Press Conferences

Steelers select Hargrave in the third round



View photos of Pittsburgh Steelers 2016 3rd Round Draft Pick, DT Javon Hargrave.

Javon HargraveDefensive TackleSouth Carolina State6-2, 305Salisbury, N.C.North Rowan High School3rd Round – 89th Overall**

Was a two-time SBN Sports Mel Blount Defensive Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference in 2014 and 2015…amassed 37.0 sacks, including 10.0 or more in each of his last two seasons.

Earned SBN Sports Mel Blount Defensive Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in the MEAC honors for the second consecutive year…recorded 59 tackles, 22.0 TFLs with 13.5 sacks in 11 games…his 22.0 TFLS ranked fifth in the FCS.

Named Defensive Player of the Year in the MEAC and tabbed the SBC Sports Mel Blount Defensive Player of the Year after leading the conference and finishing third in the nation with 16.0 sacks…added 55 tackles, 23.5 TFLs, eight quarterback hurries, three forced fumbles and two pass breakups.


2013 SEASON**
Started all 13 games, earning All-MEAC second-team honors…finished with 51 tackles to go along with 12.5 TFLs, 5.5 sacks, five quarterback hits, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

Started all 11 games as a true freshman…tallied 45 tackles with 4.5 TFLs and 2.0 sacks.

Earned four letters in football and basketball, and one in track…garnered all-state and all-county accolades in football and he was named Defensive Player of the Year twice…was all-state in basketball and Player of the Year as a Junior, and he was a member of the 2011 basketball state championship team.

Son of Yvette and Tim Bates.…majored in sports communication…born Feb. 7, 1993.

Post-Pick Press Conference

John Mitchell Re: Javon Hargrave
The* *first thing I'd liked to say is, if Mr. Nunn was alive today, he would really like this pick. Javon Hargrave is a self-made man. When he graduated, he didn't have the grades to go to school. He set out, worked real, worked his way in, got there and played very well. If you look at his stats, out of anyone coming out this year, defensive linemen or defensive tackle, this guy is pretty impressive. I think a lot of people passed on this guy because they were afraid of the competition that he played. The thing I liked about him was every week that I watched him on tape he didn't play down to the talent he played against. He played up to his ability. This kid got better, better, better every week. The things that he does extremely well are some things you can't teach. He has a great first step off the ball. He plays with power. The things that he is going to have to learn when he comes here is that he is going to have to learn how to play with his hands better and he is going to have to be more consistent running for the ball. That is not going to be a problem. I'm going to teach him how to use his hands in the room with Cam Heyward, Stephon Tuitt and Dan McCullers. I don't think we will have a problem with him running with the ball. This kid plays very hard every down. I'm excited about it. He is one of the few big men that I have seen that you can leave on the field on third-down. This guy had 37.0 sacks in his four years. I don't care what the competition is you get 37.0 sacks. He had 211 tackles, assists and solos. This guy is very productive. I hope he comes here with the same attitude. He is willing to work hard and he can take hard coaching. I'll tell you how we came about this guy. I was watching tape. I watched him. We went to the Combine. He had a good workout at the Combine. I came back and told Mike Tomlin, I would like to go to South Carolina State to work this guy out myself and sit down and visit with him. He had a great workout on campus. I liked what I heard from him. I talked to the people at South Carolina State. He is a high quality man. He is a member of the FCA. They feel like his is one of the best football players to go there. If you go back, there have been some great football players that came out of South Carolina State. Three of them are National Hall of Fame and we have one here with the Steelers, Donnie Shell. I'm not afraid of the competition he played at. I think this guy is going to help us, give us added dimensions when we go to our Nickel package. I like him and I'm eager to work with him. I'm extremely happy that we have him.


Is he more of a third-down player than a first-down player?**
No. This guy is a first-, second- and third-down player. Where we put him, he can help us with the things that we do. When we put him in our base defense, when we put him in the three technique, we can control that. He's not going to be over the big 6-8 tackle. He's going to be over the 6-4, 6-5 guard. The speed that he has and the quickness he has getting off the ball, he's going to be a big addition for us.

Re: How he will be used in our schemes:
Yes, he'll be a nose. We can do that. I'm looking for some guys that can come in and help us where Heyward and Tuitt don't have to play 65 to 70 plays a game. I want to find someone with McCullers right in there where those guys can play 55 plays a game. I think if this guy comes in with the attitude he's had in college and works really hard to pick up our scheme, I think he can help us. I'll tell you this, he will give us a new dimension for a big man in our sub-package.


Re: Adding depth:**
When you have to take a guy off the field that really hampers you. Here's a guy right now that can play all three downs. I think when you put him over a guard in our scheme, the guard's going to have a little trouble with this guy because he has such a good first step and he has great quickness off the ball.

Re: Playing at a smaller school against less competitive teams:
He played well. The thing that I liked about this kid, was again, he played up to his ability. He didn't play down to the talent that he faced. That's the problem that you have with a lot of guys that come from small schools. If they don't dominate the league that they're in, you're worried about if they are really competitive. This guy was competitive week-in and week-out. I'm not concerned about the level of competition he played against. He could not control that and neither can I. I liked the way he played year in and year out.

Re: Giving Tuitt and Heyward support:
No question. A guy can struggle in this league in the fourth quarter. A two minute deal is 10 minutes. If a guys is in there for the last two or three minutes and he's got to play 25 or 30 plays, that takes a lot out of him. We need a guy that can help Tuitt and Heyward. I think this guy can help us. I'm also very pleased with where McCullers is. We are going to have some guys that play their role on the inside. It's going to help us do some things with some of the outside guys. It's going to give us a few more guys when we get in our Nickel package where we can have guys that go out and rush the passer.

Were you lobbying for him in the second round?
I thought we got him where he should go. I'm really happy. I told Mike Tomlin that if this guy was around in the third round or fourth round, if there was any way we could pick him, let's take him. I'm really happy. I think we got the best bargain getting him in the third round.

Conference Call Transcript

Have you ever heard of Donnie Shell?
Oh yeah. Of course. That's crazy. Oh yeah, I know Donnie.

Are you as enthusiastic about coming to Pittsburgh as coach Mitchell is about having you?
I about crying when coach called me. I can't believe it. I grew up a Pittsburgh fan. I can't believe it, man. That's crazy. It's a crazy feeling, for real. I can't really speak, I can't believe it. It's just a blessing, it's just a real blessing.

Re: On if he was a big fan of Casey Hampton growing up:
Oh yeah, of course. I was a fan of that whole defense growing up. Especially in those days when we were No. 1—2008—the No. 1 defense. That's what I pride myself on, looking at guys like that.

Re: On what it was like dealing with coach Mitchell through all of this:
You just knew he was a good dude, just talking to him. I mean he told me from the get-go that he liked how I played. And he encouraged me just to keep working. It was just a blessing. Knowing his legacy, it was just a moment to be able to hear everything from him, learn from him in the seconds I was with him.


Images of the Steelers at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex during the second day of the 2016 NFL Draft .

What is his legacy?**
He coached for 20 or more years, and he made some of the best defensive linemen. So of course me growing up as a Steelers fan and seeing a coach be there for 20 years in a league where you're not at one spot all the time. It's just a blessing. And everybody just talked about him—my whole family is Pittsburgh fans, so they told me about him.

Re: On how he ended up at South Carolina State:
Coming out of high school, I didn't qualify straight out of high school, so I had to take a different route. And South Carolina State was the one that was kind of working with me through it all. I just never complained. I just did what was made for me and just dominated and I'm blessed to be in the spot I am now.

Re: On how important it is for him to be versatile:
Of course that's a plus, being able to stay on the field that long and play every down, that's a big thing. Being versatile like that, I'm 300-plus pounds but I just feel like I have a high motor. I can be on the field for 30-50 plays, because that's all I did my whole life, just played every down, that's a big thing.

Re: On where his high motor comes from:
I think it's just me playing basketball as a kid, having to guard all these guards and being able to move around like that.

They had you playing on the perimeter?
They made me play everything, I was just an athlete. I could guard guards and all of that. And my brother was a point guard, so we used to go at it every day. He just kind of made me quicker, my feet quicker and just made me faster and quicker at the same time.

Weren't you a point guard on two state championship teams?
I wasn't point, I was a forward. I had a big part to do with that too. I was Player of the Year my junior year in basketball. I wasn't just getting rebounds, I was actually playing.


How much did you weigh?**
I was about 250 pounds then.

Did many people take charges against you?
Yeah, I was a straight Charles Barkley, just put my shoulder into them.

Re: On where he was supposed to go to school:
I'm not going to say. I think everybody came in and just talked to me, told me to go junior college, like in Tennessee or North Carolina. South Carolina State was the plan for me and it worked out tremendously.

Re: On how he ended up being a Steelers' fan:
I grew up and my pop liked the Steelers, my uncle liked the Steelers. It's divided in the family between the Cowboys and the Steelers fans, and I guess I was just on the side with the Steelers. And that's how it happened.

Re: On what he remembers from his pre-draft visit:
The trophies. Growing up and seeing the championships. I tried not to show how happy I was to be there, but it was just like, "I'm really here?" It was crazy, just the whole thing. I kept telling everybody Pittsburgh was probably my best trip, but they all thought it was because it was my favorite team growing up. It was just because they made you feel welcome and at home, so that was great for me.

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