2023 NFL Draft

Interview: DL Nesta Jade Silvera Models Game After Casey Hampton, Said It ‘Would Be Real Dope’ To Become A Steeler

Last week Wednesday, I had the opportunity to interview Arizona State DL Nesta Jade Silvera during the media breakfast in Mobile, Alabama at the Senior Bowl. Silvera had been a player that represented himself well during the practice but stood out with his outgoing personality. He chucked a water bottle in the air when the defense won a team competition, making the offense do pushups and was part of a crowd of defenders that swarmed the end zone after Stanford CB Kyu Blu Kelly picked off a pass and took it to the house.

I asked Silvera about those instances in practice and then proceeded to ask him how he felt the 1-on-1 sessions went after Wednesday’s practice in comparison to Tuesday’s practice, the first time Silvera put on the pads in over a month since his season ended.

“I just feel like every day I’m going to keep striving to get better every day,” Silvera said. “I’m going to be out here to dominate every day. I’m trying to get out here and show them I’m the best D-lineman that’s out here. You know, just Coach Kerrigan giving me little tidbits here and there. He damn near had a hundred sacks. So, anything he give me, I got to take it and just apply it.”

Watching the defensive line drills for the National team throughout the week of practice, I didn’t recognize that it was indeed former Washington pass rusher Ryan Kerrigan coaching the defensive line at the Senior Bowl. He looked notably slimmer (but still jacked), taking on the role of a coach after the Commanders named him their assistant defensive line coach prior to the start of the 2022 season.

I then asked Silvera if he noticed HC Mike Tomlin on the field as he watched the OL/DL 1-on-1 sessions and the defensive line drills closely during the first two days of practice.

“Mike [Tomlin] was right behind when I was going few times,” Silvera said. “I saw him smirk a couple times, felt really good because, you know, I was a Steelers fan growing up. Used to watch Casey Hampton. I didn’t get to really parlay with him too much. It just felt good to see such a legend back there watching me play some ball.”

Nesta Jade Silvera started his college career at Miami, playing there for four seasons before transferring this past year to Arizona State. For his career, Silvera has notched 161 total tackles (62 solo), 20.5 TFLs, 3.5 sacks, four PBUs, two forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries. He stands 6’1 1/2”, 307lb with 32 1/2” arms, profiling more as a two-down run plugger thanks to his short, stout frame to hold the point of attack, but lack of length and hand usage limits his pass rush upside. Casey Hampton may have been the same height as Silvera during his playing days, but he weighed around 325lb and was more disruptive overall at the LOS, occupying two blockers almost routinely as a dominate nose tackle.

Still, the Steelers need to address the defensive line heavily this offseason, adding starting-caliber talent as well as depth to round out a unit that has plenty of free agents hitting the open market. Given the team’s interest in Silvera during the meeting process and his desire to one day suit up for his favorite team, he could be a name to watch as a potential Day Three selection as Pittsburgh looks to add youth and depth to the trenches this offseason.

“I met with them,” Silvera confirmed. “I had a formal [meeting] with them a couple days ago. Man, that would be real dope to dress up in the Black and Gold. I want to show scouts that I am a pass rusher and not just a run stopper.”

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