He’s not on the roster, but maybe he should be. And if an injury occurs, there’s a good chance he gets called up. Lavon Hooks has been around for a few years now, but put together his best summer yet for the Pittsburgh Steelers and is once again sitting on their practice squad as the number seven defensive lineman.
Hooks logged two tackles and a sack, officially, for the Steelers in the preseason finale against the Carolina Panthers. He recorded seven total tackles and two sacks over the course of the entire preseason, all of his tackles being primary, the most among defensive linemen, and he was only one of two defenders to register multiple sacks.
His second sack of the preseason came early in the second half against the Panthers. Just past midfield, the first-year lineman drove the center back, able to shed once he pushed deep into the pocket, and lunged at the quarterback’s feet to hold on until he went down. Matthew Thomas laid a late hit that drew an unnecessary roughness penalty, however, to negate the in-game impact of the play.
At the start of the Panthers’ next drive, again near midfield, Hooks crossed the case of the center to gain immediate penetration, tripping up the running back who was lucky enough just to get back to the line of scrimmage.
Two plays later, on third and 10, he was able to scrape around the perimeter on a looping stunt with Farrington Huguenin to put pressure on the quarterback, throwing a short pass that would only pick up four yards and forced a punt.
Hooks got himself involved in another sack as well, Thomas’ at the top of the fourth quarter. On this play, the lineman was able to squeeze through a late help block between the left tackle and tight end to get into the backfield. Had Thomas not gotten there first, he may have at least registered a hit on the play.
Hooks was, in my opinion, the best defensive lineman of the preseason for the Steelers behind the starting three in terms of performance. While that has to be weighed against the quality of competition, I am relieved that the team saw enough in him to keep him around once again.