Coming from South Carolina State, Javon Hargrave was an unknown third round pick that the Pittsburgh Steelers took a flier on. The team may have hit the lottery with a game changer in the middle of the defense for years to come.
Javon Hargrave is an Impact Player
He went from the unknown product to the first Steelers rookie defensive lineman to start in Week One since 1994. From there he had a two sack, 27 tackle rookie season. He continued his trajectory with eight tackles in the playoffs including a sack of Tom Brady. Year two started off with a bang as well. One sack and three tackles helped show a full arsenal of skills.
Hargrave is different than your typical nose tackle because of his quickness. He is a former basketball player, and you can see that he has the feet to establish his position and make quick movements. Watch how he gets off of the ball and beats the center to a spot. This is not just a guy at center. This is J.C. Tretter, who the Browns made a priority to sign away from the Green Bay Packers on a three-year $16-million deal.
Hargrave mixes his finesse with some power. He has a great center of gravity and lower core muscles. He can use that to push pockets in the passing game and in setting a wall against the run. Here, he pushes Tretter backwards into the quarterback DeShone Kizer. A sack created completely by Hargrave.
Hargrave pushes Tretter to a spot where he sees the ball going. Isaiah Crowell looks to a hole to his right and Hargrave changes direction with Tretter dangling off of him to make the stuff of a power running back. This is all strength and power.
He also seems to have a knack for being in the right place at the right time. Below, Hargrave blows this play up by knowing where it is going before the snap. He beats everyone, even Tyson Alualu to the spot and forces the run stuff.
For a second year player for such a small school, the strides that Hargrave has taken have been phenomenal. He is an impact player on this defense. He plays a position of no recognition, but when the Steelers defensive line survives a Stephon Tuitt injury and takes a step forward as a unit, it will be a player such as Javon Hargrave, and his week to week improvement leading the way.