If there is a guy who understands what it takes to make it in the NFL, it's linebacker Arthur Moats.
Moats didn't come into the league with a lot of fanfare, the Buffalo Bills sixth-round pick in 2010 out of James Madison, a school that isn't a breeding ground for NFL players despite Pro Football Hall of Famer Charles Haley emerging from there.
Everything he has accomplished on the field, from making the roster as a rookie with the Bills, to the Steelers wanting to hold on to him when he became a free agent this offseason, has been a result of one thing. Hard work.
"I am always trying to find what Coach (Mike) Tomlin says is the winning edge," said Moats, one of the last players off the field after Wednesday's OTA session. "For me I am a big guy as far as stretching afterwards and working on my fundamentals and techniques.
"Any time I can grab one of the young guys, bring them along with me just to show them as a professional it's not just about while we are here on a schedule. We are not paid by hourly wages. It's salary for us so stay as long as you need to make sure you are improving yourself. I just try to get that message to those guys."
Moats, who enters his sixth season in the NFL and second with the Steelers, has quickly developed into a leader among the outside linebackers because of that attitude and approach. He is helping younger players like Bud Dupree and Jarvis Jones, giving them any advice he can, and likes what he sees from those two in particular during OTAs.
"They are out here putting in the work and improving every day," said Moats. "The thing that I like the most about them is they are eager to learn. Neither one of them come in here as if they have already arrived or they know everything. They are still in here in the classroom trying to learn. When we come out here to the field they are staying after, doing extra work, making sure they are learning the nuances of the defense. That way they can be successful this year.
"I feel like we are progressing right on pace. During this time of year it's big on working on your fundamentals, finding little things with the defense so that when we get to Latrobe we are able to execute at 100 percent. I feel like we are making good strides."
It's helps Moats a lot too that he is in his second year in the Steelers defense. Last year during OTAs it was a learning process, from learning his teammates to the plays. This year the comfort level is much greater.
"It's a ton easier," said Moats. "I know for me, my history playing in Buffalo, I have had different coordinators pretty much every year so I have always had to have that learning curve, learning a new defense, learning a new spot. So for me to have that continuity it's a breath of fresh air. I am able to communicate and be more of a vocal leader this year and I definitely feel like my play is showing in OTAs."