The Steelers enter this season with some question marks along the defensive line. Here are three college players all fans should have their eye on this season.
The Steelers enter the year with many unproven prospects sitting behind their extremely talented starters, so the need for some youth at the position that can make quality contributions on the field is a huge need this season. This could change with one of the young bucks already on the team exposing their growth as a player with some decent snaps along the defensive line.
The health of this group is huge this year as the depth is not experienced and the Steelers lost Javon Hargrave to free agency. Not only was Hargrave a great fill-in for Stephon Tuitt last season, but he was also a very good starting nose tackle for the team. He was able to be very disruptive no matter what level of competition he faced on the field.
The nose tackle position is extremely important to the Steelers defense, even if the position is only a part-time role. The replacements this season seems to be Tyson Alualu going into the year, but the Steelers might need to add to this position come draft day. Here are three college defensive tackles all fans should be watching this year:
Jaylen Twyman, Pittsburgh
The last time a prospect like this came out of Pittsburgh was Aaron Donald, and we all know the force that he is against opposing offenses. Jaylen Twyman shows some of the same qualities that Donald did coming out of Pittsburgh. He is very high on some boards at the moment while others have him a little lower. Twyman showed up big for the Panthers last year totaling 10.5 sacks in 2019. He is a guy that is young and still has room to grow his game. He is someone that could skyrocket up boards with an eye-popping Junior season.
Marvin Wilson, Florida State
This guy is a mountain in the middle at 6’5 and 311 pounds and could fit the bill that the Steelers look for when it comes to the Nose Tackle position. Marvin Wilson does not impress when it comes to the stat sheet with five sacks and one forced fumble last season. However, he has all the athletic abilities that every scout looks for when it comes to an explosive and all-around defensive lineman.
Jay Tufele, USC
Jay Tufele has the perfect size for what the Steelers look for when it comes to their defensive end position. At 6’3 and 305 pounds, Tufele creates disruption all along the trenches when he is in the game. He totaled four and a half sacks last season for the Trojans. He has been spoken highly of for his size and athleticism, but the rawness will need to be molded at the next level.
The Steelers have holes to address along the interior of their defensive front and next year’s draft could mean one of these prospects above is selected early. Perhaps they will be candidates for Pittsburgh next April.