The Pittsburgh Steelers third preseason game of 2018 will take place Saturday at home against the Tennessee Titans. Prior to every preseason game this year I have been spotlighting one offensive and one defensive player that I believe should be focused on throughout the contest. However, none of the players that I spotlight in this series will be draft picks of the team. Instead, I am focusing on younger players who joined or re-joined the team this year as rookie or first or second-year free agents.
The defensive player I chose to spotlight for the Steelers third preseason game against the Titans is defensive lineman Lavon Hooks. I settled on Hooks this week because he’s in a situation similar to that of the offensive player I chose to spotlight this week, wide receiver Marcus Tucker.
Hooks, who originally entered the NFL in 2015 as an undrafted free agent out of Mississippi, has been an off again, on again member of the Steelers since 2016. Like Tucker, Hooks spent the entire 2017 season on the Steelers practice squad so that has to count for something.
In the Steelers first two preseason games of 2018, Hooks has gotten a long look and I believe he leads all defensive linemen on the 90-man roster in total snaps played with 51. He’s already registered two total tackles during the preseason to go along with two quarterback hurries. Last year during the preseason he was credited with 7 total tackles with 5 of those coming in the team’s preseason finale.
While Hooks is probably a longshot to make the 53-man roster this year as the team’s sixth defensive lineman, he could find himself back on the practice squad again a few weeks from now with two good showings in the final preseason games of 2018. Look for Hooks to play quite a bit in the second half Saturday against the Titans.