It is safe to say the Pittsburgh Steelers found a gem in the 3rd round of the 2016 NFL Draft when they selected Javon Hargrave from South Carolina State. The versatile defensive lineman has done more than just impress throughout the preseason, he has been named the official starter at nose tackle for the team's Week 1 regular season game against the Washington Redskins on Monday Night Football.
The Steelers released their first regular season depth chart, and it was Hargrave listed as the starter, not incumbent nose tackle Daniel McCullers.
This move shouldn't come as a shock to many who follow the work done along the defensive line, and the Steelers defensive philosophy being more sub packages than the standard 3-4 scheme most still believe is their bread and butter defense.
McCullers is a big body who will still likely play in short yardage and goal line situations, but it is Hagrave's versatility and pass rushing ability which will ultimately have him seeing the field more than McCullers. Whether Hargrave is ready for his first regular season action has yet to be determined, but the team clearly is confident in his ability.
In other depth chart news:
- Eli Rogers and Antonio Brown are listed as the punt returners for the team, while Sammie Coates is listed as the kick returner.
- Newly acquired CB Justin Gilbert is behind William Gay as the left cornerback on the team
- Rookie Tyler Matakevich is the primary backup behind Ryan Shazier, ahead of Steven Johnson, but if an injury to Shazier occured the team would likely move Lawrence Timmons over and allow Vince Williams to step in Timmons' spot.
- Rookie CB Artie Burns is the second CB behind Ross Cockrell on the right side
- Jarvis Jones and Arthur Moats are listed as the teams starting OLBs with James Harrison and Anthony Chickillo backing up.
Mike Tomlin will address media on Tuesday in preparation for the Week 1 prime time matchup.