Last season the Pittsburgh Steelers were among the worst teams in the NFL at defending the run. This was due in large part to the lack of physicality up front. Pittsburgh has taken no real steps to improve the defensive line in free agency which leads us to believe it will happen in the 2022 NFL draft. Here’s a defensive lineman in every round for the Steelers.
First round-Jordan Davis, Georgia
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The star of this draft class is Georgia’s Jordan Davis. He’s a remarkable athlete at 6-foot-6 and 341 pounds but he might be too good to make it to the Steelers pick in the first round. Is he a guy worth trading up for?
Second round-Travis Jones, UConn
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UConn’s Travis Jones is another massive young man who moves like a guy 40 pounds lighter. But it is his power and mass in defending the run that should motivate the Steelers.
Third round-Phidarian Mathis, Alabama
[Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]
Moving to the third round we have Alabama’s Phidarian Mathis. He’s smaller than Davis or Jones but this likely puts him on the Steelers radar even more as he can play inside or outside.
Fourth round-John Ridgeway, Arkansas
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Arkansas’ John Ridgeway, like another player or two on this list is a pure nose tackle. Maybe something of a throwback. But Ridgeway excels as a zero technique where he can overpower centers and force double team.
Fifth round-Otto Ogbonnia, UCLA
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Do you spend a fourth-round pick on a guy who likely only plays run downs? That would be the question with UCLA nose tackle Otto Ogbonnia who offers little in passing situations but can clog up the middle on run downs.
Sixth round-Neil Farrell, LSU
(AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Inconsistent effort is why LSU’s Neil Farrell isn’t higher on this list. With proper coaching, Farrell has starter potential and could play inside or outside in a 3-4 but he’s going to need some time in the league to develop those skills and work ethic.
Seventh round-Marquan McCall, Kentucky
We round this list out with another pure nose tackle in Kentucky’s Marquan McCall. At 6-foot-3 and 379 pounds, McCall just swallows up blockers like a black hole but his size and concerns over conditioning will limit his snaps in the NFL.