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Steelers Joshua Frazier prepared to be more than just quality depth along the defensive line

The seventh round pick is used to being a backup, but is ready to play a role with the Steelers in the NFL.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers-Minicamp Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Fifteen.

That is the number of tackles Pittsburgh Steelers rookie Joshua Frazier tallied while being a reserve defensive tackle at Alabama.

Frazier realizes how minimal his role was at Alabama, but actually believes his patience with getting on the field is actually something which can help him as he begins his NFL career with the black-and-gold.

“I’ve been through that situation before, where you don’t get as many reps,” Frazier told James Crabtree-Hannigan of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I played behind [former Alabama defensive lineman Daron Payne], but when I was out there I just took advantage of my opportunity and made the best of the plays that I got.”

It is good Frazier is used to playing in a reserve role, especially considering who he will be playing behind in Pittsburgh in Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt. But at the same time it doesn’t mean Frazier will be a player who should be considered an afterthought entering training camp.

Frazier is not just a big-bodied player who can play along the defensive line, but someone Karl Dunbar, the newly hired defensive line coach, knows well considering he coached Frazier in college.

Dunbar knows what Frazier brings to the team.

“Taking him late in the draft was something that we needed,” Dunbar said. “[Coach Mike Tomlin] wanted a big-bodied guy, and he’s working out.”

While the competition at Alabama is fierce, Frazier admits the NFL is a different level, but his objective on a daily basis remains the same. Just keep grinding. “All I have to do is just go out there and do my job every day and go out and grind,” Frazier said. “He’s already told me that I just gotta keep doing my thing.”

Frazier’s competition to make the team’s 53-man roster will be an interesting camp battle to watch. He will be going against players like Tyson Alualu, Daniel McCullers and L.T. Walton for a spot along the defensive front. Can he beat out someone like McCullers to fill out the depth chart along the line? Some might consider this an easy task, but Frazier will have to prove his lack of production in college was more about where he chose to attend school, and less about his potential.