Sunday figures to be a fun day for Pittsburgh Steelers fans who make it out to Saint Vincent College in Latrobe for the team’s third training camp practice of 2016. Why, you may ask? Because today is the day the team wears full pads for the first time.
Rookie defensive tackle Javon Hargrave will be one of the team’s several young defensive players looking to finally mix things up without limitations against the offense on Sunday and you can count defensive coordinator Keith Butler as one of the many who will be looking forward to seeing the South Carolina State product in full body armor for the first time since he was drafted.
“I don’t know until we put pads on with him,” Butler said when asked about Hargrave in a Saturday interview that was aired on Steelers Nation Radio. “He moves good. That sucker is nimble as all get out for a defensive lineman. So, we’ll see how he rushes the passer when we get the pads on and we start going one-on-one with our offensive line.”
Drafted this year in the third-round by the Steelers, Hargrave, who measures in at 6-foot-2, 302-pounds, recorded 29.5 sacks in 23 games the past two seasons. That kind of production rate is certainly what the Steelers defense needs this year and while he isn’t likely to beat out Daniel McCullers for the starting nose tackle job by the start of the regular season, Hargrave could see limited action right away as a push rushing defensive tackle in the team’s nickel or dime personnel groupings and especially late in games.
“I’m just here to earn my spot,” Hargrave said, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. “Of course I’d like to come and play because nobody wants to sit, but right now my mentality is to just come to camp and work and earn that (roster) spot.”
Hargrave doesn’t have to worry about a roster spot, he just has to make sure he runs after the football and is able to show that he can be nimble in full pads starting on Sunday.