The Pittsburgh Steelers are hoping that they added a real plugger into the middle of their defense in the seventh round in Alabama defensive tackle Joshua Frazier. Why the seventh round? Well, for one thing, he wasn’t even a starter at the college level—though that wasn’t entirely his fault.
Part of the blame actually goes to his position coach, Karl Dunbar, who coaches him at Alabama for the past two years. One of the first questions Dunbar was asked about Frazier is why he didn’t start. “He didn’t start many games because of Jonathan Allen, Da’Ron Payne, A’Shawn Robinson, Da’Shawn Hand, Isaiah Buggs, they’ve got couple more kids that are still at Alabama”, the Steelers’ defensive line coach said.
There are a bunch of high draft picks in that group. The Crimson Tide produce a lot of top talent for the National Football League. Frazier is coming in hoping to carve out a niche backup role. He played well when he did play at Alabama, which is of course what got him drafted.
“He was a five-star kid out of Arkansas. He played a lot his freshman year until he got hurt”, Dunbar said of Frazier. “The second year, that’s when Da’Ron Payne came in and took over that job. It’s the luck of the draw sometimes when you go to a team that has a lot of talent. It’s almost like what some people say, the Wally Pip story. He took a day off and never got his job back”.
But the way that he handled his taking a back seat is a credit to him; had he not handled it well, the Steelers with his former position coach wouldn’t be drafting him. And Frazier seemed to say the right things about that topic when asked.
“I have no regrets. Things turned out the way they did”, he said of his career with the Crimson Tide and how it quickly went from being a prized recruit to being a role player on a deeply talented defensive line. “Payne is Payne in his own right, but I feel like I have some of the same traits that he brings to the table. Once I got out there I took advantage of my opportunities and it helped me get to this point right now, and I’m just ready for this new chapter in my life”.
He was asked about whether or not his demeanor in handling that role was likely a part of the reason his former coach helped to bring him in (Frazier also said another one of his former coaches, on the Detroit Lions’ staff, was hoping to land him).
“Yes sir”, he said of Dunbar’s appreciation of his attitude. “Again, he taught me so much and that’s why he trusted me in games. When I went out there to do my thing, he trusted me to do my job and that’s what I did”.