The last time that we took a look back at the Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster in review, it was weeks before the 2018 NFL Draft took place. It would be safe to say that quite a bit has changed since then, and the changes apply to almost every position on the roster, some major changes, some minor.
We are closing in on the opening of the Steelers’ several weeks of training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, however, so it would be a good time to pause and take stock of where the team stands at each position as we head into the most critical process of the offseason.
Position: Defensive Tackle
Total Positional Figure: 7
Javon Hargrave: The Steelers are hoping for big things from Hargrave as he heads into his third season. He has shown plenty of flash over the course of his first two seasons, but he has gotten banged up as well, which has slowed his development.
Daniel McCullers: This is the last shot for McCullers. For the first time since he was drafted, the Steelers actually drafted another defensive tackle, though they ended up moving an end there and putting him ahead of the 350-pounder.
L.T. Walton: That end would be Walton, who spent most of his time as the backup nose tackle last year. Tyson Alualu was signed to take over the rotational end role. I don’t see nose tackle as the ideal position for Walton, however. If their rookie draft pick does well enough, the fourth-year player may be a healthy scratch this year.
Lavon Hooks: Hooks gets listed at both end and tackle because he fits into that tweener profile like Walton. With a pretty stacked position group, though, his odds of making the roster for the first time are no better than they have been the past couple of years.
Joshua Frazier: First, the Steelers hired Alabama defensive line coach Karl Dunbar to the same position. Then they drafted one of the players he coached in the seventh round. Granted, Frazier wasn’t even a starter at Alabama, but just look at who was playing ahead of him. They are now all NFL players, some elite or having that potential.
Parker Cothren: He is on the lighter side, but the team actually lists him at defensive tackle. Of course, that ‘position’ has undergone a philosophical shift in Pittsburgh the last few years.
Casey Sayles: Another rookie undrafted free agent, and another player seemingly too light for the position. We will have to see in training camp exactly where these guys get their work.
Players Lost: N/A
Notes and Camp Outlook:
There isn’t going to be any competition for Hargrave’s starting job, but this position group overall is one of the more intriguing ones to watch for who wins that second spot. If Frazier really looks the part, it’s not impossible that he could actually carve out a niche for himself in run-stopping situations as the big body they wanted McCullers to be.