Updated: Mar 28, 2022
(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
The Steelers' run defense in 2021 was one of the worst in franchise history. They allowed four teams to rush over 200 yards and finished the season dead last in run defense, allowing 143.8 yards per game. They also ranked last in yards allowed per carry (5.0).
The Steelers are an organization that prides itself on stopping the run, so it was definitely a rare sight to see this past season with Pittsburgh just getting bullied up front and ran all over. I mean, in the mid-to-late 2000s, teams didn't even attempt to run against the Steelers. And nose tackle Casey Hampton played a key part in those dominant defenses led by Dick LeBeau.
The game has changed a lot since those days, as offenses often employ three wide receiver sets, which force defenses into their sub-packages and the nose tackle is removed. But if you can find a big man that can stuff the run and rush the passer as well, nose tackles are still valuable.
Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis is massive at 6-foot-6, 341 pounds, and he displayed freakish athleticism at the NFL Scouting Combine on Saturday with posting a 4.78 in the 40-yard dash.
Watch Davis change direction and chase down the UAB quarterback in the clip below. That's just special athleticism and great effort.
Davis is a special player and would definitely be an asset to the Steelers defensive line, which is getting older and was without both Tyson Alualu and Stephon Tuitt for nearly the entire season in 2021 due to injuries. Davis would also take up blockers and give the linebackers more room to work. That was a big issue with the Steelers' run defense in 2021, as offensive linemen got up to the second level and got their hands on Devin Bush and Joe Schobert.
However, with Davis' impressive combine, he might not be available when the Steelers pick at 20th overall. The Steelers would probably have to trade up to get the massive Georgia defensive tackle. He would be a steal for the Steelers if he's still around at 20, though. Kevin Colbert should call the pick in within seconds. Davis would make an instant impact.
Below is a brief scouting report on Davis by the DraftNetwork. Davis is not a typical defensive lineman for his size. He's a true three-down player.
"Jordan Davis is a senior who aligns as an interior defensive lineman for the Bulldogs' even-front defense. He typically aligns at the 3-tech but has also played the 1-tech as they shift their front pre-snap. He demonstrates good reactive athleticism and lateral agility for a young man his size. In the passing game, he has grown tremendously and his conditioning this season has seemingly contributed to this. He is primarily a bull rusher who can push the pocket and put the center in the lap of the quarterback. He is extremely impactful as someone who absolutely commands a double team, which frees up other players in that front. In the run game, he is dominant. He is nearly impossible to single-block. He has extremely explosive hands to lock out and disengage from offensive linemen. His skill set suggests that he can either be a single or two-gap player in an even or odd front. He can remain on the field in passing situations, but teams may maximize his effectiveness by limiting his reps due to his size and conditioning."