Pittsburgh Steelers 2022 Draft Targets: Jordan Davis

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For all of Brian's 2022 Steelers' Draft Targets, click here: Steelers' 2022 Draft Targets

It’s no secret that the Pittsburgh Steelers are looking to their fill their long-term quarterback void through the draft. Although we get mock drafted to death in the months leading up to the draft, there’s far too much unpredictability to get a good feel for what will actually happen. Trades and teams going in different directions than expected can lead to guys skyrocketing up or dropping down all across the board. 

For that reason, while it’s expected the Steelers will take a quarterback with their first pick, there’s a lot of variability that can occur come draft day that could force them to look elsewhere. As a result, I want to be sure to talk about guys that could still be on their radar, and may end up getting selected, depending on how things shake out on Thursday, April 28th. 

While I’ve mentioned an abundance of offensive players, we can’t ignore that the Steelers have some holes on the defense that need addressed. Although not as many as the offense, they could still use help on that side of the ball in certain areas. And one of those holes that I have yet to discuss is on the defensive line, namely defensive tackle. 

It’s been pretty well talked about how terrible the Steelers were at stopping the run last season. They ranked near the bottom of the league in nearly all against-the-run metrics. And as I discussed with my piece on potential target Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean, some help up the middle would be of great value to this team.

While that has been widely discussed, one thing you don’t hear mentioned all that often is the disappearance of current defensive tackle Stephon Tuitt. The main reason for that is there just isn’t a lot of information surrounding his whereabouts. He sat out last season and the team isn’t certain he’ll be returning any time soon, if ever. 

With this being the case, I can see the Steelers looking to draft a defensive tackle. And the name that pops the most for that position is a former teammate of Dean’s, defensive tackle Jordan Davis.  A member of the vaunted Georgia Bulldogs defense from last season, Davis was the run-stopper up the middle that helped lead them to the National Championship.

Listed at 6'6", 340 pounds, Davis is an imposing presence in the middle of the defensive line.  In his four years at Georgia, he tallied 90 total tackles.  11.5 of those were tackles for loss, including 7 sacks.  

While those numbers may not wow you, it's the intangibles with Davis that make him so highly sought after.  Plain and simple, he's a handful for offensive lines.  He's extremely difficult to block, which is what made him so successful at stopping the run in college.  And it can't be overlooked that these were against some of the best offensive linemen in the country in the SEC.

While his size definitely plays a role in his success, it's the athleticism to go along with it that has scouts salivating.  Going into the draft, Davis is being remarked as one of the most athletic players on the board, and not just at his position.  At the combine, Davis ran a 4.78 second 40-yard dash... at 340 pounds.  It was the fastest time that anyone over 310 pounds has run in the past two decades!  For reference, our beloved Kenny Pickett, who many would consider to be fairly fleet of foot, ran a 4.73.  Just .05 seconds faster than Davis.  A guy at his size with that speed can truly be lethal in the NFL.

Athleticism aside, the knock against Davis is that some view him as only a run-stopper at the professional level.  His pass-rushing abilities haven't been as elite as other parts of his game, so teams look at him as only a two-down defensive linemen that will come out of the game on passing downs.  This is what has caused Davis to appear  up and down the first-round board in these mock drafts.  

Some think this flaw in his game will cause him to drop, while others believe he can improve that aspect greatly once in the NFL, which will lead to him getting selected early in the first round.  It is the biggest what-if in his game and the reason it is difficult to predict where he will end up getting selected.

Lucky for the Steelers, they have Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt rushing off the edge, so pass-rushing won't be the most important quality they look for in their defensive tackle.  They need to focus on stopping the run, and drafting Davis would go a long way in addressing that.  He has shown these abilities on one of the best collegiate defenses in a long time.  

If he were to slide down the draft board, I could see the Steelers drafting him without hesitation.  His size and pure athleticism could ingratiate Steelers fans in no time, especially if he's able to help return the feared Steelers run defense of old.  While the quarterback position seems to be the team's priority, if their targets are off the board and Davis is still available, look for the Steelers to address one of their biggest weaknesses ahead of the 2022-2023 season by making the former Bulldog one of their own.