in the running back rotation.
Under the new rookie scale, teams are signing players months before than they usually did under the old CBA. Pittsburgh has seven more draft picks to sign.