Javon Hargrave has been one of the rare rookies in recent Steelers’ memory to play almost exactly to how he was advertised coming out of college. One of the few issues, the obvious jump in competition aside, was his chase to the football. Buying into John Mitchell’s system and taking cues from Stephon Tuitt and Cam Heyward, two players with some of the biggest hearts and motors in the league.
I made a small note to point out this in his first game against the Detroit Lions. Hargrave’s effort wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t up to par, the standard set many years ago. The talk about what Hargrave did in Friday’s game against the New Orleans Saints is centered around his pass rushing, rightfully so, but his hustle and chase to the ball impressed me just as much.
So I wanted to post a couple clips that showed him doing the Hargrave hustle.
This first example comes in the first quarter, a left screen to the back. Hargrave is knocked to the ground but gets back up and into the play, chasing it the whole way and finally falling on the pile.
The next clip comes late in the first half. Another screen, this time to the right. After engaging his man, Hargrave runs hard the whole way downfield, sprinting 20 yards before the play is finally over.
The last clip is from the third quarter, a boot to the right and flare to the flat. Hargrave does a nice job recognizing it and again sprints after the ball. Here, it’s 15 yards and he winds up chipping in on the tackle.
It’s a crucial development of his game. Without buying into the system, it would be tough internally to justify consistent playtime. There was never concern he was lazy but the demands of this system is likely something he’s never experienced before. Seeing him respond so quickly is a great sign of his progression and just another box you can come close to checking off.