There’s nothing Pittsburgh Steelers fans dread more than other teams poaching offensive or defensive linemen off of their practice squads midseason. The franchise has been crippled by losing players like Fred Johnson and Josh Mauro in this fashion, so it’s only fair that they got a rare taste of revenge.
He’s not blowing up the stat sheet, but the Steelers have been impressed with veteran defensive tackle Montravius Adams since they picked him up off of the New Orleans Saints’ practice squad at the end of November, playing in four games since then (bookmarked around a stint on the Reserve/COVID-19 List).
Adams didn’t even record a traditional statistic during last night’s win over the Cleveland Browns, yet you wouldn’t know it by watching his tape, especially when you’re looking at his quickness. He only has six tackles (one for a loss) and a batted pass since arriving in Pittsburgh, but he’s seen as a key addition in that defensive line room.
“We’re very fortunate to get him so late in the season”, defensive captain Cameron Heyward said of Adams following last night’s game. “We needed another guy that could penetrate the backfield. He’s got a quick get-off, plays well with his hands. A diamond-in-the-rough type of guy. Hopefully he keeps building, and he becomes a Pittsburgh Steeler a lot longer”.
Pittsburgh has had little luck along the defensive line this year, outside of Heyward, who is likely to make yet another appearance on the All-Pro List with a nine-sack season. Stephon Tuitt has never even gotten on the field, and Tyson Alualu fractured his ankle in Week 2. Carlos Davis missed a good chunk of the season, as well, and Isaiah Buggs has been a non-factor due to injury, benching, and COVID in the second half of the year.
Adams has thus been something of a bright spot, and as Heyward noted, a real highlight of his tape is just how quickly he’s able to get off the ball at the snap. If you freeze-frame every play he’s on the field from when the ball is snapped, it seems more often than not, he’s gonna be the only guy moving.
He’s a real plus athlete for a man his size. If the Steelers can continue to develop him, they certainly might have something exciting in him, especially as a reserve lineman who can get into the backfield, a luxury this team has rarely had.
Along with some positive signs lately from rookie Isaiahh Loudermilk, there may be some depth building blocks already in the building. But there’s no doubt that this front has desperately missed Tuitt and Alualu all year, each of whom were among the best in the league at their positions. Here’s to hoping they’re back topping the depth chart in 2022, and that Adams is right behind them.