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Javon Hargrave provides a glimpse of what is to come after his first season with the Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers third round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft didn’t necessarily burst onto the scene, but when forced into duty he more than held his own.

NFL: AFC Championship-Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

In the second segment of this mini series where I showcase a Pittsburgh Steelers athlete and their Top Plays of 2016, I broke down rookie safety Sean Davis and how he put on an absolute show in his first season with the black and gold.

Article number three will be on defensive tackle Javon Hargrave from South Carolina State. Hargrave, 24, was drafted in the third-round of the 2016 NFL Draft and had a terrific rookie campaign. He finished his first season with 27 total tackles, a fumble recovery for a touchdown, and three total sacks, one coming in the postseason against Tom Brady and the Patriots.

Hargrave has the characteristics of a budding play maker, and will continue to improve as his career progresses. When defensive end Cameron Heyward was placed on injured reserve, Hargrave stepped up and provided splash plays to help his team win football games. Let’s take a look at his top plays.

No. 5: First career sack vs. the Browns

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In week 11 versus the Cleveland Browns, the Steelers defense put on a show, registering eight total sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery touchdown.

Javon Hargrave was invited to the show and recorded his first career sack against Browns quarterback Cody Kessler. This play above displays excellent push from the rookie defensive tackle. It also shows his ability to stay with the quarterback as he continues to move and try to get away from linebacker Lawrence Timmons, who blitzed off the edge.

No. 4: Second sack versus Colts; great power and shoestring tackle

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The following week against the Indianapolis Colts, Hargrave recorded his second career sack on an absolutely terrific play.

Hargrave is lined up against Colts guard Jack Mewhort (#75) and did a swim move inside and attacked center Jonotthan Harrison (#72). After pushing the lineman back, he chased down backup quarterback Scott Tolzien and tackled him by the shoestring, resulting in a sack.

An incredible athletic play all around for his second and final sack in his rookie regular season campaign.

No. 3: Great awareness and speed to sniff out screen

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Once again, Hargrave shows guard Jack Mewhort (#75) who’s boss. He does a nice swim move inside and looks at Tolzien’s eyes and reads them all the way. He then picks up running back Robert Turbin and tackles him for a loss of five yards.

Tremendous awareness and speed for the big guy to tackle Turbin in the open field. These are the plays that make him a special athlete.

No. 2: Fumble recovery touchdown versus Browns

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This play happened due to an excellent blitz by inside linebacker Ryan Shazier, who came unblocked through the ‘B-Gap’. Shazier chased Browns quarterback Josh McCown all the way back to their own end zone, where he was hit from behind and forced the fumble.

Rookie defensive tackle Javon Hargrave rushed in and recovered the football in the end zone resulting in a touchdown for Pittsburgh.

It was Shazier who made it happen but Hargrave deserves some credit for acting quickly and rushing toward the football. Great play by both athletes to make a big play at the right time.

No. 1: Sack on Tom Brady (AFC Championship Game)

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While this is not necessarily a 2016 regular season play by Hargrave, it still is in the 2016-2017 NFL season and you can’t argue that this wasn’t his best overall play from this campaign.

Against the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game, it was the rookie Hargrave who sacked Tom Brady and made it look extremely easy on the above play. While the defensive line was struggling to rush the quarterback all night long, early in the game it seemed like Hargrave was going to dominate the Patriots’ middle defensive linemen.

Guard Joe Thuney (#62) was thrown to the turf after Hargrave pushed him aside and went after Brady. It was a fantastic push by Hargrave and truly displays how he improved as the season progressed.

Expect this young defensive athlete to dominant opposing linemen next season and have a bigger role on the defense.


Feel free to tell me your top five plays for rookie Javon Hargrave. If the plays are solid and you think they should be in a different order, let me know in the comments below. He is truly going to be a star in the Steel City!

Along with being a Film Room analyst on BTSC, Nathaniel is also the founder/ editor-in-chief of Check out more of his work HERE.