PITTSBURGH -- If the Steelers are looking for a worthy successor to Casey Hampton, who was not re-signed after the 2012 season, Louis Nix III measures up to the five-time Pro Bowler in one sense.
The man knows how to fill reporters’ note pads.
Hampton was a media favorite in Pittsburgh because of his candid and colorful answers -- not to mention his tendency to generate a laugh that emanated from his ample belly -- and Nix provided one of the more entertaining interviews at the NFL scouting combine.
Here are a few gems from the former Notre Dame standout whose Twitter handle is @1IrishChocolate:
On feeling lighter after shedding more than 20 pounds: “Yeah man, my stomach doesn’t stick out as much. That’s kind of nice. I like that part. My thighs got a little smaller. I just feel sexier, man.”
On embracing salads and eschewing Five Guys Burgers and Fries: “No dressing. I eat it like chips. I just pick it up and yeah.”
On whether he is the best nose tackle prospect in the draft: “What do you think?” When told yes, Nix said, “Thank you.”
The question for the Steelers isn’t so much whether Nix is the best nose tackle in the draft but whether that position is worthy of the 15th overall pick.
The Steelers only played their base defense about 40 percent of the time last season, Kevin Colbert said, but the general manager also pointed out that everything in a 3-4 defense starts with the nose tackle -- and shutting down the run.
The Steelers have to be encouraged by the commitment Nix has shown since undergoing knee surgery last November to repair meniscus damage.
Nix said he has shed 23 pounds since January -- he has been training at Athletic Performance Inc in Arizona -- and that he weighed in at 331 pounds at the combine while measuring 6-2.
“I hope (the lost weight) helps my knee and I plan on staying low,” Nix said. “Hopefully my knee stays good like it is now and I’ll be good. My knee is well. I can run on it.”
Nix ran an unofficial time of 5.25 seconds in the 40-yard dash on Monday. More relevant or significant is that his knee is strong enough for him to take part in running drills in Indianapolis.
“I’m back and myself again," Nix said. "Less weight though.”
Whether he brings both of his lighter sides to Pittsburgh remains to be seen.
But if the Steelers are satisfied with what they saw from Nix in Indianapolis he figures to remain at the forefront of discussion when it comes to the team's first-round pick.