While it’s hard not to be excited about new Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle Javon Hargrave based on his tape and stat production that he put together at South Carolina State, there’s a decent chance he might not start the 2016 season as anything more than a reserve player behind third-year defensive lineman Daniel McCullers.
Earlier this week, veteran defensive end Cameron Heyward, the unquestioned leader of the Steelers front line, was asked to give his thoughts on whether or not Hargrave could potentially help alleviated some of the starting unit’s playing time this season and I caught that media session replay on Steelers Nation Radio.
“The kid’s got to grow and it’s not like were depending on him to do it right now,” said Heyward of Hargrave, who the Steelers drafted in the third round. “But if he can help us out we would truly appreciate it, but it’s time for other guys to step up as well.”
Heyward was later pressed a little harder to give his initial thoughts on Hargrave after only two days’ worth of practices.
“We’ll wait, we’ll wait, “said Heyward. “It’s only day-two. If everybody was good after day-two, we’d have a Super Bowl by now. He’s got a great motor. I even saw a little film on him and you see the way he runs to the ball, and that’s expected here. Great first step, built-in leverage. If he continues to grow, he can be a big contributor for us.”
We’ll have to wait and see how things wind up shaking out the rest of the offseason, but as of right now, Heyward really sounds more optimistic about McCullers contributing a lot more than Hargrave in 2016 in both the base and sub package defenses that the team will run. At least early on in the season.