Javon Hargrave Just Might Be The Steal Of The Draft

Javon Hargrave has the capability of being a three down defensive linemen for the Steelers. Photo from http://www.steelers.com

He is stout, powerful and consistently holds his ground when double teamed. He has an explosive first step, and dominated during the East-West Shrine game, and at the Senior Bowl. If he had played division 1 football instead of at a small school like South Carolina State, Javon Hargrave could very well have been a first round draft pick. To say the Steelers got first round value in the third round, with Hargrave, is in no way a stretch, and his value has asst. head coach/defensive line coach John Mitchell as excited as I’ve seen him get. After watching Hargrave work out at the combine back in February, Mitchell wanted to go down to South Carolina State and work Hargrave out personally. When Mitchell returned, he continually lobbied for the Steelers to draft Hargrave, until he got his man. After the third round selection of Javon Hargrave, Coach Mitchell had this to say.

Mitchell said former super scout Bill Nunn, legendary for his ability to find talent in obscure places, “would really like this pick.”

” Hargrave has the ability to play nose tackle and to remain on the field in passing situations to help with the pass rush. “I’m looking for some guys that can come in and help us where (defensive end Cam) Heyward and (defensive end Stephon) Tuitt don’t have to play 65 to 70 plays a game,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell labeled Hargrave “a self-made man”, because after having academic issues that forced him to sit out the 2011 season, following high school, Hargrave worked hard to get his grades up. The following season he enrolled at South Carolina State where he dominated the competition. He continued to dominate when he faced better competition at the East-West Shrine game, earning a late invitation to the Senior Bowl. After showing up late, he without his own equipment, he continued to dominate, making an immediate impact on members of the Steelers coaching staff that were present. What John Mitchell envisions with Javon Hargrave, is a three down defensive tackle who is also versatile enough to move outside and spell Cam Heyward and Stephon Tuitt to keep them fresh.

Here is Javon Hargrave’s draft profile at http://www.nfl.com


  • 40 YARD DASH: 4.93 SEC
  • BROAD JUMP: 109.0 INCH
  • 3 CONE DRILL: 7.90 SEC
  • 20 YARD SHUTTLE: 4.70 SEC



Thick bubble and burly thighs. Compact frame allows him to play low and dip around the corner when playing in gaps. Dominated his level of competition. Surprising foot quickness with an adequate spin move. Plays with quick burst upfield and into blockers. Plus motor and effort and willing to pursue around the field. Better upper body power than in his trunk. Inconsistent with his hands, but when he uses them, they are effective. Raw, but has potential and flashes playmaking ability.


Squatty with short arms and tiny hands. Very raw as a pass rusher relying on athleticism over moves and counters. Lacks instincts and feel for the position. Doesn’t anticipate down blocks and can be knocked around because of it. Doesn’t play with enough anchor. Lack of length could become a non­starter if he doesn’t play with great quickness. Feel for the game and technique could take extended time to learn.

Draft Projection

Rounds 3 or 4

Sources Tell Us

“You don’t think much of him going in because of his size, and then he’s all over the place. He’s had a good week.” — NFC scouting director from East-West Shrine Game practices

Bottom Line

Raw, but athletic one­-gap penetrator who dominated his level of competition with effort and quickness. Credited with 16 sacks and 23.5 tackles for losses, Hargrave has the ability to play on the other side of the ball, but the jump in talent and size could be challenging for him. Hargrave is better than a “project,” but he will require patience and much more coaching to realize his potential.

Javon Hargrave is a player that the Steelers could potentially plug in and start from day one. A multi-dimensional defensive tackle, Hargrave finished his career at South Carolina State with 62.5 tackles for loss, 37.5 sacks, 28 quarterback hurries, and 9 force fumbles. He’s also one of the few three down defensive tackles that came out in the draft. What makes Hargrave special compared to the other DT’s drafted, is that he is built like a young Casey Hampton and moves like Aaron Smith. Adding his pass rush abilities on Third down, with those of Heyward and Tuitt is what has John Mitchell excited. Mitchell also knows that Hargrave’s pass rushing ability will immediately take some of the pressure off of those in pass coverage as well, which should help elevate the Steelers defense to the next level in 2016.



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