We are still waiting to hear from Chukwuma Okorafor, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ second of two selections in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft. That’s a bit of an abnormality to go this long without hearing from a draft pick who was selected that high. In fact, he’s now the only pick we haven’t heard from after seventh-round defensive tackle Joshua Frazier spoke to the team’s website yesterday.
The draft did seem to line up pretty well for him to go to Pittsburgh. Even though they had never drafted an Alabama lineman in the decades that John Mitchell was their defensive line coach, they had just brought in Karl Dunbar from Alabama. They hadn’t taken any Alabama players in nearly two decades.
But the Dunbar connection was an obvious one, as was the need for a backup defensive tackle, so Frazier wasn’t surprised that the team took him even though they didn’t show him a lot of interest during the draft process.
“They didn’t really talk to me much, but I guess they were just kind of keeping things on the downlow”, he told Missi Matthews in a sit-down interview for the team’s website. “Once I heard Coach Dunbar was talking a lot of good things about me”, he figured that were interested.
Frazier did recall one moment that did stick out. Frazier had already declared, of course, and the Steelers already picked up Dunbar, but the two of them were both in Alabama. “He did ask me one time, because he was in Alabama and the new team was having a practice, he asked me if I wanted to come play for the Steelers, and I said ‘yeah, no doubt’”.
As Dave Bryan talked about, he said that Dunbar is very much the same coach that he was while with the defending college football champions, which has been an advantage for Frazier. After all, if you already know what your coach is looking for, you are naturally going to have a leg up.
But he’s not just joining Dunbar, he’s also joining the Steelers, and he is excited about that as well, calling them a “first-class organization, six Super Bowls, kind of like Alabama. We just won our 17th national championship, so I’m just coming right off a national championship and coming to another first-class program”.
It’s still early in his professional career, just a few weeks removed from the 2018 NFL Draft at this point, but he already sees similarities between the two football powerhouses. “They’re doing the same things. They work hard, there’s no games to be played. When you go to work, you’ve got to go to work each and every day”, he said.
“That’s just like how it is at Alabama. You’ve got to go to work every day to keep your spot, earn your spot on the team”.